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Join retired Chesapeake Bay Foundation Senior Naturalist John Page Williams every Wednesday for inside accounts of our Bay’s creatures and seasonal events. Follow the Bay through the seasons. Williams' fascinating natural history will enable those who love the Chesapeake to tune in to life around the Bay. The fishing enthusiast will discover things that help him or her catch more bluefish or white perch; the bird watcher and the hiker will learn when to look for the appearance of the ospreys ...
 
Chesapeake Shores After Show Podcast recaps, reviews and discusses episodes of Hallmark Channel's Chesapeake Shores. Show Summary: High-powered career woman Abby O'Brien has made it out of her hometown of Chesapeake Shores and into the big city — New York. When the divorced mother of twins takes a trip home, she is confronted with people from her past — including high school sweetheart Trace, uncompromising father Mick and esteemed grandmother Nell.
 
Dive into the troubled waters of one of the most magnificent estuaries in the world. The Fateful Tale of Chesapeake Bay is a 4-part podcast that brings you the re-telling of 160 years of ecological and social history as seen through the eyes of 2 artists trying to piece it all together. Visual artist Judith Anketell and theatre maker Miriam Gould present this tale in the only way they can, interweaving the science with song, poetry and sound, to give perspective on the changing face of natur ...
 
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Welcome to our last episode of "Chesapeake Almanac." Cold weather is losing its grip on the Chesapeake, but though the water is still cold, the earliest born Norfolk spot are making their way north, just as much a benchmark of spring as the first crocuses on land. It's March madness, which for finfish means renewed traffic and spawning on the Bay a…
 
There is no other estuary in the world with a network of rivers like the one that feeds Chesapeake Bay. Every square inch in the drainage basins of those rivers is connected directly to the Bay. The Chesapeake itself is a river, after all. It is the drowned valley of the Susquehanna, a 200-mile-long tidal river mouth. In this episode, John Page Wil…
 
In March, you can see the tiny, wedge-shaped larvae of barnacles catching early spring plankton. They scull about with their six legs, not yet ready to settle and grow into the barnacles we know. Most Bay lovers have at least one good barnacle story. Invariably these tales involved hands cut by sharp shells, or speed- and fuel-robbing crust on boat…
 
Copepods. They are among the most abundant multicellular animals on earth and generally regarded as the most numerous in the Chesapeake, with numbers routinely as high as 30,000 per cubic meter of water in some areas. They are a keystone food source for virtually every fish species in the Bay. But it takes a 3X hand lens to bring them clearly into …
 
While February is the shortest month of the year, to many anglers it can seem like the longest. What happens to the Bay's species when the cold water of winter sets in? In this episode, John Page takes us beneath the surface of February's Bay--who hibernates; who settles into deep, warmer waters; who heads out to sea. If you liked this episode, ple…
 
Winter brings several diving ducks from Canada and Alaska that thrive on the open Chesapeake. In this episode, John Page introduces us to four sea duck species attracted to the Bay's historically rich bottom food stores found in oyster beds. If you liked this episode, please give us a thumbs up and share your comments, it really helps us to spread …
 
The Chesapeake has a healthy population of otters. In fact, every river system has at least one family. Otters are perhaps the wildest, most elusive mammals on the Chesapeake. They certainly see more of us than we do of them. However, if you are lucky enough to spot one, watching an otter play on the ice if February is sure to be one of the highlig…
 
Did you know it's likely that most members of every population of bald eagles on the East Coast visit the Chesapeake at some point in their lives? In this episode, John Page Williams shares information about bald eagles in the Bay, where you can find them, and tips for identifying them, even if they are immature or too far away to distinguish their…
 
Fossils put Bay time into perspective. Features of today's region were already recognizable when the Atlantic Ocean flooded the mouth of the Susquehanna River system 15,000 years ago. In this episode, John Page takes us back to the Bay during the Miocene Epoch and points out spots where fossils from that time can still be found, as well as resource…
 
In this episode, John Page introduces us to the Chesapeake's most abundant aquatic mammal and one of the few that are active in winter--muskrats. Curious how a warm-blooded mammal can live in an aquatic habitat in the dead of a Chesapeake winter? Learn that and more. TRANSCRIPT Subscribe to Chesapeake Almanac, find us on your favorite podcast platf…
 
When the cold fronts push into the Chesapeake region, you can expect to see (and hear) large flocks of tundra swans sweeping in after them. These are creatures of habit, or some may say tradition, flying more than 1,000 miles to the same wintering grounds each year. In this episode, John Page shares some of the reasons these birds select the Chesap…
 
We all know the iconic Chesapeake oyster. But studying less well known members of the Bay community is often a good window into understanding it better. Softshell clams, hard clams, brackish-water clams, hooked mussels, ribbed mussels, and the stout razor clam each have their own niche and specialty--and guidance for eating. In this episode, John P…
 
Sometimes it can be easy to forget that oysters share the basic processes of life with us--like eating. In this episode of "Chesapeake Almanac," John Page Williams explains the intricate system of how oysters eat and what makes them so plump in November and December (prime time for oyster stuffing and oyster stew!). TRANSCRIPT Subscribe to Chesapea…
 
In this episode of Chesapeake Almanac, John Page Williams introduces us to a group of microscopic plants that live in the Bay thrive over the fall and winter. Diatoms--microscopic algae--are stunningly abundant this time of year. In Edwardian England, those interested in natural history made a hobby of collecting diatoms, looking at them under a mi…
 
Loons are as well loved in summer by people on North Country lakes as ospreys are by us here. But at this time of year, they descend on the Chesapeake Bay in the thousands. In this episode, John Page shares his personal introduction to the Chesapeake's fall loons and their extraordinary "banquets" of menhaden. TRANSCRIPT Subscribe to Chesapeake Alm…
 
Where do the menhaden go as they get older? And how do we know? Tagging fish that are caught by the tens of thousands requires an ingenious system. What about winter migrations? In this episode, John Page shares observations of scientists and watermen about the most important fish in the sea. [To find out why menhaden are considered "the most impor…
 
Vienna is an old town built on the outside of a sweeping curve, called a meander, in the Nanticoke River. In this episode, John Page explains how meanders shape the landscape, why so many early settlements were established on the outsides of these curves, and why wildlife habitat flourishes on the insides. TRANSCRIPT Subscribe to our Chesapeake Alm…
 
From an angler's point of view, the oyster toadfish might not be good for much. But their parenting technique varies greatly from most of the fish that end up on the dinner table. In this episode, John Page reflects on how his father shared the story of a why a fish with a face only a parent could love deserves some parenting respect. TRANSCRIPT Su…
 
As fall sets in, it's harvesttime around the Chesapeake. Finfish have fattened up on summer's bounty and the marshes provide a bumper crop of nutritious seed. Those who will enjoy this harvest are a remarkably varied lot. In this episode, John Page paints an autumn picture of the cornucopia of the Bay and the varied and ever-moving species partakin…
 
Two of the Bay's best-loved birds are traveling this month. Ospreys are migrating to South America, following their pattern of seeking endless summer. Canada geese are arriving for a more moderate wintering from the Ungava Peninsula in Quebec. In this episode, John Page provides some interesting insights into the October lives of these fall travele…
 
Terns' flying skills make even ospreys look slow and ponderous--and make them captivating to watch. In this episode, John Page introduces us to some of the various species of terns in the Chesapeake--where they get their strength for their aerial acrobatics, their diet and habitat. And why human population pressure is harder on these bright sparks …
 
Summer is ending, fall is on the way. Even though the days may still be warm and the landscape green, we have our calendars, our Labor Day holiday, our school schedules--event the Halloween decorations in storefronts--that signal the seasons they are a changin'. But what cues do the birds and fish of the Chesapeake have? The seasonal migrations hav…
 
Welcome to Biology class. In this episode, John Page paints a vibrant picture of a high school class learning the skills of observation from aboard canoes in the freshwater marshes of Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge. A closer examination than students expect reveals quite a lot about smartweed (Polygonum punctatum) and tearthumb (Polygonum sagi…
 
While we often think of the Chesapeake's marshes for their rich food stock, like wild rice, acres of tall, tough cattails (Typha angustifolia) and cordgrass (Spartina cynosuroides) offer another fall benefit to wildlife--habitat. In this episode, John Page introduces us to those plants that often fade into the background of the marsh and gives us a…
 
In this episode, John Page introduces us to wild rice. Stands of ripe wild rice in tidal fresh marshes along the Bay--and the blue-winged teal, red-winged blackbirds, and bobolink that enjoy it--are tell-tale signs of fall along the Bay. TRANSCRIPT Subscribe to our Chesapeake Almanac playlist. Or subscribe on your favorite podcast platform or visit…
 
In this episode, John Page peels back the layers of Bay marshes. At the end of summer, the growth of marsh plants is lush, thick with ripe seeds and colorful flowers. But below the surface a maze of systems has adapted marsh plants to thrive in some highly challenging environments. Next, read our blog, "Late Summer Glory in Tidal Fresh Marshes." TR…
 
In this episode, you might not get a good answer to this question, but you will find out a lot of interesting things about these pesky creatures. Also called stinging nettle and jellyfish, Chrysaora quinquecirrha are related to corals and sea anemones. Find out how sea nettles reproduce, what weather patterns keep them at bay, and how they function…
 
At eight weeks old, osprey chicks are nearly as large as their parents. But learning the skills they need to fly--indeed, just taking that first step--is a daunting challenge. In this episode, John Page shares the skills these youngsters need to learn before they start their migration to South America late next month. And make sure to listen for hi…
 
Sea turtles have been roaming the world's oceans for millions of years. The Atlantic loggerhead (Caretta caretta) is one of just a few that use our estuary, especially in the lower Bay. But like all wandering sea turtles, they have an air of mystery about them and are difficult to trace. Join John Page Williams as he introduces us to some of the my…
 
The Chesapeake Bay's best-loved creatures are generally animals we can catch and eat, like blue crabs and oysters. They are followed by species that command our attention, like ospreys and herons. Then there are those whose prominent coloring, distinctive song, and abundance throughout the region mark them as essential to the watershed. In this epi…
 
Every predator fish over four inches long eats grass shrimp with relish. That makes them not only an important species in the Bay food web, but also good bait. In this episode, John Page shares anglers' secrets--where to find these small crustaceans and how to use them to catch your preferred fin fish. Not interested in fishing? He also explains ho…
 
Chesapeake Bay blue crabs can be found in both Maryland and Virginia waters, though some say Maryland crabs taste sweeter. There's reason for that. There's also a reason that when tropical storm Agnes hit the Bay area in 1972, it didn't result in a massive loss of crab larvae that the prevailing theories predicted. For nearly 10 years a broad team …
 
Menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) are low on the food chain. In fact, it has been said their high levels of protein and oil, their abundance, defenselessness, and dense schooling habit make them virtually designed to be eaten by larger fish in the Chesapeake Bay. But each year hundreds of millions of pounds of these fish (also called bunker, alewife, …
 
Eelgrass is one of only a handful of flowering plants that can live submerged full-time in salt water. It's an important habitat for small fish, shrimp, and all sizes of crabs. In this episode, John Page shares the story of a young family's first experience investigating the wonders of eelgrass beds and their importance to the Chesapeake Bay. Trans…
 
For most of us, summer is high season on the Bay. Whatever we do, whether fishing or crabbing or cruising, this is our favorite time on the water. In any season, what we do on the Bay is a strong reflection of what is happening in the Bay. And summer's weather pattern-- with hot temperatures, low rainfall, and less wind--has a number of effects on …
 
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