Bay Journal

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We must protect bats as if our lives rely on each other, because they do

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With Halloween quickly approaching, images of bats are appearing everywhere. It’s a good time to take a look at one of the most incredible animals on this planet.

No other animal compares to the Earth’s only flying mammal. Like all mammals, bats have hair and their young are born live and feed on milk. But unlike other mammals, the fingers in a bat’s hand are elongated and connected by skin to form a wing.

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How canny are you about the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal?

The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal opened in 1850, but was gradually made obsolete by railroads. The towpath alongside the canal still exists at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park, operated by the National Park Service. Take this quiz to test how much you know about the canal.

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By the time it looks like autumn to us, Bay wildlife is already on the move

With warm days still hanging on, it’s hard to remember that summer is waning. Though it may not be that obvious, September is a month of change. Autumn doesn’t officially start until Sept. 21, but nature is already preparing for it, transforming and migrating.

In the forests, trees and other plants are beginning to alter their physiology. Some trees have already begun to change color, hinting at the inevitable falling of leaves.

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What am I?

It’s a wild world out there and the Chesapeake Bay is no exception. Here is a list of species you might encounter while hiking in the Chesapeake watershed. All you need to do is figure out what kind of species it is.

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Frightful yet delightful; ghostly nettles haunt Chesapeake waters

Chesapeake summers. They’re hot and humid. We are drawn to the Chesapeake Bay and its many rivers for a cooling dip.

Whether you are along a beach, dock or on a boat, there is that one animal that makes you leery of entering the water. But this intimidating creature is not a shark. The animal that rules Chesapeake Bay summer waters is the simple sea nettle.

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A little bit of effort goes a long way for prairie warbler

Old Bradley Road in Wicomico County, MD, is like hundreds of other rural roads in the Chesapeake watershed. It’s just a few miles long, runs between farms and forest and is dotted with an occasional house. You can walk along the road with little concern about the sparse traffic.

And like its many rural counterparts, Old Bradley Road’s isolation and varied habitat make it a haven for birds.

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Take a pollinator to lunch: Plant a native garden

June is packed with opportunities to interact with wildlife and the outdoors. But can you imagine what the outdoors would be like without pollinators?

Pollinators — bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles are nearly as important as sunlight, soil and water to the reproductive success of more than 75 percent of the world’s flowering plants.

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Feature: Archives

How canny are you about the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal?

George Washington knew that trade between the Eastern seaboard and the West — beyond the Allegheny Mountains, where roughly a quarter of the U.S. population lived — was essential to the fledgling country’s economy. Using...

Fall in love with these trails this autumn

Why be just a leaf peeper when these trails in Virginia and West Virginia offer you an opportunity to walk along the leaves themselves as well as experience views not seen from the road? Match these trails with their descriptions. Answers...

What am I?

It’s a wild world out there and the Chesapeake Bay is no exception. Here is a list of species you might encounter while hiking in the Chesapeake watershed. All you need to do is figure out what kind of species it is. Answers are...

Bears & Snakes!

Some people won’t hike in an area where they fear they might run into a bear or snake. The chance of encountering one of these creatures is very small, and if you take precautions, the chance of being injured is even smaller. Here are...

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Bay Buddies

FERN-tastic

In his poem, “The Brook,” Alfred Tennyson wrote: “I come from haunts of coot and hern, I make a sudden sally And sparkle out among the fern, To bicker down a valley.” Ferns crop up all over the watershed, but how much do we really know about them? Test...

Decoding the Chesapeake Bay

How good are you at cracking codes? Each category contains a list of words related to the Chesapeake Bay that have been put into a code. After you have figured out one of the words in a category, use the known letters to decipher the other words in that list. There is a different code for...

Also Known As …

I say tomato. You say tomahto. They say love apple? Below are 50 names — but only 25 wildflowers — that are found in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Can you match up each pair of names used for a single species of wildflower? A. Bluebird Lily B. Bugbane C. Butterflyweed D. Chickweed E....

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Bay Naturalist

What is your River IQ? Get wise on ways to help Bay

A recent National Geographic Society poll found that although Americans are concerned about the health of their rivers and express an interest in becoming involved in river conservation, most have a very low “River IQ.” Most people lack the basic knowledge about rivers and do not realize...

Chesapeake Bay night-lights add sparkle to woods, water

Every August, as the Earth enters a region of space containing high concentrations of solar debris, nighttime sky watchers are rewarded with a wonderful light display known as the Perseid meteor shower. But you don’t have to be an amateur astronomer to see magnificent light shows. Some...

You can help SAV take root in Chesapeake Bay, tributaries

Do you live on the water along the Chesapeake Bay or one of its major rivers? Do have a small boat, canoe or kayak that you can use to travel along the shorelines? Do you enjoy spending exploring creeks and coves? If you said yes to any of these questions, you can help monitor underwater...

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Chesapeake Challenge

Is it a lake? That de-ponds…

Is it a large pond or a small lake? Believe it or not, there is no “official” definition of a pond. While many use size as criteria — large = lake, small=pond — remember that the Atlantic Ocean is sometimes referred to as “The Pond” by people who live on...

Washington, DC, is a capital place to see wildlife in the winter

Washington, DC, is teeming with wildlife in the winter, and we aren’t talking donkeys and elephants. In fact, winter is a great time for wildlife watching: little or no vegetation to block the view, fewer tourists to get in the way and no mosquitoes! Here are five birds that can be...

Three new reports talk trash

Three important news items related to trash hit the wires last week. Now trash may not be the most exciting subject — nor is it likely to attract a lot of attention around a long holiday weekend. But solid waste that becomes trash in our waterways through mishandling or outright...

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On the Wing

Admiration for oddball American coot is an a acquired taste

A crisp morning breeze turned the waters of Tubby Cove into a corrugated surface of sparkling silver. We had arrived early and found hundreds of geese, ducks and swans loafing in the morning sun. Tundra swans looked regal with their brilliant white bodies and elegant long necks. Just in...

Common goldeneye has heart of gold when young are concerned

The calendar said that Thanksgiving was just a week away, but the weather told a different story. The temperature was near 70 degrees and the bright sun made it feel warmer still. New York’s Glimmerglass State Park is aptly named. The placid waters of Lake Otsego reflected a few...

Quest for food, refuge drives broad-winged hawk migration

The day was autumn-perfect with a few high clouds, a brilliant azure sky, and a zephyr coming off the nearby Chesapeake Bay. We had just departed the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge on a lovely late September afternoon. Soybean and cornfields were newly harvested. Pumpkins and apple...

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Past is Prologue

Market offers customers a pageful of Chesapeake Bay history

Chesapeake history resides not only in the 17th and 18th centuries, a period we generally associate with early European contact. Sometimes we simply run into situations that take us back three generations or so to a time when the Bay was different from what it is today. A lifetime, from...

Mute testimony: Invasive swans’ impact on SAV speaks for itself

The mute swan, (Cygnus olor), was introduced to North America from Europe, where it has lived near man for centuries. While this native of Eurasia is widely considered to be an object of beauty, when it escapes from ornamental captivity, the mute swan is a challenge to wildlife managers all...

Chesapeake’s oyster reefs shellacked by years of dredging

I walked out to the blighted waterfront using directions from Susan Langley, state underwater archaeologist for Maryland. There, adjacent to a sailing club’s floating pier and Baltimore’s Museum of Industry, amid the rubble and marine debris from centuries of intense use by the...

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