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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
nhfishandwildlif@aol.com

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Saturday 01/27/2007 Got Ducks? Looking at the bottom side of zero!

Yeehaaa. Here we go into a great temperature plunge. Sliding to the bottom side of zero is bad enough, but the wind has been howling as well. I've been keeping my outside time down in these conditions.

I spent several days this week on my annual inland waterfowl census. There seems to be kind of line drawn at the Manchester line. Above Manchester the ground is covered with a hard icy crust and all the ponds and even the rivers are buttoned up with ice. In Hooksett for instance my duck count was up compared to the open winter last January. South of Manchester the worst of winter had not set in by Friday. My counts were down. In fact the bare ground at the Rockingham Raceway in Salem was inviting to 300 geese who were happily grazing on the now brown acres of lawn in the infield. Same goes over towards the coast from there, with fewer numbers of mallards in Derry and on over to Lee and Epping. I have found mallards sitting at the back door of business waiting to be fed. Such is the arrival of real winter. When the going gets tough, the mallards move into town and right up to someone's back steps.

But this plunge in temperatures is just what we needed for some great ice conditions. I found myself checking the Winni web cams the other evening. Ice seemed to abound on the big lake now. Not something I would have bet on a couple weeks ago. It's amazing how quickly things can turn around here in New Hampshire.

No doubt this sub zero weather has sent most things into their winter slumber this week. The skunks, raccoons and chipmunks scurrying about mid winter just a couple of weeks ago are history now. Back to a "normal" winter although it took an Alberta Clipper to do it. The forecast is for more of the same for at least a couple of weeks. This will be great news for the Winni Derby folks.

My bird feeder has sprung to life this bone chilling week. Friday afternoon an American finch looked pretty well beat from the cold. He hardly flew when I approached him. A little later he had taken shelter in my garage in the sun and out of the wind. The blustery frigid Friday night had me worried about him. No doubt this Arctic blast will kill off some of the weaker wild critters. Mother Nature spares no weakling. There are no special needs critters in her book.


   

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2007-01-23 The dead of winter sends my mind to far away places.

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2007-02-07 A deep freeze and a disappearing deer.

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