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
Tuesday 04/03/2007 Of snow geese and more snow expected.
Apparently we are in for at least a covering of a few inches of snow tomorrow night. But we STILL have some left, or at least left over piles. Winter seems to be holding on. All this week has been dreary cold wet weather. And not a peep from a spring peeper to be heard. At least lots of birds are in full song and robins dot the landscape. But the amphibs are not out yet and the cold week seems to be keeping them at bay. I'm ready for "The Night" for salamanders, but apparently they are not. But within a week or so if we get a spike in temperatures and a rainy night, it should be a green light for them. Some of the smaller sunny ponds are ice free, but my sense is the vernal pools remain mostly ice covered.
The last real nice days were Saturday and Sunday. My long-time friend and neighbor Rick Hamlett and daughter Kasey stopped by with a fresh container of worms and were headed down to Bear Brook for a little late afternoon fishing. I couldn't refuse the offer to join them. It sure felt like spring and smelled like it too. The fish, not even a "yeayo" perch as Kasey at age 3, now 10, called them. How time seems to slip by as did the afternoon. Sunday I shot up to the Opeechee Dam in Laconia and got in a little over an hours worth of salmon fishing late afternoon with similar results. Tons of folks dotted the shore.
Yesterday as I came home from a stop at the Fish and Game HQ I was nearly startled by a farm pasture nearby covered with white birds. I eased to the side of the road in disbelief as there was a flock of 100 snow geese, with numbers of blues mixed in, right here in Epsom. This is the first flock of snow geese I have ever seen on the ground in NH. About 6 years ago while fishing for tuna with a friend way beyond the Isle of Shoals in late September flocks by the dozens were flying over heading south. But birds on the ground, especially this huge flock, was a sight to see. I called my friend Rick to swing by on his way home from work, and he managed to see them too, a short time later.
Last evening we had a fire in his fire pit by his house to gab a while. As we stood near the fire in the cold damp night around 9:30 apparently this flock of snows was in the air right over the Suncook River headed south down river. We scanned the dark sky looking up into the misty drizzle air that dampened out faces. But it was the sound of the cackling snows that poured into our ears. Neither of us had ever heard a flock this close before. How they were flying and navigating in the thick night air is beyond me. My guess is they had had their fill of grazing in the pasture and were headed down river to spend the night on the much larger Merrimack River.
Today was the annual "Piping Plover Day" down in Hampton and Seabrook Beaches. We had a crew of over a dozen who made light work, well actually they did most of the heavy work. As usual, I was the gopher, making runs with my ATV and trailer to the pickups to bring out the dozens of posts, rope and signs needed to fence-off a half mile of the beaches where the plovers are likely to nest. It always is a grand day of charging headlong at the very edge of the surf with the ATV. On some of my runs I can't help by play with the edge of the sea as it rushes in and out of the beach just feet away from our work. At rush it did as the stormy weather had the surf pounding. A glorious day. We always top the day off by a gathering to warm up over lunch at a seafood restaurant. These are memorable days of work. Great rewarding work, fine folks to work with, and topped off with a bowl of piping hot clam chowder to bring feeling back into your fingers.
2007-03-30 Deer, ducks, geese, gobblers and more. How sweet it is!
2007-04-12 Spring is on hold as winter returns and weird skeleton.
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