Monday, August 25, 2014

Episode 228 (8-25-14): Using "River Song" by the Floorboards to Explore River Stewardship


As of August 28, 2017, this episode has been replaced by Episode 383 (8-28-17).

Monday, August 18, 2014

Episode 227 (8-18-14): Eastern Screech-Owl

Click to listen to episode (2:47)

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 18, 2014.  This week we feature a mystery bird, for which water is important, but sound is everything.  Have a listen for about 15 seconds, and see if you can identify what’s making this somewhat horse-like trill.  And here’s a hint: if you were one of the katydids you’ll hear in the background, your night might have come screeching to a halt.

SOUND


If you guessed a screech-owl, you’re right!  That was the sound of an Eastern Screech-Owl, recorded in Blacksburg, Virginia, about 10 p.m. on August 12, 2013.  This small, ear-tufted owl is a common, year-round resident throughout Virginia and the United States east of the Rocky Mountains.  It’s a land-based, forest dweller, but its water connections include frequently inhabiting areas near a water source; using streams or other water bodies for cleaning their feathers; and including fish, amphibians, and other aquatic animals in their mainly rodent-based diet.  Eastern Screech-owls are distinctive for having some individuals with gray feathers and others with reddish-brown feathers.  But instead of seeing this bird, you’re more likely to hear one of its trills, hoots, screeches, or other sounds used for mating, sounding alarms, or defending territory.   Not making sounds, though, is just as important.  Like other night-hunting owls, screech-owls have excellent hearing along with feathers adapted for nearly silent flight, allowing the birds to locate, but not scare off, their prey.  That’s likely the fate of katydids, mice, and any number of other small creatures, this August night.

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 8/18/14]

Acknowledgments

Thanks to James Fraser, Carola Haas, William Hopkins, and Sarah Karpanty—all of the Virginia Tech Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation—for providing suggestions and information for this episode.

Sources for this episode

“All About Birds,” Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, online at http://www.allaboutbirds.org; and “Birds of North America Online” Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists’ Union, online at http://bna.birds.cornell.edu/bna (subscription required).

“Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, online at http://vafwis.org/fwis/?Title=VaFWIS+Species+Information+By+Name&vUT=Visitor.

A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America
, by Chandler S. Robbins et al., St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2001.


The Life of Birds, 2nd Edition
, by Joel C. Welty, W. B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 1975; ; pp. 76-77.

“The Owl Pages,” online at http://www.owlpages.com/index.php.

“Owls' Silent Flight May Inspire Quiet Aircraft Tech,” by John Roach, National Geographic News, 12/17/04, online at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1217_041217_owl_feathers.html.

Other sources of information

Virginia Society of Ornithology at www.virginiabirds.net.

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.

For information on katydids: “Singing Insects of North America,” by Thomas J. Walker and Thomas E. Moore, online at http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/walker/buzz/.

Virginia Water Radio Episode 139 (11-19-12), “Wild Turkey and Water,” has information on water connections to terrestrial birds; available online at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/2012/11/episode-137-11-19-12-wild-turkey-and.html.


 

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 11, 2014

Friday, August 1, 2014

Episode 225 (8-4-14): Rainbows in Words and Wavelengths

Click to listen to episode (2:55)

TRANSCRIPT

From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 4, 2014.

This week, we drop in on the annual convention of the International Association for Water Words.  As a rain shower diminishes, the word for a favorite air and water phenomenon is on many different tongues.  Sound imaginary?  Well, just have a listen for about 15 seconds.

SOUND

If you know any Hawaiian, Chinese, Swahili, Italian, Hungarian, German, or Swedish, you may have recognized “rainbow” as the water word getting all the attention.  Whatever language you speak, your words probably take on a little more air of excitement when you spot a rainbow’s sky-crossing bands of colors.  The colors we perceive demonstrate that visible, white light is actually a spectrum of different wavelengths of light, ranging from the longest wavelength on the red end to the shortest on the violet end.  Colors appear in rainbows because raindrops bend different colors’ wavelengths at different angles.  Visible light, in turn, is one tiny part of the overall electromagnetic spectrum, from long-wavelength radio waves to short-wavelength gamma rays.  This reality of physics, combined with chemistry, has great application to water analysis.  Spectrophotometers can measure a substance in water based on how the substance’s chemical structure absorbs radiation at a given wavelength. 

Rainbows are fun worldwide; the radiation principles behind them are fundamental, universally.   Thanks to friends from Blacksburg, Virginia, and from China for lending their voices to this week’s episode; and just in case you’ve forgotten your rainbow colors, here are a few more friends to remind you.

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 7/31/14]

Rainbow over Blacksburg, Virginia, April 25, 2014
Rainbow over the Beartooth Range in southern Montana, June 29, 2014.  Photo by Karin Solberg, used with permission.
Acknowledgments
Virginia Water Radio thanks friends from Blacksburg, Va., and Beijing, China, for recording rainbow-related words; and David Mitchem, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, for providing information on spectroscopic methods of water analysis.

Sources for this episode
Thomas Engel.  Quantum Chemistry & Spectroscopy, 3rd ed.  Pearson Education Inc., Glenview, Illinois, 2013.

National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center, “Spectra and What Scientists Learn from Them,” http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/how_l1/spectra.html.


National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA), “The Space Place Web” site, “Why is the Sky Blue?” at http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/blue-sky/en/.


National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, “About Rainbows,” online at http://eo.ucar.edu/rainbows/.


Michael J. Suess, ed.  Examination of Water for Pollution Control—Vol. 1.  Pergamon Press, Oxford, England, 1982.


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/.