New Hampshire Wildlife News
by Certified Wildlife Biologist, Eric P. Orff

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

Sweet, sweet spring sounds, sights and smells and special moments.

Friday 04/10/2009

I'm so in love with spring and all the magical moments it provides. Sounds, sights and smells are springing from the earth moment by moment. And some are so precious.

This past week I did get out for a couple of trips on my salamander census route. Friday night was probably the BIG night here although I got out a bit late to check. It was closer to 10 on the way home from going out to dinner with my wife and friends that we drove the 3-mile route. Only 1 live one crossing the road near the end of the run but there were also 3 dead ones. I believe they had run just at dark and hour or two before I could get there.

Spring peepers are at full chorus here and about and the din of the quacking wood frogs is a background sound if you stop to cup your ears and listen. I need to be pretty close and be cupping my ears to hear them well. One of my several days a week hike takes me through the woods up a hill before I hit a corner of Bear Brook State Park. At the plateau of one of the hills is a shrub covered pool that this week had wood frogs at full chorus in the mid afternoon. I lolled there for a moment in the spring sun soaking in the warmth and the sounds. At the height of land of this hike I can gaze south over much of the ten thousand acre Park. Each time I am thankful for those who have set aside this huge green patch of earth so close to Manchester and Concord. I am so lucky to have it as a close neighbor. I have flown over this park a number of times and have marveled from on high at this huge expanse of unbroken green.

I am amazed at how fast the field across the way from my house has changed in the last week or ten days. I frequently gaze out across the road at the field when I arise in the morning. I have watched the snow retreat north to south across this field day by day with a time lapse of sights within my head. The shaded southern tip has kept a white fringe of snow way past the open field. And in just three or four days the brown field has turned green! What a quick recovery from a sleepy winter.

I am seeing turkeys and deer almost daily in the greening up fields all around. Tree bids are swelling almost hour by hour it seem. Fresh life is just springing into view at every turn of the head. The 3 inches of rain forecast for the weekend turned into half that amount. So much snow had already melted in the cool days and nights that the Suncook River pretty much just rose to full banking and for the second year in a row we seemed to have dodged the spring hundred-year flood that had been the norm the previous 2 years. Though the corn field in the meadow below my house was about a third under water. The view out my back windows of the meadow along the edge of the river and the corn field is still all brown with bare earth and dead sedges compared to the view of a sea of green out my front windows. It will be a month before the corn is in and shading the field green

I am so lucky to have 2 beautiful grand daughters to share this spring. Magical moments for me and I hope memories for them. Erin, almost 3, and we are working to get those three fingers straightened out to show, is fearless outside. Although inside moments have been just a precious as one of her things is to get the book "How Do You Make a Rainbow" out and sit in my lap as we read it time and time again with her giggles filling my heart with joy. Yesterday morning as I was watching her and 5 year old sister Katie we could hear the wood frogs quacking in the vernal pool 60 yards out in the woods from their back deck. With frog boots on Erin and pink ones on Katie, she is such a lady, we were quickly sneaking along the ponds edge. Katie had brought "the net". Of coarse by the time we were at ponds edge the frogs were silent and we could see them diving for cover towards the middle of the pond. But we did scoop one right off. As soon as I got it out of the water Erin thrust her tiny hand into the net to grab the frog. A little coaching had her holding it perfectly. "Don't squeeze her to tight, but hold on good" I was excitedly saying. How quickly I was turned into a two year old with excitement as well it seemed. Katie soon took control of the frog and declared it her's. And it was a bit of a hunt to secure one for Erin. The frogs were brought inside in a bucket to be watched, talked to and guarded like precious gems for the balance of the afternoon. I got word that they were back in the pond by dinner time. Respecting wildlife means putting it back where it belongs. They have so much to learn from me.

Last evening I was down on the very edge of the Suncook River with my friend Rick. We had a fire on his deck and enjoyed the evenings sights and sounds. Skyward satellites marched across the heavens south to north right up over the river directly overhead. The rising moon was shading the sky into a silver glow. A chorus of wood frogs lent the background sound for our conversation as we shifted around the fire's tongue sporadically feeding it stick by stick savoring the sounds, the smells, the sights and 47 years of friendship.

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It's Raining frogs and toads and salamanders.

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Its just ducky here

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