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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Wednesday 07/21/2004 Back on the roller coaster ride of weather.

Last week, for most of the week, we had cool rainy days with the temperature barely hitting 70 degrees. This week it is a heat wave pushing toward 90 degrees each day. Still the plentiful rains of this year seem to have all of NH in the lush green mantel of spring and not the look of scorched grass usually seen by August. My swim in the Suncook River last Sunday sure felt more spring-like than summer-like as the water was very chilly. I still have not heard the buzz of a cicada. Even the bullfrog has quieted in the meadow below the house.

I spent much of the day yesterday at the Fish and Game headquarters building in Concord. When I left late in the afternoon I noticed numbers of juvenile toads scampering across the walkway that were not there when I arrived in the morning. So yesterday was the day that the baby toads arrived on the plateau a couple hundred feet above the Merrimack River where they started their assent a few days before.

I grabbed a sandwich and had my lunch out next to the Karner Blue butterfly refuge. It started with a sweltering stay in my vehicle as the skies opened for a few minutes for the third or fourth time between bursts of sunshine. Yet even here, where I took a few minutes for a walk, the vegetation remained unusually green for a mid-summers day in a pitch pine forest. While walking I lifted a few scattered clumps of debris hoping to see a snake. I was really hoping to see a very rare eastern hognosed snake, but no luck on any sightings.

A mile south of this refuge where the Soucook River empties into the Merrimack a huge warehouse is planned by a major grocery chain as a distribution center. I have known the site since the early 1970s when I occasionally hunted there while living in Allenstown. There have been two documented reports of the hognosed snake, one by me. This is the most northerly range of this very rare snake that I am aware of. Too bad as this will likely wipe out any chance of the snakes survival in one of the last large tracts of land it is known to occur in. The other area, under even more of a threat, is the 1,400 acres south of the Manchester Airport. Here too I had documented several sightings. This was right in the neighborhood that I grew up in during the 1960s in Londonderry.

It is so ironic to me that several hundred thousand dollars has been spent to try to restore the extirpated Karner Blue butterfly and there is no consideration to PREVENT the extirpation of another, not so glamorous species, a snake One that is just as rare locally, though not a federally listed species. Guess they have to be nearly gone before they are worth any effort to save.

Then because of the pittance of Karner Blue habitat left for the butterfly, they are kept barely in existence with a lot of dollars. Makes no cents to me.


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2004-07-18 The Toad Invasion Has Started.

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2004-07-23 Watching Katie my 7 month old grand daughter today.

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