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

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

Winter has arrived on the Suncook River in Epsom

Thursday 12/10/2009

What a difference a week can make here overlooking the Suncook River. A week ago temperatures soared into the mid 60's mid day and it was at least spring like if not almost summer-like. We went from those high temperatures and a lush green view from my home office window to 20's and a skiff of snow overnight Saturday. Maybe two inches at most. But boy did old man winter fly in overnight Tuesday and all day Wednesday. We now have a coating of eight inches of heavy wet snow. The still unfrozen ground is locked away beneath the thick coating of snow. Quite a transformation in a week's time.

And the snow has brought at least a few birds to my feeders. A dozen or so Juncos to my feeders out front but still just a few blue jays to my big platform feeder out back of my house. Now I have placed the fat covered rib cage of the deer I got this fall out back and well off the ground. I noticed this morning that a handful of crows had discovered it at last. Each year I butcher a deer here on my kitchen table I like to give back to nature any parts I cannot consume. The legs and such are given to the coyotes and foxes out in the woods but I have for years hung the rib cage down back towards the river where birds feast on the fat and small meat trimmings all winter long. Kind of a natural suit feeder. It blends in to the trees and is hardly noticeable if you don't know where it is. Come spring I'll give what remains to the coyotes as well.

You would be amazed how quickly a full deer or even moose carcass can disappear when placed out in the woods. I have dumped numbers of car killed deer down in Bear Brook over the years while working for the Fish and Game Department. And the local Conservation Officer dumped an adult moose there a few years ago. Within just a week a deer is gone and the moose maybe lasted two weeks. Even all the deer bones soon are gone.

The cold temperatures over the weekend finally chilled the local small farm ponds enough to coat them with ice. All the larger ponds, lakes and moving waters are still ice free. It will take a prolonged cold snap to begin covering them with ice. This is late in the year for ice to be forming. All of November ran 6 to 8 degrees above average so not a hint of ice, even on mud puddles, until now. And as I mentioned the ground is still totally frost free.

My wildlife observations have been pretty scarce the last week or more. The deer are still moving about although the rut is winding down now. I haven't seen any turkeys in a while around here. I think much of the wildlife is already in winter mode, conserving energy and moving only as much as needed to survive. I find myself thinking the same way with the arrival of winter.

Previous Note

Where are my birds? And it is spring-like today.

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Next Note

Mother Nature tucked the Suncook River in for the winter under a white sheet of ice last night.

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