New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
The first day of fall. Colors galore!
It's hard to believe how quickly we slip into fall with wonderful colors all around. I did head back down to DC early Monday morning for a National Wildlife Federation fly-in event. When we took off from Manchester it was just getting light out but even in the dull light of early dawn I could see patches of bright color.
I spent the afternoon with other hunters and anglers from across the country in preparation to go visit our Senators Tuesday to ask them to support a new climate and energy bill. It is always a great feeling to be amongst dedicated conservationists from across the country who feel is passionate about the environment as me. A retired fisheries biologist from Nebraska made a comment about there were NO June bugs out there this summer. Another fellow from Ohio made the same comment. So it was NOT just me that noted the lack of June bugs this summer and apparently the loss was widespread across the country. "What's up with that?" We all wondered.
I did get over to the Capitol early Tuesday morning for a wonderful meeting with Sara Dewey from Senator Shaheen's staff. Shaheen has been working with another 11 Senators on formulating the much needed Climate and Energy bill. We are lucky to have her working on this, probably the most significant environmental legislation in decades. As I mentioned to Sara I spent over 30 years working to restore fish and wildlife to NH and I see climate change as a major threat to much that we have accomplished the last half century as wildlife professionals. To me a climate and energy bill is an insurance plan to protect a life time of work.
Jim Gauthier at Senator Gregg's office was not as supportive. While the Senator does believe that global warming is a significant threat to the environment Gregg has not decided how to address the issue. He does not support the House passed bill that they passed in June.
I actually caught an earlier flight out of DC than planned. There was a taxi strike on Tuesday and I wanted to get to the airport early and get out of town.
My flight into Manchester was beautiful. We broke through a cloud later just west of the New Boston satellite tracking station and I knew immediately where we were. I hunted over that way the first year I got my hunting license in 1966. I saw over a dozen deer that year and got none. Oh how all the wetlands were painted in bright reds, yellows and oranges. Magnificent colors were dabbled all across the landscape as the plane swung eastward and north of Manchester before flying down the Merrimack to the runway. So much of what I could see was so familiar to me as I have spent a life time learning the woods and wetlands scrolling below the plane's wing as I looked out. I have always enjoyed flying. I took flying lesson my Junior summer of high school in 1967 at the Manchester airport. I know these woods from the air and ground.
Back here at home the banks of the Suncook River out my office window are changing to orange and reds by the hour. Soon the whole river's edge will be a mix of brilliant colors and the deep greens of the pines and hemlocks. And the river has disappeared practically. Much of what was once the blue waters turning to the fiery color of the shore is now a sand bar no longer reflecting the changing colors. Still a beautiful sight.
And I was counting down the days to our first frost last week. I didn't count long as we had our first and killer frost Saturday night. Today was nearly 80 degrees but the garden is pretty much dead. Fall comes so quickly.
Falling into fall with falling temperatures. Still no frost.
The wonders of life around us. Lobstering today.