Monday, September 29, 2014

Episode 233 (9-29-14): Grebes Sink AND Swim

Click to listen to episode (2:52)

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of September 29, 2014.

This week, we feature some raucous mystery sounds from a family of diving birds.  Have a listen for about 25 seconds, and see if you can guess what’s making these calls.  And here’s a hint: you’ll come to grief if you miss this by one letter’s sound.

SOUNDS

If you guessed grebes, you’re right!  Those were some of the sounds made by the Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, and Red-Necked Grebe.  Out of 21 species worldwide and seven in North America, these three species are found commonly in Virginia.  Horned Grebes and Red-necked Grebes are regular winter residents on Virginia’s coasts, and the Pied-billed Grebe is a year-round resident throughout much of the Commonwealth.  As a group, grebes are known for their swimming and diving abilities.  Lobed toes set far back on their bodies adapt grebes for swimming, and their ability to remove air from their feathers and internal air sacs helps them submerge to escape danger and to feed on a variety of aquatic animals and plants.  Grebes call and act aggressively during breeding season, but they’re generally quieter and much less noticeable during non-breeding seasons.   In fact, a calm pond surface might conceal a hiding grebe with only its nostrils exposed to the air, or that surface might be broken—almost silently—by a grebe emerging with a fish in its bill.  Thanks to Lang Elliott, Nature Sound Studio, and the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs for 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 9/29/14]

Two Pied-billed Grebes on a pond in Blacksburg, Virginia, September 28, 2014.
  
Acknowledgments
The sounds of the Pied-billed Grebe, Horned Grebe, and Ring Necked Grebe Snow Geese 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
“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).

Audubon Society, “Grebes,” online at http://birds.audubon.org/birdid/family/Grebes.

“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).

The Life of Birds, 2nd Edition, by Joel C. Welty, W.B. Saunders Company, Philadelphia, 1975.

Other sources of information about birds in Virginia
For other Virginia Water Radio episodes on birds, please see that topic in our index at http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html.

For selected news, events, and resources relevant to birds and water in Virginia, please visit this link at the Virginia Water Central News Grouper: http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=birds.

Virginia Society of Ornithology, online at www.virginiabirds.net.
Life in the Chesapeake Bay
, by Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006.

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


Monday, September 22, 2014

Episode 232 (9-22-14): "Samuel Mason" by Andrew and Noah vanNorstrand Recalls a Notorious, Virginia-born River Pirate

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 September 22, 2014.

This week, we feature a song about a frontier Virginian who became an infamous river pirate.  Have a listen for about a minute.

MUSIC

You’ve been listening to “Samuel Mason,” by the Andrew and Noah vanNorstrand, from their 2010 album, “All the Good Summers,” on Great Bear Records.  Born in Norfolk in 1739, Mason was a Revolutionary War soldier and a farmer on the western Virginia frontier.  But he was known for criminal activities, and in the 1790s he became one of the most notorious pirates targeting riverside dwellers and boat traffic, particularly in the area around Hurricane Island and Cave-in-Rock on the Ohio River in Illinois.  Mason’s killing in 1803—by fellow pirates seeking reward money—helped lead to the end of well-organized piracy on the Ohio and other waterways on the early-U.S. frontier.  By that by-gone era was, unfortunately, only a part of the long-tragic history of piracy that continues in the 21st Century on several of the world’s seas.  Thanks to Andrew and Noah for permission to use this week’s music, and we end with about 10 more seconds of “Samuel Mason.”

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 9/21/14]

Acknowledgments
“Samuel Mason” and “All the Good Summers” are copyright by Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand and Great Bear Records, used with permission.  More information about Andrew and Noah and their bands is available online at

Sources for this episode
On Samuel Mason:
“Going to See the Varmint: Piracy in Myth and Reality on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, 1785-1830,” by Mark J. Wagner and Mary R. McCorvie, in X Marks the Spot: The Archeology of Piracy, Russell K. Skowronek and Charles R. Ewen, eds., University of Florida Press, 2006.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Cave-in-Rock State Park Web site, http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/parks/r5/caverock.htm.

“Mississippi Legends: Samuel "Wolfman" Mason Takes on the Natchez Trace,” Legends of America Web site, http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-samuelmason.html.

“Samuel Mason at Cave-in-Rock, by Mitchell Cannell, in Illinois History, February 2001, online at http://www.lib.niu.edu/2001/ihy010238.html.

On modern-day piracy:
“Piracy and robbery against ships,” International Maritime Organization, online at http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Security/PiracyArmedRobbery/Pages/Default.aspx.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Episode 231 (9-15-14): Exploring Climate Change Basics, with Examples from Assateague Island National Seashore and Shenandoah National Park

Click to listen to episode (4:50)

TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of September 15, 2014.

This week, we start with a series of voices touching on aspects of perhaps the most complicated water-related issue on our watery globe.  Have a listen for about 35 seconds.


SOUNDS

Climate measurements, changes, and influences are the subjects not only of the excerpts you heard from the National Weather Service, a scientist in a 2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service video, and a 2014 video by two children in Blacksburg, Virginia.  Climate change is also the focus of proposed regulations by the U.S. EPA, international treaties, worldwide scientific investigation, and often-contentious debates by citizens and governments everywhere.  Driving this attention are scientific studies indicating that average global temperatures and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been increasing at unprecedentedly fast rates.  Many scientific analyses also indicate that these increases are probably due in a significant part to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels releasing carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases,” and landscape changes that contribute to atmospheric carbon levels.


The potential impacts are widespread, complicated, and not precisely predictable.  Some of the key concerns are changing ocean temperatures and sea levels; changing weather patterns; changing water chemistry; and changing influences on plant and animal metabolism and life cycles.  The kinds and extent of changes will vary from place to place, depending on a range of factors and on what’s IN a place.  As an example, consider how climate changes are likely to affect two National Park Service units in Virginia—Assateague Island National Seashore and Shenandoah National Park.  On Assateague, stretching 37 miles along the coasts of Virginia and Maryland, increases in sea level, temperature, and precipitation are expected to accelerate natural coastal processes that shape and move the island.  Meanwhile, over 200 miles inland in Shenandoah National Park, the Park Service expects increased periods of high temperature and drought and more frequent heavy rains.  Already, Park officials have seen changes in the life-cycle timing of organisms, known as phenology; and in the suitability of habitat for Park species, including rare species like the Shenandoah Salamander.

But our National Parks aren’t only a climate-change risk—they’re also a response asset.  As the Park Service’s “Climate Change/Effects in Parks” Web site states, “Our national parks are laboratories for good science and informed management decisions and also for educating the public about how climate change affects us....”


So if you’re concerned about climate change, by all means make informed and responsible decisions about energy and land use.  But don’t neglect a visit now and then to National Parks.  Your time there may give you a better understanding of the complicated connections among climate, temperature, water, and life.  Thanks to the Lazar family of Blacksburg for permission to use sounds from the video produced by children Mia and Ava, and let’s end with the question Mia and many other people are asking: “So what is your carbon footprint?”

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 9/3/14]

Assateague Island National Seashore, April 5, 2012.  Photo by Katherina Gieder, used with permission. 


Acknowledgments
The voices in this episode were taken from the following:
NOAA Weather Radio, Blacksburg National Weather Service Forecast Office broadcast of September 5, 2014.


Climate Change: Wildlife and Wildlands,” 13 min./16 sec. video produced in 2011 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/video/id/1782/rec/37; the speaker in the excerpt was Alan Cohn, at the time with the U.S. EPA.


“Communities Taking Action,” a June 2014 video by Blacksburg children Mia and Ava Lazar, done for a national contest called Restore My Climate (http://restoremyclimate.org) by Citizens’ Climate Lobby (http://citizensclimatelobby.org/); video available online at http://restoremyclimate.com/2014/06/congratulations-2nd-place-winner/.  Used with permission.


Other sources for this episode

“Basic Principles of Climate Science,” 1 hr./21 min. video presented by Christopher Horsch, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in February 2010, available online http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/singleitem/collection/video/id/1778/rec/70.


“Carbon and Communities—Linking Carbon Science with Public Policy and Resource Management in the Northeastern United States” (2011), by T.J. Fahey et al., Hubbard Brook Research Foundation Science Links Publication (Vol. 1, No. 4), Hanover, New Hampshire.

“Final Report: A Climate Change Action Plan” (2008), [Virginia] Governor’s Commission On
Climate Change, accessed online at http://www.sealevelrisevirginia.net/docs/homepage/CCC_Final_Report-Final_12152008.pdf.  [Note that in July 2014 Va. Gov. Terry McCauliffe appointed the Governor’s Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission, which is to review the 2008 plan and report on what has been the result of the plan’s recommendations.  More information about the new commission is available in Governor McAuliffe Signs Executive Order Convening Climate Change and Resiliency Update Commission, Virginia Governor’s Office News Release, 7/1/14.]

National Park Service (NPS), “Changing Landscapes on Assateague Island,” online at http://www.nps.gov/stories/assateaguelandscape.htm.

NPS, “Climate Change and Your National Parks/Effects in Parks,” online at http://www.nps.gov/subjects/climatechange/effectsinparks.htm.


NPS, “Climate Change in Shenandoah National Park” (3 min./15 sec. video), online at http://www.nps.gov/shen/photosmultimedia/climate-change-in-shenandoah-national-park.htm.

NPS, “Understanding the Science of Climate Change—Talking Points—Impacts to Eastern Woodlands and Forests” (2011), online at http://nature.nps.gov/climatechange/docs/EasternWoodlandsTP.pdf.


A Natural History Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park
(pages 236-239) (2008), by Donald W. Linzey, University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tenn.

U.S. EPA, “Carbon Regulatory Actions,” online at http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/regulatory-actions, on the EPA regulations proposed in 2013 and 2014 for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases from existing, modified, and new electricity-generating plants.


Other sources of information about climate change
For selected news, events, and resources relevant to climate change in Virginia, please visit “Climate Change” category in the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/category/climate-change/.

U.S. EPA, “A Student’s Guide to Global Climate Change—References,” online at http://www.epa.gov/climatestudents/references.html.