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Dawn Chorus in the Mountain Forests of Yunnan - nature landscape painting -

Dawn Chorus in the Mountain Forests of Yunnan

Artist: George Vlad
Baihualing, Gaoligongshan, China

As light penetrates through the the cloud forests of Yunnan, the soundscape becomes more lively and lush.

On my recent trip to China I had the privilege of exploring a very remote area on the border with Myanmar. Getting here is complicated and requires a lot of permits, hard work and serious negotiation with the rangers and gatekeepers of this place. While this part of the world is a hotspot of biodiversity, it’s also a strategically important area for the authorities. Fortunately I found an excellent fixer and local guide who was able to obtain all the required documents so that I could access the pristine rainforest with my cameras and kit.

At first listen, the soundscape isn’t extremely lush or varied. Temperatures here can be quite low, so wildlife needs to preserve energy and therefore do not call constantly. There are bursts of activity at dawn and dusk, with long lulls during daytime and at night. This is quite similar to other cloud forests I’ve visited, like Costa Rica or Ethiopia’s highlands. It’s very interesting to hear the various elements of the soundscape as they slowly come online with the rising sun. There’s also the element of flowing water. It is virtually impossible to get away from the distant sound of rushing rivers and waterfalls here, so the best I could do was find a large enough dip in the geography halfway up a mountain. Even so, you can still hear the distant rush of water. Initially I thought this would be a problem but of course this is the sound of the place, and removing the water element would be misleading. Mixed with distant cicada calls it sounds a bit like equipment noise, but after a while it starts to make sense and to sound like everything belongs. is a completely free streaming service of 900+ nature sounds from around the world, offering natural soundscapes and guided meditations for people who wish to listen to nature, relax, and become more connected.

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