Monday, July 16, 2012

Episode 119 (July 16, 2012): Dragonflies and Damselflies

This episode was re-done for the week of August 3, 2015, available at this link:

Please visit there for a 3 min./17 sec. introduction to the group of insects with such unusual names as Halloween Pennant, Stream Cruiser, and Black Saddlebags. 

Halloween Pennant dragonfly, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at

Monday, July 9, 2012

Episode 118 (July 9, 2012): A Summertime Virginia Sampler of Birds Around Water

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of July 9, 2012.

This week, we feature a series of mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 40 seconds, and see if you recognize these sounds from birds found very commonly around Virginia’s waters in summer.  And here’s a hint: the first two birds are commonly seen and heard, the next two are often heard but not as obviously seen, and the last two are frequently seen but not so frequently heard.  Ready?


See if you guessed right!  The birds were the Mallard duck, Canada Goose, Red-winged Blackbird, Belted Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Tree Swallow.  At least 350 bird species are found in Virginia, and many of these prefer habitats on or near water.  Some are year-round Virginia residents, others normally are seen in Virginia only in warmer weather, and still others winter here.  So on your next visit to any Virginia stream, pond, river, or beach, enrich your experience by taking time to see and hear some of the Commonwealth’s treasure of bird life.  Thanks to Lang Elliott of NatureSound Studio for permission to use this week’s sounds.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

Photos of the birds mentioned, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at, are shown below. 


Canada Geese

Red-winged Blackbird

Belted Kingfisher

Great Blue Heron

Tree Swallow

Acknowledgments and Sources: 
Except for the Red-winged Blackbird, the sounds used in this episode were taken from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs-Eastern Region CD set, by Lang Elliott with Donald and Lillian Stokes (Time Warner Audio Books, copyright 1997), used with permission of Lang Elliott and NatureSound Studio (online at

The number of bird species found in Virginia is from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ March 2010 “Official List of Native and Naturalized Fauna of Virginia,” available online at (as of 7/9/12).  Information on the species mentioned was taken from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al., St. Martin’s Press, 2001 edition; Cornell’s “Birds of North America Online” Web site at (subscription required); and the Wildlife Information Database maintained by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, online at (as of 7/9/12).

For more information: For photos, distribution maps, recordings of calls, and ecological information on birds in Virginia and throughout the Western Hemisphere, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “Bird Guide” Web site at  For more information about birds or bird-watching in Virginia, visit the Web site of the Virginia Society of Ornithology at

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at

Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.