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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

ERIC P. ORFF
Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983
nhfishandwildlif@aol.com

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Tuesday 07/31/2012 Summer is Skipping by

Gee, where are the long, long summers of my youth? Back then summer seemed timeless. Not so any more. Here we are looking August in the face and I hardly had a chance to glance at the back side of June it seems.

But my garden is telling me it is mid summer. I've already canned a couple of batches of dill pickles. Zucchini relish lines a shelf down cellar as well. And I'll be canning dilly beans any day now. Despite my late planting of the garden this year it looks like I am in pretty good shape of a bountiful harvest. Well my tomatoes are still only green, so my late planting of them will be running up against an early frost, if we get one. I remember well August frosts of past.

Saturday I spent the day at a NH Audubon Open House. This day was to be a celebration of the recent affiliation of NH Audubon with the National Wildlife Federation whom I now work for. Of coarse I have already worked decades with many of the Audubon folks as a wildlife biologist with NH Fish and Game Department. I remember well our first missions to census NH common terns, which really were pretty uncommon at the time. I'd say the late 80's or so. Myself and Dianne Deluca would set out in the Fish and Game boat to investigate the waters of Great and Little Bay and some years the Hampton Marshes as well. My memory has me counting six or eight pairs around the Bay and sometimes closer to a dozen on the marsh. Here they simply laid their eggs on the flotsam left by a very high tide. Always in hopes that they could get a hatching off before another high tide would flood the eggs. A risky game with as I remember not a lot of success.

Then the whole operation was moved out to Whites Island at the Isle of Shoals. Here again I was usually called upon to transport equipment and folks out to the island in April. One trip sticks well in my memory. Our Fish and Game video person wanted to get shots of setting up. I could see the weather and sea changing and was anxious to get back to land. But, oh no, one more shot of this and another of that and pretty soon a northeast wind had turned against us churning up the sea. Now the boat I had was maybe an 18 foot skiff. Not a good match for the sea I faced as we headed back, oh ya bringing back two staffers and their dog. All I can remember is the double sets of rollers hitting me left to right and from astern as I zigged and zagged to avoid a wash over. My heart was in my throat the whole time with fuel running low as we finally made the hour and a half trip back to safe harbor. I zigged into Little Harbor by Odiourn Point to at least get out of the worst of it. Even then I was not sure I had enough fuel to fight the Piscataqua River current back to the Adam's Point dock. I made up my mind then and there to never get back into that situation again. April seas would kill you very quickly. But now there are some 2,500 nesting pairs of terns out at the island. In my mind I risked my life and others to do it.

But Saturday was a glorious day. I had spent some time to catch a bucket O' frogs to bring along. Much of the time during the day there was a line of children waiting their turn to meet the frogs and toads. Truth is I usually just let them handle the toads as the frogs are too easy to loose. Not something I wanted to happen inside the Audubon Center building. I did have a couple of nice bull frogs that I held on to as they touched them. I had a little spring peeper that stuck itself to the side of the bucket that I pointed out to folks. Most had no idea that it is such a small frog with the big spring voice. How the children giggled and screamed to sense a live toad in their hands. I'm sure most had never had that sense before. Many adults leaving said my stop was the best of the day. I'm sure many of the little ones will remember the day as a "frog day". The frogs and toads were all released back into the swamp right around where I had caught them a couple days earlier. They all seemed fine, despite the many hands, as they quickly vanished into the cover and shade.

We have had just enough rain of late to keep things pretty green and even enough to start turning some of the browned off hay fields and lawns a little green again. Welcome rain that's for sure. Everyone I talk to is see turkeys galore about. And deer numbers seem to be up there as well. Though the rain has not had much of an impact on the Suncook River nor the smaller brooks I often cast an eye into.


   

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2012-07-18 Sand dunes in the Suncook River. Heat wave and drought continue.

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2012-08-24 Out of the drought? Hints of fall at hand.

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