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

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

Rain, rain go away rewinding back into spring

Tuesday 06/23/2009

The cold rainy weather has put summer on hold. While during the month of May we were running ahead of the usual by about 2 weeks the cold temperatures of the last two weeks has put things on hold. It has rained with temperatures running 10 degrees below average for 18 of the 22 days of the month so far. It seems like we are frozen in a time warp. It is supposed to break a bit by weeks end.

My garden has kind of slowed up but is looking pretty good. My peas are in blossom finally. And there are few bugs. My potatoes are free of the hordes of usual Japanese beetles. I don't know what is up with that this year. Maybe the cool damp weather has lots of insects on hold. This would not be a good thing for the birds. And just the copious rain will no doubt kill off lots of birds in the nest this year and may impact the grouse and turkey broods to boot. Long periods of cold wet conditions take their toll on this state's wildlife. In fact I haven't seen a turkey brood yet. I have seen several lone hens. But I am getting some reports of turkey broods seen by others. And my "rabbit" sighting up the road has turned out to be a juvenile snowshoe hare. I did get a better look and the ears were too big for a cottontail rabbit. Plus it had a few white hairs on the forehead between the eyes which also marks a juvenile hare.

I did get out for a 4 1/2 hour kayak trip on the Merrimack River on Saturday. I was helping to lead a group of 15 kayakers and a canoe for the AMC folks locally. We put in at the Everett Arena in Concord and took out 4 miles below south of the Bow Power Plant. I was worried about the Garvins Falls Dam and folks getting too close before portaging around. Some of the folks had never kayaked before and had trouble maneuvering their boats. In fact the Merrimack was flowing high and water was pouring oover the dam but we all got to shore fine and actually put in at a fast water stretch to make the trip a bit more interesting. It was the sunniest and warmest day of the week. You can't beat good luck. It is amazing how remote and wild the Merrimack seems for long sections of this part of the river despite actually being in Concord. All in all a good trip but I must say I was a little sore from the 4 hours of paddling.

Here at home the river is up but not in flood stage. I did rescue a poor toad from one of my window wells. I try to check them often this time of year but actually had not since the plastic covers from the winter were still on them until recently. But this poor toad was pretty dehydrated when I took her out and kind of in a trance. No doubt shut down due to the lack of food and water. So I dropped her in my rain barrel. Poof she swelled up with water like a sponge in just a minute or two and immediately sprang to life. It was amazing to watch. Now the toads have actually been trilling some more down back so I sent her on her way hoping that she could still spawn for the year. But the tree frogs are still sporadic at best. Mostly a few in the trees around the house and no serious calling from the wetland below. And no green or bull frogs yet. Maybe the heat of later this week will kick things off. I am hoping for a return to "normal".

Well I'm off to my camp in Maine alone for a few days. Seems like I have been stuck in a lull lately and I need to break the spell by getting up to camp for a change. I'll bring my rain gear as we are actually in a nor'ester right now and I think it may be even more damper down east. Still I have lots of reading material and the sound of rain on the camp roof is a wonderful thing. Now if the road is not too flooded.........

Previous Note

Chilling out after a long dry spell.

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Rain, rain go away. And don't come back any day soon.

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