Trees A Crowd


Chris Watson (Part One): The winds catching the conifers – and the secrets of the dawn chorus

Season 1, Ep. 15

Chris Watson is the president of the Wildlife Sound Recording Society. He’s worked on a range of television and radio documentaries, alongside the likes of Sir David Attenborough. In this serene example of ‘slow radio’, Chris takes David to Stonehaugh, part of the Kielder Forest, in the early hours of the morning. As he sets up his microphones, he explains what goes into capturing each intricate sound. The pair relax as they listen to the epic build up of the dawn chorus, beginning with the night wind rushing through the conifers, and only a tawny owl or two for company. As the soundscape crescendos, the sounds of wrens, nuthatches, chiffchaffs, mistle thrushes, deviously bullish robins and even roe deer begin to break through. 100 meters away from the hidden microphones, Chris and David bathe in the “sound of a place where we can never be”.

More Episodes


Dr William C. Tweed: The secret histories of John Muir’s Giant Redwoods

Season 2, Ep. 18
Dr William C. Tweed is a lover of Big Trees - the Giant Redwoods of California to be precise. An historian and naturalist, he has a career spanning over 30 years working for the US national park service, and after holding several roles at the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, spent a decade as its Chief Naturalist. Whether it’s describing what a Giant Redwood is through a comparison to the miniscule mosquito, or a deep dive into numerous secret histories of mankind's fascinations with these trees, William will have you captivated, falling in love with, and longing to hug, the giant sequoia. In exploring the tree’s many wonderful evolutionary features, and the serene images he paints of the Sierra Nevada, William explains that our passion for sequoias starts with our love of that which is “big, and old, and rare”, and then continues to grow tall. William explores the history of the “Father of the National Parks” himself, John Muir - how his religious upbringing inspired his writing (his works serving as a “secular Bible” for those devoted to nature) - and how the Sierra Club is still following firmly in Muir’s footsteps today. Among William’s teachings are plenty of digressions and distractions - charming moments of a mind as fascinated by nature today as he has ever been.For further information on this and other episodes, visit: