Were they green? If so, they're probably tropical parrots. There's a huge flock that comes by my area every year now, by the hundreds, and they are LOUD... and yes, very annoying. :) The whole flock actually parked right outside my bedroom in the trees this fall and I beat myself up that I didn't have any batteries in my microphone!
The "clicking" happens when a new arc is sparked at the base of the ladder during the dispersion of the previous arc. This is part of how the device works (see the flickr photos for a better idea.) We did find a way to keep an arc "alive" by blowing it down towards the base, but this produces a different noise. You can hear this effect in this sample: http://freesound.iua.upf.edu/samplesViewSingle.php?id=19482
The effect you want can probably only be achieved through postproduction, or recording a different device...
Thanks. This is basically an unedited excerpt, I figured that I should leave cleanup to the professionals. I did post some shorter samples (JacobsLadderSingle) that are more suitable for use as drop-in sound effects.
That's very true. However, my katana is a modern ornamental piece with a metal sheath, so this is the sound it makes when it's drawn.
However, a good friend of mine owns a more authentic daishō that he got in Japan, complete with wooden saya. I could try to record the katana and wakizashi from that, but as you said it doesn't really make much sound at all. :)
Sorry, but you wouldn't get that sound at all from a katana being drawn from the saya. A saya is made of wood, so there would be no metallic scraping noises at all. In reality both the draw and resheathing of the sword are near silent. Find a dojo where they practice Iaido and you'll hear what i mean. The only sound produced by the sword during kata comes from cutting.