Monday, March 16, 2020

Episode 516 (3-16-20): A Spring Serenade, 2020 Edition

Click to listen to episode (4:19)

Sections below are the following:
Transcript of Audio
Audio Notes and Acknowledgments
Related Water Radio Episodes
For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.)

Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-13-20.


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 16, 2020.

MUSIC – ~ 10 sec – instrumental.

This week, that excerpt of “Late Winter,” by Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand, opens an episode focused what follows late winter, and that’s, of course, spring.  In the Northern Hemisphere in 2020, winter departs as the spring equinox occurs on March 19 at 11:49 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.  To mark spring’s arrival, we offer a second edition of an episode first done in March 2014, featuring a spring serenade of mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds, and see if you know these sounds occurring now, or soon, in Virginia.  And here are some hints: atmospheric thumping, puddle jumping, nest feathering, and mammals flying.

SOUNDS - ~29 sec

If you guessed stormy weather, frogs, birds, and bats, you’re right!  After the sounds of a spring thunderstorm, you heard two frog breeding calls, from the Upland Chorus Frog and the Southern Toad; then, bird calls from the Bank Swallow and Spotted Sandpiper; and finally, vocalizations by bats.

Frogs, birds, and bats are among the thousands of species of animals and plants, found either seasonally or year-round in Virginia, responding to spring’s increasing daylight, temperature, and availability of water and food to increase their activity, particularly their reproductive activity.  Active animals and weather patterns combine to make a rich spring soundscape, the start of a long series of warm-season events and sounds.  Here’s hoping that your spring and summer include opportunities to hear the natural world at work on Virginia’s waters and lands.

Thanks for this week’s frog sounds to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and to Lang Elliott’s NatureSound Studio, from the 2008 CD, “The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads”; and thanks to Lang Elliott, again, for the bird sounds, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs.  Thanks also to Andrew and Noah VanNorstrand for permission to use “Late Winter,” from the 2004 album, “Driftage.”  We close with about 10 seconds of another Andrew and Noah tune, “Corbin Hill,” whose name has nothing specific to do with spring, but whose rapid tempo fits spring’s accelerating outdoors pace.

MUSIC - ~ 13 sec –instrumental.


Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  For more Virginia water sounds, music, or information, visit us online at, or call the Water Center at (540) 231-5624.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close this show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


A previous “spring serenade” episode was Episode 206, 3-24-14.

“Late Winter/Corbin Hill,” from the 2004 album “Driftage,” is 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

The thunderstorm sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio on April 20, 2015, in Blacksburg, Va.

The Upland Chorus Frog and Southern Toad sounds were from “The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads” CD, copyright 2008 by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and Lang Elliott/NatureSound Studio, used with permission.  For more information on this CD, contact VDGIF online at; by mail to P.O. Box 90778, Henrico, VA 23228-0778; by phone to (804) 367-1000 (VTDD); or by e-mail to

The Bank Swallow and Spotted Sandpiper sounds were 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.  Lang Elliot’s work is available online at the “Music of Nature” Web site,

The bats vocalization was from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Digital Library, online at, as of 3-13-20.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.  More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at


Southern Toad in South Carolina in 2012.  Photo by Mark Musselman, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at; specific URL for the photo is, as of March 16, 2020.

Bank Swallows (lower birds) with Violet-green Swallows (upper birds) image from a painting originally published between 1827 and 1838 by John James Audubon in Birds of America (plate 385).  Image made available for public use by the Audubon Society, online at; specific URL for this image is, as of March 16, 2020.

Eastern Red Bat, photographed in Amherst County, Virginia, December 14, 2019.  Photo by Andrew Elgin, made available on iNaturalist at, as of March 16, 2020, for use under Creative Commons license “Attribtution-NonCommercial 4.0.”  Information about this Creative Commons license is available online at


Used for Audio

Vigdis Hocken, “Spring Equinox—Vernal Equinox,” online at

John D. Kleopfer and Chris S. Hobson, A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Bureau of Wildlife Resources Special Publication Number 3, Richmond, 2011.

Stan Tekiela, Birds of Virginia Field Guide, Adventure Publications, Inc., Cambridge, Minn., 2002.

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia’s Wildlife,” online at; and “Fish and Wildlife Information Service,” online at; hyperlinks for the animals mentioned in this episode are as follows:
Upland Chorus Frog;
Southern Toad;
Bank Swallow;
Spotted Sandpiper;
bats (various species).

For More Information about Bats, Birds, and Frogs in Virginia and Elsewhere  


John D. Altringham, Bats—From Evolution to Conservation (Second Edition), Oxford University Pres, Oxford, U.K., 2011.

Bat Conservation International, online at

National Speleological Society, online at

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Division, “Cave and Karst Protection,” online at

Michael J. Harve, J. Scott Altenbach, and Troy L. Best, Bats of the United States, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Asheville, N.C., 1999.

Phil Richardson, Bats, Firefly Books, Buffalo, N.Y., 2011.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Midwest Region, “Glossary of Acoustic Bat Survey Terms,” online at

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation/Natural Heritage Division, “Bats of Virginia,” online at

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Bats,” online at

White Nose Syndrome Response Team, online at


Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists’ Union, “Birds of North America Online,” online at (subscription required).

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “Merlin Photo ID.”  The application for mobile devices allows users to submit a bird photograph to get identification of the bird.  Information is available online at

Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society, “eBird,” online at  Here you can find locations of species observations made by contributors, and you can sign up to contribute your own observations.

Virginia Society of Ornithology, online at  The Society is non-profit organization dedicated to the study, conservation, and enjoyment of birds in the Commonwealth.

Xeno-canto Foundation Web site, online at  The site provides bird songs from around the world.

Frogs and Other Amphibians

AmphibiaWeb, online at

Bernard S. Martof et al., Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1980.

J.C. Mitchell and K.K. Reay, Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Virginia, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries/Richmond (1999); available online (as a PDF) at, courtesy of the Virginia Herpetological Society.

University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, “Animal Diversity Web,” online at

Virginia Herpetological Society (VHS), “Frogs and Toads of Virginia,” online at  The VHS supports the scientific study of amphibians (frogs, toads, and salamanders) and reptiles (lizards, snakes, and turtles).

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Virginia is for Frogs” Web site, online at

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, “Wildlife Information,” online at  A list of amphibians found in Virginia is online at this link.


All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (  See particularly the “Amphibians,” “Birds,” and “Mammals” subject categories.

Following are links to episodes featuring the animals heard in this week’s episode.

Bank Swallow: Episode 329, 8-15-16 – on swallows generally.
Southern Toad: Episode 482, 7-22-19 – on the Southern Toad and the Oak Toad.
Spotted Sandpiper: Episode 264, 5-4-15 – on seeing the Spotted Sandpiper and Baltimore Oriole at the New River.
Upland Chorus Frog: Episode 464, 3-18-19 – on the chorus frog group.

Following are links to other episodes about spring.

Episode 157, 4-15-13 – on spring bird migration, featuring warblers.
Episode 212, 5-5-14 – on spring wildflowers, featuring “Flowers of the Forest” by No Strings Attached.
Episode 308, 3-21-16 – on spring generally, featuring “Until the Summer Comes” by The Steel Wheels.


The episode—the audio, extra information, or sources—may help with the following Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs).

2013 Music SOLs

SOLs at various grade levels that call for “examining the relationship of music to the other fine arts and other fields of knowledge.”

2010 Science SOLs  

Grades K-6 Earth Patterns, Cycles, and Change Theme

K.10 – Changes in natural and human-made things over time.
1.7 – changes in temperature, light, and precipitation affect plants and animals, including humans.
2.7 – Weather and seasonal changes affecting plants and animals.

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
4.9 – Virginia natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Life Processes Theme
2.4 – life cycles.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme
6.7 – natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Virginia watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; health and safety issues; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course
LS.10 – changes over time in ecosystems, communities, and populations, and factors affecting those changes, including climate changes and catastrophic disturbances.

Biology Course
BIO.8 – dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

2015 Social Studies SOLs

Grades K-3 Geography Theme
1.6 – Virginia climate, seasons, and landforms.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at

Following are links to Water Radio episodes (various topics) designed especially for certain K-12 grade levels.

Episode 250, 1-26-15 – on boiling, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 255, 3-2-15 – on density, for 5th and 6th grade.
Episode 282, 9-21-15 – on living vs. non-living, for kindergarten.
Episode 309, 3-28-16 – on temperature regulation in animals, for kindergarten through 12th grade.
Episode 333, 9-12-16 – on dissolved gases, especially dissolved oxygen in aquatic habitats, for 5th grade.
Episode 403, 1-15-18 – on freezing and ice, for kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Episode 404, 1-22-18 – on ice on ponds and lakes, for 4th through 8th grade.
Episode 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.
Episode 407, 2-12-18 – on snow chemistry and physics, for high school.
Episode 483, 7-29-19 – on buoyancy and drag, for middle school and high school.