Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally
ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer -
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff
Monday 10/16/2006 The Wooly Bear stampede is on! And our first couple of hard frosts.
Have you noticed the mass migration, almost a stampede, of wooly bear caterpillars the last couple of weeks? These caterpillars are the larval stage of the Isabella tiger moth. They are common throughout North America. The width of the black band is said to foretell the length of the coming winter. I have been seeing dozens the last couple of weeks, especially while traveling during my pheasant stocking. I've even seen some crossing Route 101 in the Candia/Raymond/Brentwood section. Even clipping along at 65 mph I can spot, and hopefully straddle them on the busy 4-lane highway. Most I have spotted were in the right lane and headed for the ditch. I can't help but wonder if they have already crossed the other two lanes on the other barrel of the highway. They are most active in October around this part of NH as they head for a great place to hibernate the winter. They can actually freeze for months and wake up by May, eat a bit, then spin a cocoon to then emerge as the tiger moth.
I'm still seeing the occasional monarch butterfly winging their way south. We have had three nights of hard frosts since last Thursday night or so. Boy has it caused the leaves to fall from the heavens. Red maples have been standing stark naked against a perfectly dark blue cloudless sky the last several days. Many of the aspens, birches and even sugar maples are holding on to their regal looks thankfully.
Many of the local ducks seemed to have taken the cue to head south it seems. Although I have not witnessed much of formations of high flying geese. Much of the sky has been drained of its life the last week or two, save for the few fluttering monarchs.
The Suncook River looks so quiet and peaceful in the slanted early morning sunlight.Oh how her personality changes with the seasons. And what a year, going back to last October, it has been to be a "river watcher". The Suncook River has ebbed and flooded more like a tidal river with months between tide changes. The river is such a dynamic partner of our community. Above are some photos of the May flood, the subsided summer river and the tranquil fall neighbor.
2006-10-11 The Suncook River is ablaze with color as are the hill sides.
2006-10-24 Naked New Hampshire
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