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

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

A once in a lifetime find of a baby spotted salamander and camp life is so sweet.

Wednesday 09/09/2009

I headed up to my camp in Maine for the long holiday weekend. We had perfect weather and a great family gathering at our tiny camp tucked away on a Downeast lake. We arrived in camp Thursday evening for the long holiday weekend. The deluge of the fourth of July was but a distant memory as the lake was back down to its normal summer level and the cool nights of the past week have already started to drop the water temperature as well. My son, daughter, her husband and two girls and my Mom, sister and one of her grandsons were all up for the holiday. There were ten of us at our little spot of heaven. We were the only power boat to venture on to the lake for the whole extended weekend but a couple of canoes and kayaks did go by in the distance. Our local bald eagles, loons and ospreys were casting about the lake fishing as were we. And the fishing was great. In fact my son and I had probably the best afternoon ever of bass fishing on the lake reeling in one after another Saturday afternoon. All largemouth bass but everyone jumped like smallmouth bass usually do. Juvenile river herring, I think, were headed out of the lake in the mouth of the outlet to the lake and the bass were after them. We managed to get in on the afternoon feeding frenzy. Of coarse I missed the granddaddy of bass as it leaped a good two feet out of the water and spat my plug right back at me in a thunderous splash.

Now I did find what I thought to be a find of a lifetime. Under a plank we had laid down during the rainy July visit I found an adult yellow spotted salamander but right next to it was a juvenile spotted salamander about two inches long. I have never seen a juvenile spotted. I have seen hundreds of adults. The next morning my son found another under a log on the shore. Now juvenile spotted salamanders spend years underground until they reach maturity at I would guess to be 4 or 5 years old. But low and behold here were these two young of the year I would guess to say.

We had a fire in our pit each evening until bed time and were serenaded by a local bullfrog. Saturday afternoon my son and I managed to catch that big old bullfrog as he dashed out from under our boat as I was headed out and as he hopped up towards camp. I knew my youngest granddaughter Erin would love to hold him so we kept him in a bucket until she got back into camp. This three year old was as happy as me to hold this giant frog. I imagined him to be much older than her and probably has been croaking for us for years. He was another exceptional find along with the baby salamander. Both were quickly returned to their habitats.

We did come home early from camp as we headed up early so had three full days at camp. I did get a trip out striper fishing to top off the holiday. We managed a fine day out on the sea and the calm ocean had schools of bait fish shooting by as we fished near the Isle of Shoals. All in all a grand day at sea.

Nights have really cooled down the last week to ten days. I guess there has been some frost to the far north. There is a tinge of fall on the swamp maples, especially those near our camp. How quickly the seasons are changing. With only one heat wave for the summer it seems like I put my ac in just in time for the cool down. Now I need to take them out. I am not looking forward to turning my furnace back on since I ended up running it well into June this year. It just seems like a screwed up year weather wise this year. I'm hoping for a long drawn out fall.

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Birds of a feather shed their feathers together.

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Falling into fall with falling temperatures. Still no frost.

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