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 in the spring and the geese in the fall. The cruising sailor drinking morning coffee while anchored in a quiet cove will learn why a great blue heron stalks the shallows in summer; the canoeist will discover when to look for wild marsh flowers.
ABOUT JOHN PAGE WILLIAMS
Raised in Richmond, John Page Williams retired in 2019 from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation after a long career working as a naturalist and field educator on streams, creeks, rivers, and the open Bay throughout the Chesapeake watershed in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. As he has also done for many years, he continues to review powerboats and write on fishing and environmental issues for Boating Magazine, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, and Virginia Wildlife Magazine.
These readings are from John Page Williams, Jr.'s book, Chesapeake Almanac: Following the Bay through the Seasons. The publication is available in print at Amazon.com.
Content copyright © John Page Williams, Jr. All rights reserved.
Find out more about the Chesapeake Bay Foundation at www.cbf.org.
December: Miocene Fossils
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.
December: Muskrats and Winter Marshes
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.
December: Swan Time
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 Chesapeake, as well as what changing conditions in the Bay may mean for their future.
December: The "Other" Mollusks
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. In this episode, John Page shares the stories of the "other" Chesapeake mollusks--including one that can dig faster than you can!
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!).
November: Diatoms - Cold-Water Jewel Boxes
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 microscope and marveling at their complex shapes, which have been referred to as "intricately carved glass jewel boxes." But those intricate designs are more than stunning to look at. They play an important role in the organism's survival. Listen now and learn more with John Page.
Best of the Chesapeake
I stumbled on this and now enjoy every episode. Informative, historical and inspiring.