New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
Fall flying by as the leaves are already raining down in the rain showers.
Gee fall seems to be zipping by again this year. It seems like we just got to peak color and the leaves are raining from the trees in the few showers we have had. My lawn is covered with leaves where only last week there was but a few bright specks of color from the few leaves resting there.
Last Thursday my family headed north for our own leaf peeping. A rare thing for us. Seems like I was always so busy working each fall that the season would flash by and a leaf peeping drive was not in our schedule. Fortunately my daughter Amy IS taking the time to get her family out for a fall excursion and my wife, me and my mother were invited along. We headed north on I-93 and took the Kancamagus Highway over to Conway. Lots of color and the brightening skies showcased what mother nature had to offer as we took the hour-long commute across the highway. Traffic was surprisingly not bad at all.
We arrived in Conway on schedule to catch the mid afternoon Conway Scenic Railway ride to Bartlett and back. As we clattered along I pointed out to family members places I had been over the years. "I helped catch and band geese in that pond" I pointed out early in the trip. In Bartlett the train stopped right near where we tried to catch a nuisance bear decades ago. I later learned that the homeowner had actually shot the bear and let it run off to die. My granddaughters Katie and Erin bounced from seat to seat and person to person as the train slowly galloped along the tracks bracketed in the colors of fall. We did see a flock of geese grazing in a field along the way and that was pretty much the extent of the wildlife. Kind of what I expected as the tracks pretty much parallels the highways.
Back here I have been out for a couple of hunts locally for birds. Monday my son-in-law brought the two girls down for a planned hunt. Three year old Erin stayed here with my wife but 5 year old Katie was as anxious as our bird dogs to get into the field. She has really taken to joining her father out hunting. We did manage to bring home a pheasant but our hour plus hunt through some good grouse cover didn't yield a single flush. Grouse, and woodcock for the matter, have been very scarce around here the last few years. Still it was nice to get outside for some great views and the deep smells of the fall woods.
Although the resident geese have been bouncing from cut corn field to cut corn field I have not seen any of the northern migrants passing overhead in the typical V's. We did get a hard frost here at my house Sunday night. My tomatoes right up against the south side of my house had fared well until then. There had been a frost at my mother's a mile down the road that hit the garden two weeks ago but as I am closer to the Suncook River I am spared the first frosts as a rule. But still not to have a killing frost here until mid October puts it a month behind what I used to get back in the 1980's. Although 2 and 3 years ago I had green tomato plants here until the first week of November. From my view from my home office about half of the trees along the edge of the Suncook River are now leafless. Here's a view that seems to change by the minute this time of year.
The wonders of life around us. Lobstering today.
Color and life seems to be draining from here right now.