21st January closing
We used to live under the flight path in Sydney’s inner west, plane noise was constant. This is the first plane I have seen for ages. We couldn’t hear it, though on a clear day large jet aircraft can spread noise up to 160km, and the sound lasts about five minutes on average as it passes overhead. It’s silence could have been because of the Pacific breakers or the cicadas, or the crickets. It is noisy here.
George Foy has written Zero Decibels: The Quest for Absolute Silence, and found the quest a difficult one.
Andrew Flintham, a record producer, tried to find a Dawn Chorus in the UK to record early morning bird song: “When I played back all the recordings there was always a hum of noise that drowned out the birds. It was either the drone of traffic, civilian aircraft, military jets, electricity sub-stations or even mobile phone masts and that was in 2008. I’ve tried in several places since then and it’s become worse.” Quoted by Monty Munford, Give peace (and quiet) a chance, BBC, 21 September 2012.
Here, we can find pure birdsong, but as day closes off new sounds emerge: Grey Headed Flying Foxes arguing in the Bloodwood blossoms, calls I can’t describe and never quite know if I have heard before.