New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
Winter still holds on at times. Searching for that ray of sunshine.
Brrrr. As I do most mornings when I come down stairs I go in the living room to throw open the blinds that face the road. Then pear out. Gaaaa. Winter still sat on my lawn this morning. Well that would be the remnants of the plowed snow pile. I was thinking it might actually disappear early this year. NOT.
And not a frog to be heard here in Epsom. Spring is just barely creeping along it seems. But at least this week, despite some cold cloudy days and temperatures running 25 degrees below where they should be. Yes the average daytime high should average 55 degrees now. But we have been stuck in the 30's to low forties the last two weeks or more. Although the small farm ponds and all the local lakes are now ice free they are just staying rather cold. In fact I noticed the small pond by the end of Short Falls Road and Route 28 had iced over again last night when I went by around 11 this morning.
In my travels to Concord this morning I had a chance to take a short walk to an overlook of the Turkey River in Bow. And I spotted some green. Yes skunk cabbage was up a foot or more along the wetlands at river's edge. Now that was nice to see. Skunk cabbage actually can generate some heat to melt the snow around it giving it a jump in early spring. And bears turn to this early green in the spring to get a start on the year. Also the fields here in Epsom are finally taking on a green cast. It seemed like they would never green up. Although they have not greened up enough to draw the deer out in them at dusk from what I am seeing.
The local phobe showed up yesterday. One makes a nest on the back side of the old camp down on the rivers edge below my house each year now for a while. Although I still have plenty of juncos here that have not migrated north. So a mixture of winter and summer birds right now. Ducks are aplenty as well. Although I have not been seeing much for geese locally.
My garden did shed the snow this past week. But the rye I planted last fall has been delayed in shooting up it seems. The ground is just so cold. And come to think of it I have not had a wiff of spring air yet. In fact yesterday the air smelled way more like winter. I have often thought should I be Rip Van Winkles and sleep for some decades, no doubt in just a couple of sniffs when I awoke I'm pretty sure I could at least peg the month by the smell. Yes the sense of smell is just very underrated by most. While walking in the woods I have detected fisher by the smell. And moose and bears have an smell that can be detected as well. So get sniffing out there.
Slowly creeping into spring
Poof. The snow is gone and the peepers are peeping