What a different view I have out my home office window this morning, than I had a week ago. First of all, a week ago the trees were kind of just getting some color. Boom a couple days later all the maples and lots of other trees were completely colored up. Save for the oaks, which do have some color already. Just not as brilliant. Then BANG, Tuesday's overnight rain and wind, that picked up for a short time in the morning, caused the leaves to rain down too. GONG, the colors are now brown drying leaves spewed everywhere the winds have deposited them. I knew the trees were very stressed from our drought. I expected them to turn early. Not way early as this, I'd say a good two weeks early around here. And the most bazar thing this year, almost the entire state of New Hampshire was at peak color, at the same time! I have never witnessed that before. And now the colors are draining from the whole state at the same time. Ring up another first in my book for 2020.
Wildlife, especially birds have been and are on the move right now. On the New Hampshire Audubon site I see that tons, yup likely tons, of birds have been migrating through New Hampshire in the last couple weeks and continue to do so. Their report mentions numbers of warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers and sparrows flowing south right now. Down at Pack Manadnock Audubon observers have counted over 9,000 hawks gliding on through. Locally I saw a Monarch butterfly move past my window as I glanced outside a couple days ago. I have seen only four or five this fall. Way fewer than usual. That has me worried some. Not the numbers I am used to seeing each fall. I am still see a few bats in the evening sky over my house. No doubt they are drifting south as well, or will be shortly going into hibernation. They are all flying insect eaters and the frosts will be scrubbing all of their diet from the air shortly. No food no bats.
Today October first is the opening of the bird hunting seasons in New Hampshire. It has started on October first forever as far as I can remember. So grouse, often called partridge, woodcock and pheasants will all be hunted starting today. New Hampshire Fish and Game Department wildlife biologists have been stocking pheasants statewide at 64 sites in 44 towns from Northern Coos County to nearly the Massachusett's border. 11,500 will be put out all by mid October before the moose season brings all the wildlife biologists into the moose check stations.
The duck season will start shortly with some staggered opening dates. Opening first up North, then Central and Coastal New Hampshire. Best check on the Fish and Game web site for dates, bag limits and such. Of coarse a duck hunter has lots of extra things to have in hand not just a hunting license, but a Federal Duck Stamp, signed across the front, the New Hampshire duck hunting permit and the Federal Harvest Information Program number, available for free on line. Hunters have been paying for the "Duck Stamp" since 1934 bringing in over that time over $700 million dollars while protecting over 5.2 million acres of habitat. Yes we hunters have been paying for conservation for a long time. I have been buying a duck stamp every year since I turned 16. I don't seem to get to duck hunt like I used to. But I still buy the stamp, as I did this week, even if I may never get to use it this fall. That's just what we do as hunters. It's the program we support whether we get to hunt or not that year. We just like to see lots of ducks and geese and know that we are supporting the habitat they will always need. It's just part of passing something along to the next generations. I don't know a single hunter or fisherman/woman who does not think about what we will be passing on to our children's children and beyond. How can WE make it better? What do WE need to do?