Midnight At The Oasis

Episodes

First
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
20150323

2015032320150817 (R4)

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson introduces the first of five audio postcards, each of which is a time compression; a spectacular natural event which has been recorded over hours, days, weeks or even months but which is heard here, in less than 15minutes. The series begins in the Kalahari Desert. Between November and February summer temperatures reach over 40 degrees centigrade. To avoid the dry, desiccating heat much of the wildlife has developed nocturnal habits. Chris wanted to capture the sounds of this extreme and ancient environment at a time when he could see very little, but could hear everything. This meant recording the sounds of the Kalahari Desert from dusk until dawn. First we hear the sounds of the sand, as grains are driven up the sand dunes and over the summit by the scouring winds. As the afternoon passes, sidewinder snakes slither across the desert surface. Flash rainfalls create pools of water in the dry riverbed hollows which are exploited by flocks of namaqua sandgrouse. As the light fades there's a brief evening chorus of birdsong. After sunset, the dunes, grasses and thorn bushes are patrolled by an emerging alien empire; the insects, producing an astonishing wall of sound. Baked hard by the sun, the red sand and soil of the Kalahari acts as a sounding board at night for the far carrying and chilling calls of brown hyenas, and before sunrise Chris records the powerful territorial calls of a desert lion which he can hear but cannot see. Sunrise is rapid, accompanied by the displays of clapper larks, calling and beating their wings together. And after sunrise, the temperature soars once again and the animals retreat leaving the voice of the prevailing winds as they scour across the Kalahari desert. Producer Sarah Blunt.

2015032320150817 (R4)

Wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson introduces the first of five audio postcards, each of which is a time compression; a spectacular natural event which has been recorded over hours, days, weeks or even months but which is heard here, in less than 15minutes. The series begins in the Kalahari Desert. Between November and February summer temperatures reach over 40 degrees centigrade. To avoid the dry, desiccating heat much of the wildlife has developed nocturnal habits. Chris wanted to capture the sounds of this extreme and ancient environment at a time when he could see very little, but could hear everything. This meant recording the sounds of the Kalahari Desert from dusk until dawn. First we hear the sounds of the sand, as grains are driven up the sand dunes and over the summit by the scouring winds. As the afternoon passes, sidewinder snakes slither across the desert surface. Flash rainfalls create pools of water in the dry riverbed hollows which are exploited by flocks of namaqua sandgrouse. As the light fades there's a brief evening chorus of birdsong. After sunset, the dunes, grasses and thorn bushes are patrolled by an emerging alien empire; the insects, producing an astonishing wall of sound. Baked hard by the sun, the red sand and soil of the Kalahari acts as a sounding board at night for the far carrying and chilling calls of brown hyenas, and before sunrise Chris records the powerful territorial calls of a desert lion which he can hear but cannot see. Sunrise is rapid, accompanied by the displays of clapper larks, calling and beating their wings together. And after sunrise, the temperature soars once again and the animals retreat leaving the voice of the prevailing winds as they scour across the Kalahari desert. Producer Sarah Blunt.