I was out traveling this late April and early May on the back roads of New Mexico and Arizona with my brother. It was a two and a half week, cross-country trip where we managed to camp every night. We visited all the birding hot spots I read about, but there just wasn’t much there or we had terrible wind storm problems. We ventured to the most desolate places we could find, and found some areas with good bird activity. During our trip we found out that much of Arizona has been in a very bad drought. Some of our favorite spots in the past, such as Koffa National Wildlife Refuge, was very quiet due to the serious drought conditions. The vegetation looked dead, even the cactus plants were growing black and dropping branches. The few birds and animals that were still in the drought areas were quiet due to the stress. The trick was to find areas that wasn’t so drought stricken. There were some areas east of Phoenix that had normal moisture. The plants were green and blooming, creeks were running, and all the birds were happy. The only problem being east of Phoenix and Tucson was lot of airplanes criss-crossing the skies.
Listen to a short sample from the Sonoran Desert album: Natureguy Studio – Cactus Valley
What was new on this trip is I had all my new recording gear. Earlier in the year I was so busy burning the midnight oil acquiring and building new equipment. I now have a stereo field microphone array using the world’s quietest microphones covered with my custom, high wind, windscreens. The biggest new item is my new microphone amplifier. My brother helped me design it. It is a very low noise unit with accurate, quick responding meters, a number of analog inputs and outputs, plus a 24-bit digital output stream that goes directly into my new digital recorder. I made this amplifier myself because I couldn’t find anything on the market that would actually obtain true 24-bit performance. The parts are available for 24-bit performance, so I made my own. I got the amplifier done less than a week before the trip with hardly any run time on it. It was quite amazing I was able to assemble it without a single error. All the new equipment worked great. Except for a slight glitch with one of the new microphones that was apparently overcome with moisture while recording in Arkansas.
I am quite proud of this new CD. I think it represents the bird sounds heard in the Sonoran Desert. The sounds are very clear, extremely low noise and distortion free. I hope everyone who buys a copy will truly enjoy it. You can find out more information and listen to more audio samples of the CD at http://www.natureguystudio.com/.