There's my clicky...
May 4, 2011 6:01 PM   Subscribe

A loud call like castanets clacking in a cattail marsh: who makes that sound?

Ok, I am at my wits end here, so I'm here to ask you all. Today I was birdwatching in Vancouver, BC (Jericho Park, to be exact) and I noticed a really loud call in one of the marshy areas. It was very loud, tonally flat, not at all like a cicada, heron, rail or woodpecker drumming. Not a croaking, buzzy or oinky sound.. just... sounded like snapping your fingers. Not a red-winged blackbird, or a spotted towhee. Picture a pair of castanets clicking at a medium staccato pitch, becoming slightly faster then stopping. This was early afternoon.

For all I know it was some totally common thing like a frog or insect, but I'm really having a hard time finding it online. Any clues, all of yous? Thanks!
posted by wowbobwow to Science & Nature (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm no expert, but frogs can make some really bizarre non-gribbit noises. I was in Colombia last year and there was a frog which made a noise exactly like the sound effect of water dripping in a cave. I would bet on a frog, but I have no proof!
posted by jontyjago at 6:07 PM on May 4, 2011

Best answer: Virginia Rail? BC's a bit far north, but it's not unheard of.
posted by Sys Rq at 6:11 PM on May 4, 2011

Around here we get a sound like that from clams or other bivalves opening/closing their shells, especially when the tide is low.
posted by Kronur at 6:18 PM on May 4, 2011

Take a look at these recordings of the fox sparrow, which is apparently found in your area. Some of the calls (not songs) sound like fingers snapping.
posted by Nomyte at 6:26 PM on May 4, 2011

Around here we get a sound like that from clams or other bivalves opening/closing their shells, especially when the tide is low.

Oh my god. Has anyone ever recorded that?
posted by mykescipark at 7:23 PM on May 4, 2011

Some sort of rail was my first guess.
posted by salvia at 7:48 PM on May 4, 2011

Response by poster: Yeah I'll try get a recording of it soon. Until then, keep those guesses coming!
posted by wowbobwow at 8:55 PM on May 4, 2011

I have heard California rails make sounds that match your description, but without hearing it, it's really hard to say if it's a rail or not. Please do record it!
posted by rtha at 9:53 PM on May 4, 2011

Grasshoppers make a variety of sounds, some like a rapid clicking.
posted by amanda at 9:56 PM on May 4, 2011

I suspect frogs as well...
posted by tomswift at 3:18 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm thinking frogs too. They make crazy noises.

But what I was really coming in to say was that the Cornell Animal Sound Library will provide you with a bunch of clips of pretty much any species that gets mentioned here, if you're looking for more identifying sound information. For example, there's over a dozen of the Virginia Rail, which I checked because I didn't know what they sounded like.
posted by tchemgrrl at 6:45 AM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Could be newts! They make some funky sounds too!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:25 AM on May 5, 2011

It sounds like you're describing the call of a Cricket Frog:

Cricket Frog Call

but they're not reported to live in your area.
posted by smoothvirus at 12:52 PM on May 5, 2011

Response by poster: And now, for your listening pleasure: this clip might help clear this up.

Here is a longer and unedited clip, for, you know, whatever.

The creature also made this very rail-like oinking sound, which I wasn't able to get a recording of.
posted by wowbobwow at 5:45 PM on May 5, 2011

Response by poster: Virginia Rail upon further inspection! Thanks everyone...
posted by wowbobwow at 7:11 PM on May 5, 2011

« Older allium palliative   |   What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.