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#53388 - 06/10/18 09:04 AM Weird sound on the trail - I HAVE TO KNOW
David Nieman Offline


Registered: 06/04/18
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles
My fiancé and I made an overnight trek up Whitney on this past Thursday/Friday. Now, I’ve got a burning question... About a mile up the trail after leaving Whitney Portal, we heard a really deep “womping” noise. The noise came in sets of 5 or 6, and we’d hear it every 10 seconds or so. It sounded so deep it’s hard to believe it was a bird, but it could be. We heard it in the same area on our way up and down the trail. Any ideas??

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#53391 - 06/10/18 01:05 PM Re: Weird sound on the trail - I HAVE TO KNOW [Re: David Nieman]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 431
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Grouse.

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#53393 - 06/10/18 03:24 PM Re: Weird sound on the trail - Blue Grouse [Re: bobpickering]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7874
Loc: Fresno, CA
Blue Grouse mating call.

Here's a YouTube video with the sound. Unfortunately, the sound is so deep that most microphones won't pick it up, and most computer speakers won't play it. I can't hear the sound using my usual computer speakers, but put on the ear buds or earphones, and you will hear it.

The sound is so common in the Sierra, but many people don't realize it is this bird. I have some friends who were hiking the Pohono trail in Yosemite -- it starts at the Tunnel View parking lot. They started up the trail, and then heard the sounds of that bird. They were just sure it was a bear making some sort of warning sounds, so they turned back and hurried back to the car. It ended their hike!!! laugh laugh laugh


This is the best video I could find of the sound, but it doesn't sound nearly as loud here -- even with headphones -- as it does on the trail. This is how the male appears. The female is all speckled and gray -- camouflaged.





The pics below are mine. (click for larger view).
This one was shadowing/harassing a hen in the trees and bushes at the base of the Half Dome subdome area. As he chased her (walking slowly), he was hissing.


This on the shortcut trail to lower Cathedral Lake:


Here's a hen: Above Cathedral Lakes in Yosemite.

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#53394 - 06/10/18 03:53 PM Re: Weird sound on the trail - Blue Grouse [Re: Steve C]
David Nieman Offline


Registered: 06/04/18
Posts: 3
Loc: Los Angeles
Amazing! I was so curious. It’s crazy that a bird that size can make such a deep sound.

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#53398 - 06/11/18 12:12 AM Re: Weird sound on the trail - Blue Grouse [Re: David Nieman]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 502
Loc: Nashville, TN
I hate to grouse about birds, but if you walk-up on them and they decided to fly away when you are 2 feet away, it sounds like a grenade. That's the fowlest noise they yet make.
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#53703 - 06/27/18 07:44 AM Re: Weird sound on the trail - Blue Grouse [Re: Snacking Bear]
+ @ti2d Offline


Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 836
Loc: Sheridan, OR
And if you are not careful, they may turn on you and attack especially the male.
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#54213 - 09/08/18 01:54 PM Re: Weird sound on the trail - I HAVE TO KNOW [Re: David Nieman]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
There are actually two possibilites here. The description of a "womp" more closely fits the ruffed grouse, a shorter, lower and more rapid note that sounds like what it is" the whomp of wings, like a muffled drum. The blue grouse makes a longer, higher and more musical note, less rapid and fewer in each series like something between a bullfrog and a great horned owl. Ruffed is more common the the lower reaches of the eastern sierra, but its possible.
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#55489 - 06/20/19 01:52 AM Re: Weird sound on the trail - I HAVE TO KNOW [Re: saltydog]
StorminMatt Offline


Registered: 06/20/19
Posts: 23
Loc: Norcal
I heard this last week when I climbed Clouds Rest. I always wondered what it was. But I always knew it couldn’t be a bear, as I would notice if something THAT big was making the sound. As for the sound itself, I always thought it sounded maybe a little like someone playing a whiskey jug.

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#55532 - 06/25/19 01:39 PM Re: Weird sound on the trail - I HAVE TO KNOW [Re: David Nieman]
terraelise Offline


Registered: 06/29/17
Posts: 30
Loc: CA
haha! I ran into this noise in Alta Meadow - I was alone and it was dense fog and it freaked me out. BUT it stopped every evening so I figured it was some bird. It took me a week of searching online before I found a random PDF that listed bird sounds then found the noise on YouTube to confirm. NEVER saw the guy.
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