Tree For Life: Soundscapes Dundreggan

The Award-winning Trees for Life is one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities and is restoring the Caledonian Forest in the Highlands to one of the UK’s wildest landscapes. See    

Dundreggan is Trees for Life’s flagship forest regeneration site and is gaining an international reputation for its biodiversity. It has been described as a Highlands ‘lost world’, where more than 3,000 species have been discovered, including 10 found nowhere else in the UK and others that are extremely rare.

Wildboar coming out of the woods

Arriving about 3 in the afternoon, the race was on to get into the woodlands and find a suitable camping spot. After speaking with one of the managers, he suggested I took the root up from the public car park on the guided walk, up to the waterfall and then off into the woods from there.  The terrain is difficult here constantly undulating ground from one foot to the next, with the ground covered in juniper bushes and heather. The terrain also has small step size boulders spread across it causing added strain on walking as well as making it difficult to find a camping spot. Water is everywhere here, tracks stamped out by deer soon turn into rivulets, the ground is boggy. The rivulets, create beautiful undulating sounds, and further up I found a crag with the water running over its flat surface. 

It was on this crag I decided to camp, as it would give me a good idea of where I wanted to put the recording equipment for the recording the dawn chorus the following day. It turned out I was just in the right spot. Right at branch level the following morning following some rain a great deal of birdsong introduced the day.

Priority Site Species and Rivelet 

This recording takes in the beautiful soundscape of the forest birds with the intriguing detail of a rivulet as the main focus. Birds working in a close network, typically in groups across the forest. creating a continuous stream of calls, indicating security, geographical position and well being. These birds are slightly smaller than their cousins who feast on bird tables, and their calls can be a reflection of their feeding habits. Slightly larger birds can exert a little more presence to their calls, therefore the distance between each bird can be increased. I noticed that each speicies member would be fairly evenly placed at a distance of approximatly 50m, this would also tipically be their nesting sites. There seemed to be intreagueing evidence of speicies community based on sonic prorogation. 

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Priority Site Rock Position Early Dawn 

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Dawn SOundscape TFL IMG 1666

Priorty Site Forest Soundscape with Inner Wildboar Fencing

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Strengthening understanding of our sonic environment, and its links to ecological health can provide a useful new way of measuring the impact of conservation work. It’s fantastic to be working with Trees for Life because rewilding is so important for the future of our children well being. If you are interested in donating towards the Trees for Life please visit their website at

Click here to listen to the Falls 

If you would also be interested in donating towards any of my future work, either with The Tree for Life or any other project which takes your interest on this site then please click here 

Tree for Life Forest Soundscape in early April. As cars pass in the distance like wind, we hear the inner soundscape of the Wild Boar fencing enclosure. The frequency of rain drops connecting with the fence is mixed with the outer sound world of the moss and bracken covered earth under the forest canopy.

 Recorded by Huw McGregor with kind permission of the ‘Tree for Life Project’

© Huw McGregor 2015