Bay Journal

Migratory Songbirds Return from Winter Sojourn

AS the weather warms and spring vegetation emerges, the air fills with sounds almost forgotten. Birds are returning to the forests, fields and wetlands of North America. Absent for months, more than 360 species of migratory songbirds, known...

Arbor day rooted in our appreciation of trees

"Each generation takes the earth as trustees. We ought to bequeath to posterity as many forests and orchards as we have exhausted and consumed." These were the words of J. Sterling Morton, an editor of Nebraska's first newspaper, who in 1872...

Atlantic sturgeon - giants of the East Coast

Along the Atlantic coast, from Canada to Florida, a prehistoric creature still exists. The Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxirinchus) is a primitive fish that has been around since dinosaurs roamed the Earth, approximately 150 million years...

Two swans, two different stories for the Bay

Two species of swans - tundra and mute - winter on the Chesapeake Bay. But only the tundra swan, formerly known as the whistling swan, is native to North American. Tundra swans are large white birds, weighing an average of 14 to 16 pounds,...

Parasitic plant's popularity rooted in myths, legends

I went hunting once. It was early December, more than 10 years ago, when I went with a friend to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We had permission from a local farmer to comb his property for our quarry. Armed with only a BB gun (or maybe it...

Fall migrations fill Chesapeake skies

Birds are the nomads of the animal world, ceaselessly traveling with the change in seasons. It must be their burden to carry in exchange for the gift of flight. Though some birds can remain in one area throughout the year, most are condemned...

Sharks and Rays

Eight exhausted teenagers doze in the shade on Jefferson Island, part of the Poplar Island chain. Working for the Youth Conservation Corps, their mission that day was to stabilize an eroding shoreline. Shovel by shovel, they unloaded a barge...

Submerged aquatic vegetation – barometer for the Bay

Finally, after a long, cold winter, the landscape is beginning to change as leaves appear and flowers bloom. This is not an exclusively terrestrial event. In the shallow water of Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries, underwater grasses are...

Chesapeake spring once marked by bountiful herring

Forcenturies, fishermen lined the banks of rivers and streams throughout the Bay watershed, dipnetting for alewife and blueback herring as the fish made their spring spawning runs. Once so abundant, the fish were often referred to as glut...

Serenades from the woods

There is an explosion of activity happening in tiny wetlands throughout the watershed. Species are gathering to attract their mates and breed. Most of us won't notice the event because of the players and their stage. The breeders are...

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