New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
Trees are Turning Color Overnight.
Holly mackerel! The tees here in Epsom are turning color overnight. I don't mean a branch or two here and there. I mean the WHOLE tree turns within 24 hours. We are now in an extreme drought here in Central New Hampshire. The trees are so stressed for the want of a drink. This is causing many trees to turn color sooner than we usually see here. Setting here at my home office computer I can see one small maple that had hardly any color yesterday morning when I set here and this morning the whole tree is a brilliant orange glow out my window. I stopped down at my garden yesterday afternoon to spread some rye seed to hold things in place over the winter. Bang! There too a red maple that had some color the day before was now totally colored up.
I took a ride north Wednesday. North up route 93 from Concord to Lincoln then across the Kancamagus Highway. I'd say the colors there were near peak. In my mind a week or so early. As I drove a few gusts of wind sent a shower of leaves across the road. Our stressed trees sure want to dump all their leaves that continue to take moisture from the trees. I think leaf fall is going to happen early too. And I'm thinking very suddenly with the next wind or rain storm. So in less than ten days much of the Granite state will be looking more like a Winter state.
I have only seen maybe three or four Monarch butterflies this fall. I usually can set on my front deck overlooking some flowers there and have a Monarch swing into the flowers for a drink as they pass south. I have set out there several afternoons lately with not even one Monarch to be seen. Mid September should be the peak of Monarch migration through New Hampshire. This lack of sightings has me a bit worried.
The other critter amongst the missing so far late summer/early fall is the wooly- bear caterpillars. They are usually moving across our country roads in numbers right now. By the way look for them and drive around or straddle them. Why not respect ALL New Hampshire wildlife. I do. Pay attention while driving. You will see way more and kill way less.
There are several flocks of turkeys I am seeing in my daily travels. Although most of this year's polts are pretty big I am seeing some that still are rather small for this time of year. So we sure had some late hatches around here this year. Mostly likely the first nest was destroyed by something eating the eggs. So the hens had another clutch to lay and incubate meaning they hatched out much later than late May.
I should be seeing more flocks of birds in my thinking. Although this week I did see numbers of robins around who had that jittery "I'm a getting out of here." look to them. No doubt I have just not been looking the right way at the right moment to witness more. Life and colored leaves can all be fleeting this time of year.
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