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

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

The toads are coming. The toads are coming (and trilling).

Friday 04/23/2010

Wow every day I am shocked at just how quickly and early this spring has come. Things are running a good two or three weeks ahead of "usual". Last night I attended a Woodcock Walk and Owl Prowl held locally by the Conservation Commission and Bear-Paw Regional Greenway. There was a great crowd of 30 sitting patiently until dusk and the time a male woodcocked peented and took to flight right over our heads to perform a spectacular aerial display. In the distant a barred owl added to the wonderful warm evening as we all perched on a hill side with a grand view. I had brought along my listening device as I really can't hear the woodcock well now unless I'm really close. To my surprise while "tuning in" to nature I heard toads trilling in the distance barely audible through the cacophony of spring peepers. This IS a good two weeks ahead of the norm.

The fiddle head ferns I have planted around my house are well up which is my reminder to head off into the woods to get some picked for eating. Maybe I'll just go out and catch me a couple native brook trout at my secret place to join them on my plate. And so were the marsh marigolds in bloom over the banking down towards the Suncook River along the lower end of my land. Every turn of the head brings out another sign of spring weather by sight, sound or even smell as my plum tree is in bloom too. It just seems like I can breath in deeply or long enough to suck in all the fragrance I want from this sweet flowering tree. My whole yard is filled with this wonderful reminder of spring.

But let me back up a little into the earlier part of the week. Last weekend we had the joy of having both of our granddaughters for the weekend. We did go up to Discover Wild NH Day at Fish and Game and discovered a whole lot of other people there too despite the cold rain. With Earth Day on the calendar I wanted to make sure I got them involved as usual and got them outside as well. So Sunday my wife and I and the two girls, Katie, 6 and Erin, almost 4, headed down River Road for the tradition roadside clean up for Earth Day. Erin pulled the wagon nearly the whole mile trek as we three dashed into ditch and woods to gather the litter. We filled four trash bags and three buckets of glass as well as fetched two tires that had been nearly rolled into the beautiful Deer Brook, the terminus of our gathering. Over half our load was beer bottles and cans as usual. This year's surprise was a whole windrow of Dunkin Donuts coffee cups starting just past my house for a good fifty yard run. Since I live near the beginning of a dead end road I can't help but think it is one of my neighbors down the road who has picked up his coffee and is finished when he gets to my house and tosses it out. How sad is that. And of coarse there was the two tires sent over the banking at Deer Brook. I am at a loss when I think of anyone who could do that. And so are the girls.

Wednesday I attended an Earth Day rally held on the State House lawn at noon. A good crowd turned out to mark the 40th Earth Day. But it was what happened just before the event which I arrived early. I went into the State House looking for a particular list of legislators. My serendipitous life keeps rolling along, I was directed to go to the 3rd floor. In the elevator a fellow I had never met before said "Are you Eric Orff?" Turns out he, and no one else, could get me the list I needed. Life is good!

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Sweet spring -great days outside.

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Of turkeys, DUK boats and lilacs in blooming.

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