I had recurring business in the town of McAllen, Texas, which is a fine south Texas town not far from the border between Texas and Mexico.
The terrain around McAllen includes a lot of agricultural land, which is somewhat flat. I used to drive past a nearby factory which processed the healing powers of the aloe vera plant. I would drive in the dark, listening to a border radio station which played only choruses of very niche 1940s gospel music.
I realized that near town, the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge was located. I decided to drive there.
I came upon a grove of small trees and a nature center amid the flat terrain. I pulled up to the center and found a world of new things.
Upturned citrus fruit drew the spectacular green jay, a fluorescent delight. The wetlands are had lovely and unfamiliar whistling ducks.
But what I remember most of all is the great kiskadee. The great kiskadee is a songbird—a flycatcher about 8.7 inches (22 cm) long. It has brown wings and a brilliant yellow breast. I saw a great kiskadee in the little dense wooded area, and the vision remained with me for years.
The great kiskadee evoked for me the joy of finding something incredibly lovely among the day-to-day, within the hidden places often overlooked or unknown.
Even years later, when I saw went to southern Costa Rica, and saw incredible birds, including the endangered and very showy scarlet macaw, the memory of seeing another great kiskadee perched in a tree by the beach stays with me still.
I think that behind my masque there is a search for something interesting in unlikely places.
Texasradiofish has some really great samples, with which I played for hours, in different formats, with different synthesizers. Ultimately, I settled on a midi line called moogish bass. I took this melody and created a rather raucous bit of romper room.
Perhaps it would help to explain the great kiskadee is anything but a meek songbird. When raptors such as hawks come by, they defend their territory aggressively. When they see something about which to remark, they give voice to their viewpoints.
This song is also not shy, but it is perhaps a bit off the beaten path, near the Texas border, amid the chacalaca birds and the luxuriant tropical birds. This song is a great kiskadee.
Thanks to Texasradiofish for a great sample. I love it when people upload .mid melodies as well as their mp3s. I know I have not done you full justice, but I hope you’ll join me for this bit of border birding in this song.
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