New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
Gee seems like we haven't even had a February thaw let alone none in January. The storm over Sunday night left me shoveling about 3 inches of slush around. Not too bad I figured and I hear much more of it was rain not far south of here.
How different just a few miles can be. When I still worked at the Fish and Game Region 3 office in Durham I would drive from winter to spring all the time starting about now. I can't tell you how many times as I traveled route 4 that the winter/spring cut off was Northwood Ridge. East of there would be rain but as soon as I topped the hill on the way home it would turn into snow. Just the elevation change of coming up that couple of miles of hills would change. The upward slope begins at the base of the hill around route 152 and be transformed by the time I crested the hill just west of the Northwood school. Or if it was a bit wintry still in Durham a 15 minute trek east towards Portsmouth would turn into a spring journey. So too headed south especially once you hit Manchester. For a couple weeks or more it will be spring like in Londonderry and still winter like here in Epsom. I always heard spring peepers there at least two weeks sooner.
Although there are holes here and there in the running water waters, I haven't seen a duck yet. I don't know how they actually figure out, and somehow "know" when the real spring is here. But most years March will be that grand transition from winter to spring. March is just three days away. Come on March! I'll probably head a bit east in a day or two to check if spring has arrived that way yet and maybe swing south on my return trip to check there as well. If only I could tell those ducks, and redwings, and robins and woodchucks that spring has arrived maybe I could push it along a little.
But for now here looking out my home office window it is winter as far as my eyes can scan. Not one spot of brown to be seen. Not even any black looking ice on the Suncook River that would soon give way to an open spot that is sure to be scouted by a drake hooded merganser.
Old Sol is winning!
Downwind and dirty; living in the shadow of a coal fired power plant stack.