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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
nhfishandwildlif@aol.com

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Thursday 10/04/2007 Where's fall? It's still summer in NH.

Yesterday was the opening day of the NH duck season. My friend Rick joined me for the first time in a decade. It was pretty warm even in the hour before sunrise as we walked the few hundred yards into the edge of a beaver swamp. I had dressed pretty lightly for an opening day of duck season and had left my gear open to the breeze as we walked in. Yet as I waited the last few minutes before legal shooting time at 6:15 am I found myself awash in sweat. And so it went for the rest of the morning as Rick and I stopped at several wetlands in town to walk their edges to try to move some ducks. By 10 or 11 the sun was out from behind a layer of clouds and it grew hotter by the minute. This was not the type of opening day I remember from my youth when adding a layer was more likely to happen. And today is expected to reach into the 80's around here again. No frost and really no cold snap so far this fall. It sure does make for some hot trudging around the fields and woods let alone wading along a muddy swamp's edge.

All the ponds we hiked into were either very low, and in a couple of cases, bone dry from the long period of drought we have had. Although I must say the fields and woods are still very green and lush. Every where I go I can hear the pitter patter of acorns ricocheting through the trees and thudding to the ground. In fact yesterday morning in the darkness before legal shooting time I could hear them plop into the beaver pond interrupting the high pitched wheezing calls of some female wood ducks enjoying the fine table fare from above. I did manage to bag a nice drake woodie mid morning at one of our stops.

As I sat a pond's edge at one pond a sole monarch butterfly drifted over the pond gaining altitude as it swept towards the forest and climbed high in the sky. It had quite a climb as a 1200 foot mountain also stood in its path. Yes monarchs are still drifting through this part of New Hampshire. Although I was down on the coast for probably my last striper fishing day of the year. We did find some breaking schools in the river. But I didn't see a single monarch over the river in Portsmouth. Grasshoppers and crickets are still abundant everywhere.

How the rivers and streams have dried up though. Except for the major rivers like the Suncook there is hardly a trickle of water. Most years by now we would have had at least a remnant of a hurricane or tropical storm to refill our beaver ponds and brooks. Looks like we are heading into another very dry winter season.


   

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