New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
Friday. Brrr. Can't seem to shake this winter chill despite what I know lies just ahead.
Seems like we all spend more time by the day this time of year looking for those spring signs. So I thought I'd mention a few I look for. One looks right back at me this time of year. It's the end of the gutter at this side of my house. If it is dripping on days above freezing I know there is still snow on my roof. And my drive by Alton Bay last Sunday evening with a parade of bobhouses coming in off the ice. Lets face it ice came late to the lake And it never thickened. Ice will go very quickly this spring. I figured good move by these fishermen.
So even as a wildlife biologist I don't always rely on wildlife to show me some spring signs. But mostly I do. So this past week it was the half dozen Hooded mergansers I spotted on the small opening on the Merrymeeting Marsh in New Durham that was a clear sign of spring. I did hear a call yesterday of a tufted titmouse as I was filling my bird feeders. Still not one spring call of a chickadee, I should note. Nor have I heard a note from a single redwing blackbird yet. So it's the birds I mostly depend on to see my way to spring. As I gaze out my home office window spring just still seems to be smothered by the snow capped fields and woods.
But won't that change within another week or so. By mid week next week we may very well be in the 50's. We have climbed the winter hill and we need to look out for the accelerating speed we will be heading into spring at. Changes will take days at most and often sometimes within hours. If you have been hunkered down these past cold windy days now is the time to really start paying attention to What's Wild in NH. Temperatures are expected to be in the 50's by Tuesday and even 60's by Thursday. Yes things will be changing very rapidly this next week. Time to tune in to all that will be happening.
Maybe by then across southern NH maybe some croaking of wood frogs. That alone melts away any of my winter doldrums. Oh ya. Let there be frogs again. And bugs. A miller here and a flash of tiny wings there sure means spring is at hand.
Oh the smells. Yes spring smells will be kicking in as well. That late afternoon whiff of sun drenched earth warming and literally caressing your check like a kiss from your grandmother. Earth smells will be sent aloft by the mid day sun.
So I declare spring to be just four days away. What are your spring signs?
Fisher are Wild in NH Today. Fisher are common in NH. (VIDEO)
Redwing blackbirds are Wild in NH Today. They are back! (VIDEO)