Monday, June 24, 2013

Episode 167 (6-24-13): American Alligator

Click to listen to episode (2:24).

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 24, 2013.
This week we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you can identify the low growl.  And here’s a hint: If you saw one of these, you might say, “See you LATER!”


SOUND.


If you guessed an alligator, you’re right!  The American Alligator is found in all kinds of freshwater habitats—from swamps to old rice fields to large rivers— in the Atlantic and Gulf coast states from the Carolinas to Texas, as well as in parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma.  Alligators’ known native range did not include Virginia, but that range did include North Carolina’s part of the Dismal Swamp, just below the Virginia border.  While some people believe wild alligators may reach the Commonwealth from North Carolina, or that they may eventually increase their range in a warmer climate, the current occasional Virginia sightings or captures are generally presumed to result from accidental or intentional release of animals kept as pets.  It’s illegal to import, possess, or sell alligators in Virginia without a special state permit.  They’re fascinating reptiles, best viewed from a distance in their native habitats.  Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for permission to use this week’s sound.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, 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.


SHOW NOTES
[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 6/2413]



Alligator at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in Florida, February 2009.  Photo by Steve Hillebrand, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov, accessed 6-24-13.



Acknowledgments: Alligator sounds were recorded in Georgia in 2000 and were taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s “National Digital Library” (public domain sounds) at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/audio/id/21/rec/1.  Alligator sounds and information were included previously in Virginia Water Radio Episode 42 (week of 11-15-10), now archived.

Sources and More Information:
*Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, by B.S. Martof et. al., University of North Carolina Press/Chapel Hill (1980);
*Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, J.C. Mitchell and K.K. Reay, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (1999);
*Davidson College (North Carolina) Herpetology Lab, “Amphibians and Reptiles of North Carolina,” online at http://www.herpsofnc.org/;
*University of Florida Cooperative Extension, “Living with Alligators: A Florida Reality,” at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/uw230; and
*U.S. Geological Survey Web site at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/factsheet.aspx?SpeciesID=221;
*Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Nongame Fish, Reptile, Amphibian and Aquatic Invertebrate Regulations,” online at https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/regulations/nongame/; and “Species Information: Reptiles,” online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/information/?t=3;
*Virginia Herpetological Society, online at www.virginiaherpetologicalsociety.com.

For the debate over whether wild or nesting alligators are currently in Virginia or will eventually be here:

*River Mud, “No Alligators in Virginia,” 5/25/10 blog post, online at http://rivermud.blogspot.com/2010/05/no-alligators-in-virginia-zero-none.html (see also later, related posts); and
*Slate.com, “Alligators in Your Backyard,” by Jackson Landers, 2/19/13.

For examples of other alligator sightings in Virginia:
*“N.C. officials warn: Stay away from alligators,” Virginian-Pilot, 6/16/12; and

*“Alligators relocate in area waters,” Washington Times, 5/24/05.



Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.



Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

Episode 165 (6-10-13): Virginia Rails in Sound and Music (featuring "Virginia Rail Reel" by Timothy Seaman)

Click to listen to episode (2:41).

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 10, 2013.


This week, we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 10 seconds, and see if you can guess what’s making these clicking and chirping sounds.  And here’s a hint: this creature shares its name with pioneer fences and the track of an iron horse.  After the sound, enjoy about 35 seconds of an instrumental tune done by a Virginia composer in honor of the sound-maker.

SOUND AND MUSIC


If you guessed a Virginia Rail, you’re right, and you won’t be surprised to hear that the music was “Virginia Rail Reel,” by Timothy Seaman on the 2004 CD, “Virginia Wildlife.”  It’s questionable whether the expression “thin as a rail” refers to the bird family of rails, of which nine species are normally found in Virginia.  But there’s no question that rails’ thin bodies allow them to run, swim, feed, and nest within the dense grasses and other plants of saltwater and freshwater marshes.  From the Clapper Rail, to the Common Moorhen, to the Purple Gallinule, to the American Coot, rails have descriptive names, distinctive calls, and adaptations well-suited to marshy habitats.  Thanks to Lang Elliott and Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s sounds and music, respectively.


SHIP'S BELL
 

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, 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.

SHOW NOTES

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 6/10/13.]

 
Virginia Rail.  2010 photo by Dave Menke, courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library, http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/, 6/10/13.




Acknowledgments:
The sounds of the Virginia Rail (Rallus limicola) 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, whose work is available online at http://www.langelliott.com/ and the “Music of Nature” Web site, http://www.musicofnature.org/ (as of 6/10/13).


Music on the CD “Virginia Wildlife” is copyright 2004 by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is http://www.timothyseaman.com/.  The “Virginia Wildlife” CD was a collaboration between Mr. Seaman and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; for more information, visit https://www3.dgif.virginia.gov/estore/proddetail.asp?prod=VW219.


Sources:

Information was taken from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ “Fish and Wildlife Information Service” Web page at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Title=VaFWIS+Species+Information+By+Name&vUT=Visitor; from Life in the Chesapeake Bay, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006), pp. 232-3; and from A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001).

Other sources of information on Virginia birds include the following:
*Virginia Society of Ornithology at www.virginiabirds.net.

*Cornell University Lab of Ornithology’s “All About Birds” Web site at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search, and the “Birds of North America Online” Web site from the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists’ Union, online at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna (subscription required for this Web site).  Both Cornell sites include photos, distribution maps, recordings of calls, and ecological information on birds throughout the Western Hemisphere; a subscription is required to use the “Birds of North America Online” site.

*E-bird Web site at
http://ebird.org/content/ebird/, maintained by the Cornell Lab and the Audubon Society.  Here you can find locations of species observations made by contributors, and you can sign up to contribute your own observations.


Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Episode 164 (6-3-13): "Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel" by Bobby Horton

Click to listen to episode (2:37).

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of June 3, 2013.

This week, in honor of the recent observance of Memorial Day, we feature another song in the theme of the role of rivers in the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  Have a listen for about 40 seconds.

MUSIC.


You’ve been listening to part of “Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel,” performed by Bobby Horton on the 1988 album “Homespun Songs of the C.S.A., Vol. 4.”  First published in 1863, the lyrics recall the series of unsuccessful attempts by Union forces to take the Confederate capital of Richmond in 1861 and 1862.  Those attempts included opportunities and challenges presented by various Virginia waters, including Bull Run, the Chickahominy River, the James River and the peninsula between it and the York River, and finally the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in December 1862, the subject of our song excerpt.  Over 150 years later, the simple phrase “A hard road to travel” helps remind us of the great sacrifices—on many lands and waters—that we honor on Memorial Day and all year.  Thanks to Bobby Horton for permission to use this week’s music.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, 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.

SHOW NOTES

[All Internet addresses mentioned were functional as of 6/3/13]



Pontoon bridges placed by Union forces across the Rappahannock River at Fredericksburg in December 1862.  Photo from National Park Service, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park Photo Gallery, online at http://www.nps.gov/frsp/photosmultimedia/photogallery.htm.

Acknowledgments:
“Homespun Songs of the C.S.A., Vol. 4” and its version of “Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel” are copyright by Bobby Horton, used with permission.  More information about Mr. Horton is available online at http://bobbyhorton.com/.

Two previous Virginia Water Radio episodes (also featuring music by Bobby Horton) on rivers in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars are Episode 103 (Week of 3-19-12) (York River in the Revolutionary War battle at Yorktown, Va.) and Episode 101 (Week of 3-5-12) (Potomac River and others in the Civil War).

Sources and more information:
Information on “Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel” was taken the Library of Congress, online at http://www.loc.gov/item/ihas.200002583; “Poetry and Music of the War Between the States/Confederate Poetry,” online at http://www.civilwarpoetry.org/confederate/songs/richmond.html; and “Traditional Ballad Index,” California State University at Fresno, online at http://www.fresnostate.edu/folklore/BalladIndexTOC.html.  The melody is based on “Jordan Am a Hard Road to Travel,” attributed to Daniel D. Emmett in the 1850s.  The lyrics were first published as part of “Southern Songs of the War” by A. E. Blackmar in 1863.

Information on the Battle of Fredericksburg and other Union attempts to take Richmond in 1861-62 was taken from the National Park Service’s Web site on Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, at http://www.nps.gov/frsp/fredhist.htm; and the Civil War Trust’s Web site on Fredericksburg (at http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/fredericksburg.html?tab=facts), on the Peninsula Campaign (at http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/yorktown/yorktown-history-articles/peninsulaquarstein.html), and on the Seven Days Campaign (at http://www.civilwar.org/maps/seven-days-campaign/sevendaysmap.html).

Information on rivers and streams involved in Civil War battles is available from the "USA Civil War" Web site at http://usa-civil-war.com/CW_Rivers/rivers.html
A photo gallery of rivers involved in Civil War battles, including several in Virginia, was published in October 2011 by the Washington Post and is available online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-rivers-that-shaped-the-civil-war/2011/10/05/gIQAICseUL_gallery.html#photo=15.



Recent Virginia Water News and Other Information
            For news, events, and resources relevant to Virginia's water resources, grouped into categories, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.