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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

Thursday 11/20/2008 The Suncook Rivers is wearing the cloaks of winter.

It's a cold one out there this morning. The thermometer is hovering in the low 20's and a good wind is rocking the leafless tree branches out my home office window. Winter has arrived this week with an arctic blast from the north. I guess Old Man winter is exhaling this week. Even my house just shuttered with a sudden surge of wind. And how the Suncook River has taken on the looks of winter. No the river itself is not frozen, but there is a rim of bright white ice along the very edge. The Suncook could appear in one of those "Got Milk" commercials this morning with the froth on the lip of the river. But the back channel eddy out into the area I call the meadow is now frozen over. The sun dappled river looks cold and dead compared to its summer look. Even the bright blue sky is reflected as more of a grayish color on the river's surface. But the water is running gin clear on the frigid morning and I can even look into the water to the bottom of the river in one sunny spot. Its unusual to be able to look down into the river's depths from my perch. Most of the year the water is colored or since the river changed course it is full of sand and silt. But today it is clear and the sun is shining just right to give me an in-depth look.

However, missing from that spot is the usual winter supply of tree limbs stored by the bank beaver. There has been a beaver den burrowed into the peninsula where the small tributary forms the meadow for every one of the last 29 winters I have watched the river. But the beaver family is gone this winter. I have enjoyed watching the generations of this family for nearly three decades. Two years ago during the Great Mother's Day Flood I watched a lone beaver slumped over in the middle of the corn field for a week as its den had been flooded out. I think the devastating floods of the last three years, two 100 year spring floods in 06 and 07 and the one in October of 05 have contributed to a decline in this beaver colony. I think climate change is having much more of a long term impact on fish and wildlife that what would first seem logical during the events. Lets face it, wildlife is always just on the edge of surviving even in the best of times here in the northern climates. Three or now four 100 year floods in the last three years I think is taking its toll. It may take a while for the resilience of the wildlife to rebound. My missing beaver family is just one sign of a changing environment thanks to climate change.

But it is deer season and this is the last day of the any-deer season around my house that I can hunt as I will be tied up all day tomorrow, the last day. But I have been around deer this last week or two. A muzzle loader that would not fire as a nice 6-point buck stood 20 paces away broadside and a fogged scope while hunting in a drizzle as a nice fork horn walked up to me the other day has me eating track soup again. My life-long friend Rick did call me Monday afternoon as I was headed back from Concord to come and help him drag his nice buck out of the woods in town. But I'll be out there this afternoon for sure once I get some work done. Maybe, just maybe this wind is what I need to get a jump on the deer today.


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

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2008-12-04 Yo yo weather, temperatures and water levels in the Suncook River

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