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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 04/12/2007 Spring is on hold as winter returns and weird skeleton.

Well I certainly don't want any credit for this lousy spring, but I can take partial credit for a nice picture taken by a local weekly newspaper reporter of a moose skeleton I placed in an old dead pine tree in Bear Brook State Park.
First the weather: Cold snowy, colder and no matter how high and warm the sun, it has been cloudy and unusually cold. In fact it has been running 10 to 20 degrees BELOW normal for this time of year. Not a peepers peep, a wood frogs quack or a slippery salamander have I seen or heard. We are going on 2 weeks past when this often occurs. And we have 10 inches of snow predicted for today, possibly more for Sunday and another likely snow later next week.

My bird feeder has been overflowing with a mixed flock of common grackles and red winged blackbirds. I have never had this before. I'm sure the birds are stressed.

Just Tuesday the corn field down below in the meadow had much of it's snow cover when I left for work in the morning and had melted mostly bare by my return under a sunny sky. Yesterday nearly all the snow in the open was gone. But I took a hike into a pine and hemlock stand from 5 to 6 PM in preparation for a talk I'm giving on Saturday. It was winter-like in the woods. I left my light jacket in my truck as it was warm in the sun when I headed into the woods and soon realized I had made a mistake as the woods was 20 degrees colder. Except for the distant babble of Sanders Brook, the woods were silent. So silent for mid April.

Now the skeleton: I often walk my dog into Bear Brook State Park not far from where I live and frequently with my friend Rick and his shorthair. Last fall a cow moose was dumped in an area we call "the bone yard" as I have dumped a number of road killed animals there over the years as have the local conservation officers. One of them had dumped the moose late last fall and we got to watch it being devoured by the local critters into the winter. This left a very nice moose skeleton. It had a dinosaur-like appearance to it. Rick and I decided it would actually be more weird if we stranded it in an old dead pine tree laying nearby. I figured one of the neighbors who walked there frequently would have a comment. But just this week pictures of this moose were sent to Fish and Game to identify. And there was my artistic moose. It just may make the local weekly paper I think. It is very majestic even in death it seems.


   

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