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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 10/29/2008 The smell of snow is in the air today and October woods are looking like winter woods

Oh the smell of snow is in the air. Today is hovering just above freezing with overcast skies and a good breeze. It smells like it will snow today. I remember distinctly my first sense of having the smell and feeling that it would snow. It was the fall of 1957 and my family lived in northern Maine in the town of Easton on the Canadian border. I was on my way home from second grade right in front of a cooperage. That's a place that made wooded barrels for the potato farmers. I got a sense that it would soon snow, long before watching any thing like a forecast on TV. I'm not sure we even had a TV then, nor were there any stations within reach as I recall. By the time I had walked the mile or so back to our apartment it was indeed snowing. It was September, not long after school had started. Today the sky and the wind brought me back to that moment like it was yesterday, not some 51 years ago.

The woods were nearly leafless today for much of my way as I hunted birds with my shorthair Koko. I stopped at brooks edge to admire the scene and get my camera out of my pocket to capture the moment. Wouldn't you know it, just as I took the picture I looked across the brook to see my dog on point and moments later the bird flushed and was gone. It was the only bird of our hour or so hunt today. I wish that bird well.

The brook was too full for me to cross today, though this is not the usual for a fall's hunt and the missing snow machine bridge up the brook kept me from crossing to the best woodcock cover in the area. Still I have flushed numbers of grouse and woodcock at brooks edge over the years on this side, so even the lesser of covers has produced in the past. I did walk right up to a fairly fresh buck scrap. I grinned a bit as I have two tree stands already set up within an easy stroll of this buck. So it really was a bird hunt/deer scouting kind of a hike.

And how this brook has change the last couple of years. The local snowmobile club has maintained a bridge over this normally trickling brook for at least the three decades I have lived in town. For two years in a row now these bridges have been washed out by spring deluges. In fact for two years in a row the town road a quarter mile downstream has been washed out as well. For me another sure sign that our weather is out of whack compared to the other close to three decades I have lived here. Even the woodcock have changed their fall migration pattern to the changes in climate. The peak of the fall woodcock migration used to be mid October into the third week. Now it is late October into November. In fact a couple years ago this state's hunters demanded and received an adjustment in the woodcock season to accommodate this shifted migration pattern. That is what put me out this late October morning to try to catch a flight in. No such luck today though.


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2008-10-24 Undressing the Suncook River, getting ready for winter

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2008-11-06 Frogs and me up a tree and deer season reflections.

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