On April 2nd I convinced a buddy of mine to join me in the area I've been researching in since last fall. The plan was to visit the previously snowed in camp where I'd spent the night alone back in March, and heard hoots and howls from the ridge above. My friend is very much the BF skeptic, but being a good friend and somewhat open minded, he was willing to play along.
So we drove in to camp before sun down, built a small camp fire, and set about doing an occasional whoop and wood knock combo. Turns out my skeptical friend can do a really fine whoop (something I'm terribly incapable of).
As is the norm, I had my audio recorder set up in the bushes about 50 feet from our camp chairs, where we sat and talked quietly and listened for forest sounds. The left channel of my external mic was pointing north, in our general direction by the fire, and the right channel was pointed south toward a low wooded ridge several hundred feet away.
We didn't hear anything that night that we could make out as a vocal or wood knock. Once, we were fooled by a very chilly frog in a nearby pond. It made a single croak once every 3 or 4 minutes that sounded like a wood knock from the ridge to our south. But we figured it out eventually.
About 11:30, we decided to pack it up and drive back to where we were lodging that night, about 20 miles away. I was disappointed that my friend didn't get to hear anything first hand that evening. I left the recorder going where it was stashed in the bushes, and returned the next morning to retrieve it.
A few days later, upon reviewing the recording from that night, I was surprised to hear a soft whoop and then a wood knock on the recorder. What was surprising was the fact that my friend and I were still in camp, our voices could be heard quietly in the background. It was just 10 minutes or so before we were to drive away from camp, so this took place around 11:25 PM.
The recorder captured a low, guttural whoop that was followed over the next 60 seconds or so by several soft wood knocks. These were captured best in the right mic channel, leading me to believe they originated from the ridge south of our camp. Because they were so close to camp, and well heard by the mic, I was able to amplify the recording and clean it up somewhat to discover other, faint knocks as well. I've cut out a lot of dead space from that 60 second time span and created this abbreviated clip:
Later that night, about an hour after my friend and I had driven away from this research site, the recorder picked up another interesting bit of audio. At about 12:30 AM on April 3rd, several soft but rapid wood knocks were recorded. These aren't the big, loud wood knocks that we often make when out in the field. They're much more subtle, as if meant to be heard by someone within the nearby vicinity. These rhythmic knocks in the middle of the night are something I keep an ear out for now that I've heard them:
Other interesting audio events occurred that weekend, but not as interesting as these two, so I'll save them for another post.