A graceful forest of Birch trees stand on the edge of a Swedish lake.
The melodious song of a Blackcap fills the air of an early summer morning, along with Redwings, Chaffinches, Willow Warblers and other northern birdsong. From across the water carries the occasional wild calling of Red-throated Loons.
Birdsong fills the forest, expressing the exuberance of the summer breeding season.
"Driving out of Stockholm, our first impression of Sweden was of a landscape that seemed like a never-ending golf course.
That doesn’t sound very appreciative, does it? It was probably inspired by the mixture of woodlands and grassy fields, and the sense of a landscape tended with care for generations. Add in the quaint farmhouses with traditional red-stain wood buildings, and a proliferation of beautiful lakes, and Sweden is a very picturesque country.
After arriving in Sweden utterly exhausted from six weeks of field work in Turkey, we took a few days to recover, staying with our dear friends, Colin and Jackie.
I’ve known Colin since my twenties, our friendship being forged when we played in a band together, and leading to my accompanying him on my first big overseas trip - six months backpacking across southeast Asia and India. He opened me to the world, but this was the first time we’d visited he and Jackie in their new Swedish home.
It came as a pleasant surprise to realise that they live in Dalarna, the Swedish Dales district, about 100km northwest of Stockholm, a gently undulating landscape of farmlands and woodlands.
We arrived at the right time – spring was happening with great rapidity. Each day the foliage on the trees was noticeably denser than it was, and the deciduous woodlands are a vibrant green the likes of which we don’t see often in Australia.
The birds were singing strongly too, but in that there was a small problem – they were just not keeping decent hours. Being nearly midsummer, and at that latitude, we were getting nearly 24 hours of daylight. Even at midnight it is not really dark, with a twilight of green-blue glowing across the northern horizon.
So after a brief quiescence, the birds begun their day around 2am. For us to get into the forests to record them in time, we were having to wake up around 12.30am, after trying to get to sleep around 6pm. Not only was this ruining our social life, we were feeling like we have permanent jetlag.
But was worth it, the dawn birdsong was rich and extended. This recording comes from our first morning out, and was made in mature birch woodlands on the edge of Fräg lake."