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 04/22/2008 Winter to summer in a week; Beer drinkers are good conservationists.
Wow oh wow what a week it has been. Two weeks ago I had a foot or more of snow covering my yard and it looked like it was here to stay. Even a week ago a jacket was in order to spend much time outside especially in the evening. How quickly things have changed. Peeper and wood frog choruses fill the night air. My snow is gone save for one foot square pile on the north side of my house left from when I shoveled it off my roof. Ice is gone from the local ponds. Since late last week temperatures have been in the 70's with some 80's showing on my thermometer on my deck. In just a week time we have gone from a winter's feel to a summer-like condition just about every day.
And we are going on two weeks without any rain. The poor spotted salamanders are being held up from their big move. Without a doubt the next rainy night will be the big night. Now the salamanders are actually in a race with time. They need to get to the vernal pools to spawn and get their young mature enough to survive when the ponds dry out. If this drought continues they will be in the race of their life. Sure the vernal pools are brimming with water right now from all the snow melt, but with conditions like these that water is going to disappear pretty quickly. This is very late in the spring for the salamanders to be just now, or soon, headed to spawn. We need an overnight rain really badly right now. I'll be keeping my bedroom window open to make sure I hear that first dribble of rain if it occurs overnight so I can get up and do my salamander census.
I headed out late yesterday afternoon for some fishing on a local pond. My first attempt to register and load my boat into my truck for a trip to Londonderry to fish was for naught a little over a week ago. I saw on the news the night before that Canobie Lake was ice free. So I figured little Scobie Pond in Londonderry would be ice free too. So I anxiously got my gear ready and even had to stop on the way at Wal Mart in Hooksett to buy a new electric motor as the two I had in my garage wouldn't work. I excitedly drove to Scobie only to find it still iced over. So there I was yesterday headed out with my boat again with the thermometer reading 80 degrees on my deck. And little Deermeadow Pond WAS ice free when I arrived. On my third cast of the season I hooked into a big fat three pound plus largemouth bass. Oh how sweet it was! I did manage to land a couple nice pickerel as well. It was gorgeous putting around the pond in shorts and a t-shirt. How the turtles clung to the logs and didn't even drop into the pond as I glided by. Usually these turtles would be flinging themselves into the water at my approach. But not so yesterday. They were gleaning every ray from the sun that they could. Just like me.
Going on three or four years now I have maintained a trailer at Webster Park in town. I collect aluminum cans and turn them in for cash which I donate to the Friends of the Suncook River. I have been recycling about a ton and a half of cans per year netting about $1,500 a year. One conclusion strikes me over and over from this process...Beer drinkers are great conservationists. In fact I did a tally of the cans in a couple of spots in the trailer yesterday as I shoveled them back to make room for more. Beer cans make up three quarters of the cans. They are always far more numerous than the soda cans. I can't help but wonder why the youth of today is not into recycling. Something is wrong with this picture.
2008-04-16 A sole spotted salamander and wood frogs quaking in Concord.
2008-05-01 May Day 08, Of salamanders, frogs and a bucket of wood frog tadpoles.
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