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 10/04/2004 My return to Little Cohas Marsh Londonderry where the swamp maples have all turned red and orange.
Friday I spent the day in the Fish and Game Department's exhibit at the Deerfield Fair with Conservation Officer Randy Hillsgrove. I like to work the fairs from year to year as familiar faces tend to stream by with moments of talk with old friends. But one fair goer gave me a quizzical stare and asked me if I could remember him. It was the voice that queued me, although I could not put a name immediately to the face. It has been 36 years since I had last seen my high school chemistry teacher Al Saulner from Londonderry. I was pleasantly surprised that he remembered me although he I'm sure cheated by reading my name tag. He did proclaim to have followed my career somewhat through the news. In any case I was pleased to meet someone from high school. As I remember he was fresh out of college and not much older than me when he was my teacher.
The strangest and most fun conversation was with an elderly fellow from NH who has a camp on a lake in Maine. He confessed to me that a couple of years ago he wanted to go fishing badly but the boat remained in the boathouse a distance from the water and he just couldn't muster the power to launch it. He did however notice the rather plentiful population of chipmunks scurrying around on the lawn between his camp and the lake. So as any avid fishermen would do he started "chipmunk fishing." Mind you he has not harmed a single one. In fact, like all true conservationist, he has not had any "keepers." He simply ties a peanut to his fish line, sans hook, and fishes endless hours for the scampering furry fish! He says they put up quite a battle. Now his whole family have taken up "chipmunk fishing." I bought my first bag of peanuts Sunday and have been scouting my stone walls since. I have my eye on a lunker who has been feasting on my pears. Looks like I may need to respool for him! And the gray squirrels have me absolutely drooling. I may have to risk a cast over the high tension wires across the road to fight "the big one."
I got called by a Conservation Officer yesterday afternoon as I was headed to Concord shopping about an adult cow moose "trapped" in a fenced in area in Seabrook next to I-95. There was great concern that she may blunder on to the highway at any moment. It was an hour before I could get the moose trailer and the gear at the Region 3 office in Durham and head out. Just then the CO called to say the moose had escaped and luckily had not headed on to the now bumper to bumper traffic but had escaped Eastward into the salt marshes.
Today I ended up heading south and passed through Londonderry and checked Little Cohas Marsh. There has been an ongoing problem with the dam and water level. I did walk the edge of the marsh and stopped at my favorite place. A spot where a tree on the shore has held the remains of an "observation platform" I erected there in 1964. Wow, four decades ago.You see this swamp was only a half mile or so from my backdoor through two fields and two woodlots. I managed to lug enough material from my house to build a platform 20 feet or so high in a white pine tree. One lone two by four had remained as evidence of that day and was still in the tree until I found it on the ground today. It was wedged into the red maple that has grown in partner with the pine. A beaver lodge has been built the last couple of years here as well. A bank beaver called this place home for most of the last four decades. I may have to nail it back up there one of these days.
From my perch high in the tree I spent countless hours watching the marsh. Learning to identify ducks, saw otters skulking by and even tried duck hunting from my lofty perch once or twice. The view of the marsh was just as magical today. I flushed a pair of wood ducks as I moved along the shore. Last year I spotted a smooth green grass snake nearby. It is within a hundred yards or so of where I killed my first grouse with an unbelievable wing shot and heard it thump and flutter in the fall leaves. It is a place I am always drawn to as a compass needle is to north.
2004-10-01 Pheasants galore and more.
2004-10-11 Full fall splender in Epsom.
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