Monday, August 26, 2013

Episode 176 (8-26-13): "Sycamore Rapids," by Timothy Seaman

Click to listen to episode (2:49).

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 26, 2013.

This week, we feature a music selection inspired in part by one of Virginia’s largest and most distinctive riverside plants.  Have a listen for about 40 seconds.


SOUND.


You’ve been listening to part of “Sycamore Rapids,” by Timothy Seaman, on his 2002 CD of the same name, from Pine Wind Music.  The tune’s progressions are meant to signify changes a paddler might experience from small riffles to larger rapids to smooth water.  At any of those water features, throughout the eastern United States, part of a paddler’s scenery is often the American Sycamore tree.  Of the three sycamore species native to North America, the American Sycamore is the most familiar and by far the most widespread, ranging from New England to eastern Texas, including all of Virginia.  This tree is common in flat, floodplain areas beside small streams as well as big rivers.  Some of its distinctive features are large, often hollow trunks; peeling, patterned bark; crooked limbs; large root masses visible along stream banks; and spherical fruits persisting on leafless twigs long into winter.  Whether seen from a boat or from far upshore, few trees mark a waterway any better than a sycamore.  Thanks to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week’s music and for information on its origin.


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 8/26/13]
Hollow trunk of American Sycamore beside the New River in Radford, Va., October 4, 2009.
Sycamore roots along the James River near Wingina, Va., along the Nelson-Buckingham county line, July 12, 2009.
Sycamore along the Loudoun County, Va., side of the Potomac River, near White’s Ferry, March 23, 2008.

Acknowledgments: “Sycamore Rapids” is copyright 2002 by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is http://www.timothyseaman.com/.

Sources: Information on the American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) was taken from the following sources: Common Native Trees of Virginia, Virginia Department of Forestry (Charlottesville, 2007); Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees-Eastern Region, by E.L. Little (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980); and “vTree Factsheets,” Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, online at http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/factsheets.cfm.




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, August 19, 2013

Episode 175 (8-19-13): Osprey Rescue Reinforces Role of Fishing-line Recycling


Click to listen to episode (2:58).

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 19, 2013.

This week, we feature another series of mystery sounds. Have a listen for about 20 seconds, and see if you can guess how the first two sounds add up to the third. And here’s a hint: misplaced line makes for a tangled angler.

SOUND.

If you guessed, an Osprey running afoul of some fishing line, you’re right! Along with the call of an Osprey—or “Fish Hawk”—and the sound of fishing line, you heard part of a rescue of an Osprey chick stuck in fishing line. The latter sound was taken from the “Osprey Cam,” the Chesapeake Conservancy’s real-time video transmission from an Osprey nest on Kent Island, Maryland. On July 29, the camera showed that one of this year’s three chicks had gotten its legs caught in fishing line. Some viewers of the bird’s predicament went to the site, waded out to the nest with a ladder, and climbed up and disentangled the chick. Unwittingly, this lucky Osprey chick had starred in a documentary about the value of fishing-line recycling stations. Birds, sea turtles, and other animals can get stuck in, or eat, improperly discarded fishing line, nets, and other plastic items. Such material can also get caught in boat propellers or intakes. Recycling programs for fishing line are one way to help reduce these threats. Virginia began a statewide fishing-line recycling program in February 2009, and as of August 2013, the program had over 110 locations. So please look for the distinctive plastic tubes with a curved top, and help put plastic back to use, instead of on a beak or fin. Thanks to Lang Elliot, Timothy Seaman, and the Chesapeake Conservancy, respectively, for permission to use this week’s sounds of an Osprey, fishing line, and the Osprey rescue.

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 8/19/13]



Osprey chicks on nest in Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, 2012. Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), made available for public use by the USFWS’ National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov, accessed 8-12-13.



Fishing-line recycling container at South Holston Lake, Washington County, Virginia, April 15, 2013.

Acknowledgments:
The call of an Osprey was 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/.

The fishing line sound was taken from “Bass Fisherman’s Reel” on the 2004 CD “Virginia Wildlife,” copyright Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission. More information about Timothy Seaman is available online at http://timothyseaman.com/.

The sounds of the rescue of an Osprey chick caught in fishing line were taken from a video recorded by the Chesapeake Conservancy’s “Osprey Cam,” available online at http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/Osprey-Cam, used with permission. For more information about the camera or the Conservancy, contact the Conservancy at 716 Giddings Avenue, Suite 42, Annapolis, Maryland 21401; phone (443) 321-3610; e-mail: info@chesapeakeconservancy.org.

Sources:
Information on the July 29, 2013, rescue of the Osprey chick caught in fishing line was taken from Osprey cam chick Ozzie is rescued, [Easton, Md.] Star Democrat, 8/7/13; and from the Chesapeake Conservancy’s “Osprey Cam,” online at http://www.chesapeakeconservancy.org/Osprey-Cam.

Florida was one of the first states to start a fishing-line program; information on the Florida program, including advice on starting such a program, is available online at http://fishinglinerecycling.org. A three-minute video on building a fishing-line recycling container is available from the Boat Owners Association of the United States, online at http://www.boatus.com/foundation/monofilament/.

Information about Osprey in Virginia is available 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; 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 the latter Web site).

Monday, August 12, 2013

Episode 174 (8-12-13): Rain Crow

Click to listen to episode (2:36).

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 12, 2013.

This week, we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 10 seconds, and see if you can guess what’s making the repeated cooing sounds, and what that they might have to do with water.  And here’s a hint: predicting the weather is rarely just like clockwork.

SOUND.


If you guessed a cuckoo, you’re right!  That was the call of a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, recorded around sunrise on August 9 in Blacksburg.  Virginia is the summer home of two cuckoo species, the Yellow-billed and the Black-billed.  Both species are found in woods, thickets, and orchards; both are secretive and are heard more than seen; and both feed primarily on insects in summer, especially on caterpillars.  They’re also in the same family as the Roadrunner, and in fact cuckoos also sometimes run or hop along the ground to capture prey.  Now all of that may be interesting, but what do cuckoos have to do with water, particularly?  For that, we turn to folklore, which has nicknamed both species as “rain crow” from the belief that they tend to call more frequently before rain.  Cuckoos are only one of the many kinds of animals considered in folklore to predict rain or other weather.  For example, a 1946 Duke University publication on popular beliefs and superstitions includes 25 pages of comments from many states about weather prediction by animals, from mammals and birds to spiders and crawfish.  How much truth lies behind that folklore?  I certainly don’t know, but, for what it’s worth, it did rain the day I recorded the Yellow-billed Cuckoo!


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 8/12/13.]



Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 2008.  Photo by J.A. Spendelow, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov, accessed 8-12-13.

Acknowledgements:
Thanks to David Brady, Tom Brobson, Eric Day, and Stephen Schoenholtz for information about Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos.

Sources and more information:

Information on the Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Black-billed Cuckoo 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 the 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 the latter Web site); A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, by Chandler S. Robbins et al. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001); and A Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies, by Roger Tory Peterson, (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1980).

Information on folklore about animals as weather predictors as taken from pages 305-330 of Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, Vol. 7: Popular Beliefs and Superstitions from North Carolina (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1946), available online at http://archive.org/stream/frankcbrowncolle07fran#page/n9/mode/2up).  Here are few examples of comments about animals and weather prediction:
“When you hear the cuckoo calling, it is the sign of rain”;
“If a snake dies on its back, it is a sure sign of rain”;
“When turtles crawl to high land, rain is expected”; and
“Tree frogs cry just before a shower.”



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/

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Episode 173 (8-5-13): River Bluffs, featuring "James and York Bluffs" by Timothy Seaman

Click to listen to episode (2:46).

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 5, 2013.

This week, we feature an instrumental selection composed by a Williamsburg, Virginia, musician and inspired by the high points near some of Virginia’s lowest terrain.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds.

MUSIC.

You’ve been listening to part of “James and York Bluffs,” by Timothy Seaman on his 1998 CD “Celebration of Centuries.”  This tune honors York River State Park, located a few miles north of Williamsburg in James City County, and having—according to the CD’s liner notes—“a paradise of bluffs.”  River bluffs—also called cliffs, heights, palisades, and other terms—are high, steep, broad banks overlooking a river.  They’re found along the James, York, and many other Virginia waterways—from Cedar Bluff on the Clinch River in Tazewell County to Bluff Point on the Potomac River in Westmoreland County.  Wherever they’re found, bluffs are history treasures.  They reveal geologic history in layers of ancient sediments; they’ve been prominent in the human history of many Virginia settlements; and they offer dramatic views of the natural history and heritage of the Commonwealth’s rivers.  Thanks to Timothy Seaman 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 8/5/13]


View of a bluff at York River State Park, March 29, 2011.  Photo courtesy of Timothy Seaman.

View from a bluff at York River State Park, November 19, 2010.  Photo courtesy of Timothy Seaman.

Acknowledgments: “James and York Bluffs” and “Celebration of Centuries” are copyright 2005 by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  Mr. Seaman’s Web site is http://www.timothyseaman.com/.

Sources and more information:
“Glossary of Landform and Geologic Terms,” U.S. Department of Agriculture/Natural Resource Conservation Service, online at http://soils.usda.gov/technical/handbook/contents/part629.html, defines “bluff” as “[a] high bank or bold headland, with a broad, precipitous, sometimes rounded cliff face overlooking a plain or body of water, especially on the outside of a stream meander.”

Information on bluffs along the James River and other rivers in Virginia was taken from the following:
“The Geology of Virginia/Rivers and Watersheds,” William and Mary College Department of Geology, online at http://web.wm.edu/geology/virginia/rivers/rivers.html; and from “James River Water Trail—Lower Section” [map], James River Association, Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, and National Park Service (year not indicated).

Synonyms for “bluff” were found in the Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus-American Edition, Oxford University Press, 1996.

Information on York River State Park is available online at http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state_parks/yor.shtml (Virginia State Parks Web site) and http://www.virginiaoutdoors.com/parks/details/york-river-state-park (Explore Virginia Outdoors Web site).

Here are some Virginia locations based on and named for river bluffs:
Balls Bluff (Potomac River, Loudoun County);
Bluff City (New River, Giles County);
Bluff Point (part of Colonial Beach, Potomac River, Westmoreland County);
Bremo Bluff (James River, Fluvanna County);
Cedar Bluff (Clinch River, Tazewell County);
Colonial Heights (Appomattox River, Chesterfield County);
Drewry’s Bluff (James River, Chesterfield County, Civil War battle);
Madison Heights (James River, Amherst County);
Sylvania Heights (Rappahannock River, Spotsylvania County).

Application to Virginia State Standards of Learning (SOLs):

This episode may be useful to support Science SOLs 4.9, 6.7, ES.7, ES.9; and Social Studies SOLs VS.2 and USI.9.



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/.