Voices of Glacier Bay: The Hermit & the Humpback
What does a furtive, feathered, woodland creature with a pea-sized heart have in common with a deep-water behemoth with nostrils big enough to put your head into?
I'm not sure either. But I do know that last week at twilight, while sleeping in a tent pitched along the beach of a wooded island, I was lifted from sleep by the cathedral of sounds pouring from a hermit thrush and then slapped fully awake by the explosion of breath roaring from the giant nostrils of a humpback whale.
I lay there, eyes wide in the early twilight, adrift in clouds of sounds more evocative, riveting, sensual, surprising, and soothing than the sweetest dream. Eventually the whale swam on, the thrush quit singing, and I went back to sleep, but I can't say what happened when or why. I can say it feels like a stunning stroke of grand good fortune to share a planet with such splendid noise makers and a bonus piece of good luck to have gone to sleep where they'd wake me up.
This recording is part of the "Voices of Glacier Bay" Soundscape recording project. Read more about this exciting project and listen to many other incredible sounds recorded in Glacier Bay National Park.
Did You Know?
Captain James Cook named the tallest mountain in Glacier Bay, Mount Fairweather, in 1778. As Southeast Alaska is a temperate rainforest, with an average of only 50 sunny days a year, it would require fair-weather to see that mountain.