New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
We have snow and it sure looks like we are in for a freeze this week.
Well they had been predicting lots of rain here in Central New Hampshire overnight and into today. Nope. So when I woke up this morning expecting to see far less snow in the yard. Nope it's still there. And it has been three or four inches of cement hard snow. Stuff that wildlife has a hard time getting through to feed on any remaining acorns and such. Just had me worried a bit for wildlife. And now with a real hard freeze coming for this whole week things are going to really harden up again. But it is on a few inches thick and easy for wildlife to still move about and hopefully find food.
My banquet of whole corn, cracked corn, black oil seed and this week I mixed in some millet for the smaller ground feeders. Happy campers here. My dozen Blue jays stay busy all day lugging off and hiding pounds of corn. As my granddaughter Erin pointed out when watching them lug off this golden bounty. She stated "well they are just taking it out into the woods to feed everybody else." And so they are. The woodpeckers have been busy feasting on the rib cage of my son-in-laws deer I hung just over the banking and kind of out of sight. Something I've always done when we are lucky enough to score a deer or two in the fall. It will last for months giving them much needed fat and energy. and we are just returning this wild meat and fat to the wild.
I've had three long beards by several days of the week. A few hens drifted in and out one day this week. So many there is enough food out there to keep them fed. Well most of the neighbors around feed them too. Although I have not seen much for other wildlife a web site reader did send me an awesome picture of a weasel in a tree he took Friday in Bedford. I think I can only remember a couple of weasels I've ever seen in the wild. I remember one that was coursing through a stone wall as I watched. Remarkable animals.
The few days we have had some sun in the last week or so did melt off some of the south facing slopes locally. A great thing for our wildlife. When I used to be outside through the winter working as a wildlife biologist for NH Fish and Game my winter walks often brought me to some of these bare ground spots over the winter. Especially by February. I recall some days when I was way out in the boondocks I made sure I brought a couple hot dogs and bread those days. Around mid day I'd find one of these sunny spots to light a quick fire to cook my hot dog and just soak in the winter sun and the solitude of the woods. Yes good duty it was.
Looks like our vernal pools are filling this fall and winter with enough rain and hopefully enough snow melt to keep them filled for our spring breeding places. Boy did they dry out this summer. I think technically we are still in a drought. So maybe not washing the snow away quickly is a good thing. A slow melt over weeks will surely allow this moisture to seep into the ground. We sure need that.
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