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

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

The Sun is winning. The sun is winning

Wednesday 02/17/2010

Well I'm back at it after taking a couple/three weeks off from Nature Notes. Two of those weeks, the last one in January and the first in February was spent in Florida. I drove down this year for the two plus week stint. It has been years since I drove down. So it was kind of nice to revisit the whole east coast. Well actually more of a windshield view. Since I have always headed down pretty much non-stop. I left here at 6:00pm and a Thursday evening and arrived in the afternoon the first night in St. Augustine. I did share some of the driving with my wife and sister who joined us at the last minute.

My daughter and her family flew down to join us for the second week. We are regulars at the Magic Kingdom. From a wildlife point of view there were only two real different moments. After our overnight in St. Augustine I took a morning walk a couple blocks to a store to buy a paper. On the way back just as I was half way across a mostly empty 4 lane road I looked left for traffic and when I looked right I was a little startled by an adult bald eagle not 15 feet away that had just scooped something from the street next to me. It looked like a french fry or a piece of bread in his talons. An awesome sight. Secondly, on the way back, and after we picked my son up in Baltimore just minutes ahead of the storm that closed the Capitol down for a week, we observed a whole flock of birds killed on the highway. I think starlings. But a flock of 20 to 30 birds was spread across the road as we passed. Not to squished so I think it had just happened. A weird sight.

Back here at home we arrived to find most of the snow gone from the heavy rain storm while we were gone. The last two weeks have been more spring-like than winter-like. The corn fields were bare all around here until yesterday's storm. In fact the rising sun has been melting the remaining snow each day. I was over on the coast on Sunday and noticed the salt marshes were practically free of ice. Ducks and geese dotted the marshes. I heard that mush of Great Bay lost its ice this past week as well.

Here at home the ice melted from the rapids at Short Falls on the Suncook River and there are patches of open water where there were non a week ago. Same on the Merrimack River in Concord. The sun is winning the battle towards spring despite the setback of 6 or 8 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. Today is sunny and warm and I imagine this snow is not going to be tolerated by Mother Nature for long.

I need to get out some sunny afternoon to a south facing slope. I love to bask in the sun and take in the sweet smell of the warming earth. Sometimes I'll kindle a fire and roast a hotdog to top off such an afternoon. Sweet, sweet spring is at hand. It really is. You just have to look for it.

Previous Note

Life below the winter snow, entering the depths of winter.

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It's ICE OUT on the Suncook River

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