Friday, May 23, 2014

Episode 215 (5-26-14): Here Comes Atlantic Tropical Storm Season 2014

Click to listen to episode (3:06)

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of May 26, 2014.

This week, we feature a series of guest voices calling out a mysterious group of names.  Have a listen for about 25 seconds, and see if you can guess who—or rather, what—these names might be.

SOUND (~22 seconds)

If you guessed hurricanes, you’re right!  Those are the names planned for hurricanes and tropical storms during the 2014 Atlantic tropical storm season, covering the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.  The season runs officially from June 1 through November 30, but exceptions happen, such as in 2012 when the first two named storms occurred in May.  National Hurricane Preparedness Week is May 25 to 31, and during that same period Virginia is offering its annual sales-tax holiday for hurricane-preparedness supplies and equipment.  Hurricanes and tropical storms are two categories of tropical cyclones—counter-clockwise-rotating storm systems that start in tropical or sub-tropical latitudes.  A tropical cyclone is called a tropical storm—and gets a name—when sustained wind speeds reach 39 miles per hour; at 74 miles per hour, a tropical cyclone is considered a hurricane.  Tropical depressions—with wind speeds below 39 miles per hour—don’t get names, but they can still bring heavy rainfall and flooding.

SOUND (~4 seconds)

Before a tropical system of any speed or name barges into the Old Dominion, you can get ready by making an emergency plan, including an evacuation plan; assembling an emergency kit of food, water, and supplies; and establishing ways to stay informed, especially if the power goes out.  Detailed instructions are available from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, online at readyvirginia.gov.  Thanks to friends in Blacksburg for lending their voices to this episode.

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 5/23/14]

Names and tracks of 2013 Atlantic tropical storms, according to the National Hurricane Center, online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/2013atlan.shtml (accessed 5/23/14).

Acknowledgments
Thanks to the Blacksburg, Va., residents who recorded tropical storm names for this episode on May 22, 2014.

Following are the planned names for storms in the 2014 Atlantic tropical storm season, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) “Tropical Cyclone Names” Web page,
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutnames.shtml: Arthur, Bertha, Cristobal, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo, Hanna, Isaias, Josephine, Kyle, Laura, Marco, Nana, Omar, Paulette, Rene, Sally, Teddy, Vicky, and Wilfred.

Tropical-storm-season preparedness was also featured in Virginia Water Radio Episode 163 (5-27-13).

Sources for this episode and other sources of information about the Atlantic tropical-storm season and preparedness

American Red Cross
, “Hurricane Preparedness,” online at http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/hurricane.

Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA), “Hurricanes,” online at http://www.ready.gov/hurricanes.

National Hurricane Center
, online at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/; this site provides bulletins, maps, and other information on tropical storms as they are occurring.  Data archives for past seasons are available at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/data/.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
, “NOAA predicts near-normal or below-normal 2014 Atlantic hurricane season,” 5/22/14 news release, online at http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2014/20140522_hurricaneoutlook_atlantic.html.  The full Atlantic hurricane outlook, providing more details than the news release, is available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, online at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/outlooks/hurricane.shtml.

National Weather Service
, “What is a Tropical Cyclone?”; online at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/os/hurricane/resources/TropicalCyclones11.pdf.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management
, “Hurricanes,” online at http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stayinformed/hurricanes.  Details regarding Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday can be found at http://www.vaemergency.gov/readyvirginia/stay-informed/hurricanes/sales-tax-holiday.

Virginia Department of Transportation
, “Hurricane Evacuation Guide,” online at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hurricane_defauLT.asp.



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, May 19, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Episode 213 (5-12-14): In Black Skimmers, the Bill Fits an Aerial Specialist

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 May 12, 2014.

This week, we feature another mystery sound.  Have a listen for about 10 seconds, and see if you can guess what coastal inhabitant is making this sound.  And here’s a hint: it’s not a bird dog, but if you’re thinking “dog-bird,” you’re skimming close to the answer.


SOUND


If you guessed a Black Skimmer, you’re right!  And if you guessed “seadog,” you’re also right, because a bark-like call helps give this coastal bird that canine nickname.  One of only three skimmer species in the world, Black Skimmers are found along coastal areas of North and South America.  Sandy beaches on Virginia’s barrier islands attract this bird during its breeding season, starting in April and with the peak of egg hatching in June and July.  Black Skimmers are distinctive for their knife-like, black-and-red bill, whose lower part is longer than the upper.  To feed upon small fish and crustaceans, the bird uses long, flexible wings to skim along water surfaces, with the protruding lower bill in the water.  When it detects prey, the bird snaps down its upper jaw, captures the prey, and swallows it, while still in flight.  These flying and feeding habits led to Black Skimmers being poetically described by ornithologist R.C. Murphy in 1936 as “unworldly...aerial beagles....”  Thanks to Lang Elliott 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 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 5/12/14]


Black Skimmer flock showing the birds’ characteristic habit of facing the same direction.  Photo taken along Aransas Bay at Rockport, Texas, in early March 2014.  Courtesy of Gloria and Stephen Schoenholtz.
Black Skimmer in flight, showing the bird’s long wings.  Photo taken along Aransas Bay at Rockport, Texas, in early March 2014.  Courtesy of Gloria and Stephen Schoenholtz.

Acknowledgments
The sounds of the Black Skimmer 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/.

Sources for this episode

“Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger),” by Spike Knuth, Outdoor Report (Sept. 11, 2013), Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; available online at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/outdoor-report/2013/09/11/.

“Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger),” by Julie G. Bradshaw, The Virginia Wetlands Report, Vol. 11, No. 1 (Winter 1996), pp. 3-4, Virginia Institute of Marine Science; available online at http://ccrm.vims.edu/publications/publications_topics/vwr/vwr-winter96.pdf.

“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. (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001).

“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).  The R.C. Murphy quote was found at these sites, which identify the original source as R. C. Murphy, Oceanic birds of South America--Vol. 2 (1936), American Museum of Natural History, New York.

Other sources of information about Virginia birds
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.


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, May 5, 2014

Episode 212 (5-5-14): Timing and Cues are Keys to Flowers of the Forest--Musically by No Strings Attached and Biologically by Woodland Plants

Click to listen to episode (3:10)

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of May 5, 2014.
This week, we feature a Blacksburg- and Roanoke-based musical group’s version of a traditional Finnish waltz tune, named for a plant community that, like good music, depends on the right timing.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds.


MUSIC

You’ve been listening to part of “Flowers of the Forest,” by No Strings Attached, on their 2003 CD, “Old Friend’s Waltz,” from Enessay Music.  Just as in a well-done waltz, timing is crucial for low-growing, spring-blooming forest plants.  Such plants live under trees whose leaf canopy will close by late spring, blocking much of the sunlight and rainfall from reaching the forest floor.  As a result, many non-woody forest plants are adapted to take advantage of early spring’s interaction of warming soil and air temperature, available moisture, increasing light, and the activity of emerging insect pollinators to reproduce and to store enough energy underground to survive the coming year.  Bloodroot, Spring Beauty, Trillium, and many other Virginia woodland plants follow this strategy: show up early, use colorful flowers to show off for foraging insects, and then settle back into the moist forest floor.


Thanks for No Strings Attached for permission to use this week’s music, and let’s end with about 20 more seconds of “Flowers of the Forest.”


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 5/5/14]



Trillium (blooming) and several spring wildflower species in sunlight on a forest floor prior to tree leaf-out, Blacksburg, Va., May 3, 2014.

Shooting Star population beside a woodland stream, Blacksburg, Va., May 3, 2014.

Trillium in light and shadow at the base of a Tulip Tree, Blacksburg, Va., May 3, 2014.


Acknowledgments:
“Flowers of the Forest” and “Old Friend’s Waltz” are copyright by No Strings Attached and Enessay Music, used with permission.  More information about No Strings Attached is available from their Web site, http://enessay.com/.

Sources:
Information on Metsäkukkia,” the original Finnish tune on which No Strings Attached’s “Flowers of the Forest” was based, was taken from Andrew Kuntz’ “The Fiddler’s Companion,” online at http://www.ibiblio.org/fiddlers/MER_MIC.htm; and from Jeremy Keith’s “The Session” Web site, online at http://thesession.org/tunes/4585.

Information on Virginia forest wildflowers and their connections to water and other environmental conditions was taken from the following sources:
*“Spring Wildflowers: Ecological Factors,” by Marion Lobstein (undated), published by the Botanical Society of Washington [D.C.], online at www.botsoc.org/SpringWildflowerBackground.doc.  (Marion Lobstein is a retired biology professor at Northern Virginia Community College-Manassas; more information about her is available online at http://www.mblobstein.com/.)

*“Pollination Ecology of the Spring Wildflower Community of a Temperate Deciduous Forest,” by Alexander F. Motten, Ecological Monographs (Vol. 56, No. 1), March 1986, pp. 21-42.

Other sources for learning about Virginia wildflowers and plants include the following:
*The Flora of Virginia Project (project accompanying the 2012 publication of The Flora of Virginia, the first comprehensive manual of Virginia plants published since the 1700s), online at http://www.floraofvirginia.org/.

*A series of wildflower guides by Oscar W. Gupton and Fred C. Swope: Fall Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987); Wild Orchids of the Middle Atlantic States (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986); Wildflowers of Tidewater Virginia (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1982); and Wildflowers of the Shenandoah Valley and Blue Ridge Mountains Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979).

*Virginia Native Plant Society, online at http://vnps.org/.



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/.