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
Friday 02/16/2018 Is today spring?
Talk about some flip flopping from Old Man Winter this year. Seems like every winter storm we had had since December has been followed by some spring like temperatures that have quickly melted the worst of winter away. I think our storm of maybe five inches of snow here at my house in Epsom is pretty well completely gone by today. All of the nearby fields are nearly bare again. Even the Suncook River running in back of my house has completely melted open within the last few days. In fact two afternoons ago I watched the last of the ice still covering the 90 degree bend below my house simply vanish in just over an hour.
The Merrimack River in Concord melted completely open this week as well. In my drive by these open waters one thing does stick out. The lack of ducks. So they have not been tricked into thinking that spring is here. Other years when I have watched the Suncook River melt open in late March it was only minutes or a couple of hours before I spotted a duck checking out the newly opened water. So I guess it would be best to think more like our ducks and not be fooled by this spring looking day.
Turkeys galore around here this winter. Luckily the local Yeaton farm in Epsom was kind enough to drop some big manure piles in the fields around here. What a difference they make for our turkeys when we do have snow. Many is the day this winter after one of our snow storms that I see the turkeys flocking to the local manure piles while their other foods are buried. I have had the occasional turkey stop by my bird feeder and the cracked and whole corn I generously sprinkle on the ground. That all changed in the last couple of weeks with up to a dozen turkeys stopping by for a snack. Four toms are here most mornings. So I toss out an extra bucket of mixed corn each day.
I can't help but think it has been a pretty good winter for our deer and other wildlife. We had a pretty good acorn crop last fall to boot and the melting snow has allowed most critters a good chance to find them this winter.
Right on cue I smelled my first skunk of the year on Valentines Day. And I have seen two dead and one live raccoon in my travels this week another sign of our warming trend.
Last weekend's ice fishing on Bow Lake was a bit slow but we had about 16 inches of ice. So it looks like ice fishing has a ways to go this winter. Next weeks temperatures are expected to get into the high 50's with maybe a dusting of snow Saturday night, So a week from now it should feel and look even more like spring. No doubt Mr. winter has another blow or two to throw at us before real spring. However Mr. Sun is climbing higher by the day and pushing back against what Mr. Winter throws at us.
I'm not betting on an early spring yet.
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