Our resident Kingfisher Alcido Atthis can be seen on numerous occasions if you know what you're looking for. On the Wye hikes we have seen it time and again as well as located its sonic presence (above) as we meander its territory. Invariably you will hear it first before seeing it fly low in flight as it quickly journeys up or down the river or across land. With a high pitched towee towee you can often be sure it will fly by or perch to hunt. It's a magnificent sight and the sound it produces is what we call a cheeky sound and as clear as the day is born.
Its turquoise colour is not the result of pigment in its feathers. This we can attribute to the sun as it refracts light. In truth the Kingfisher can appear dull if not for the sun and even totally camouflaged. It's colour sure is something to be excited about. Brilliant sky blue we are animated for a moment. Indeed, in the ancient Persian Kingdom the colour Turquoise was revered as a healing colour as it was uplifting to downcast personalities. In many respects it's possibly the reason we get excited when we come across it besides its speed, agility and dynamism. Turquoise it appears is not just a colour for it reverberates with that ultra sound uplifting to all who sense it either in gems or in the gem of our resident Kingfisher, which seems to have it all as well as a great legend of transformation. More on this at some other time.
The sound of the Kingfisher above and the Heron left are so very distinct you wouldn't think they hale from the same environment and yet of course they do. The Heron is a guttural sound and most definitely a reminder of another place beyond that which is merciful. It's an incredible sound! Other sounds include otter, which we've heard on numerous occasions and on the estates dear to name a few.
There are other sounds that are more ultra in essence which can stir within something sonic via their appearance. For example, that unmistakeable grandeur of a mountain or great Oak. If we listen these shapes and or forms resonate with a sound that's definitely beyond the range of ordinary hearing. That's to say ultra and other worldly.
There are many human built places, which knew about this ultra sound.
What is more evocative in terms of atmosphere than a clear night full of stars. Of course when we refer to atmosphere what we are in actual fact sensing is the sound of the spheres, which Pythagoras http://www.sacred-texts.com/eso/sta/sta19.htm described as intervals between the earth and the stars. Because it filled with energy it is said this space creates sensory tones that many of us are attuned to. Indeed, who would argue with the fact that we do, without a shadow of doubt, attempt to listen when staring up at the stars? The sound is often inaudible to the human ear but can be perceived through our sense. We say to this ultra sound; Wow! This is the sound of the spheres and the dark sky that is filled with stars and planets.
At Llanthony in the Black Mountains you can experience that sound, that wonder and awe. It is one of the only places in The UK where you can and is officially recognised as a 'Dark Sky Reserve' http://www.breconbeacons.org/about-brecon-beacons-dark-sky-reserve by the International Dark Sky Association http://darksky.org/ .
Here running past Llanthony is the River Honddu, which flows into the Monnow and then the Wye. It is a fundamental tributary that plays host to an amazing outdoor culture nationally. The Black Mountains on the Easterly edge of the Brecon Beacons is the scene of many events from mountain challenges through to country shows, music, art and healing. People come from all over England and Wales to enjoy it's visual and sonic delights more of which can be viewed on the Mountain Waters page if you haven't done so already.
Here are some photographers local to the Brecon Beacons renowned for their dark sky work and the sacred forms and sounds of nature.
Dan Santillo: http://www.dansantillo.com/
Michael Sinclair: http://www.michael-sinclair.com/
Simon Powell/Black Mountains Photography: http://www.blackmountainsphotography.co.uk/
Frank Holzapfel (Germany) - Recorder of the Kingfsher - www.xeno-canto.org/
Our sacred places such as Llanthony Abbey would have known...about ultra sound when designing the space for prayer (see below). Indeed, Geometry is employed throughout our buildings whether new or old, in the city or in the mountains to invoke a certain resonance within sound.
As for the Kingfisher and Heron their sounds are continual reminders of just how diverse it all is. It's certainly not boring!
Patrick Aberg (Sweden) - Recorder of the Grey Heron - www.xeno-canto.org/