New Hampshire Wildlife News
by Certified Wildlife Biologist, Eric P. Orff

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

Brilliant yellow photons pour into my eyes from a patch of daffodils tucked into the base of a nearly three-hundred year old stone wall describing my northern boundary.

Sunday 04/11/2021

Yes spring is at hand. And it is the smells and sounds that have again infused themselves into my life. We've gone from that early spring smell of wet leaves to the true fragrance of spring, the smell of warm Earth! It is that smell that tips the scale for me. Well yes the smells. And very soon to be added will be the fragrance of my blossoming plum tree. For what ever reason I have never picked a single plum for this pretty big tree. But each spring, around this time, a south warming breeze fills my whole house with the sweetest of fragrance. For me that really is enough for this tree to give me each year. And I love that tree for it.
Oh the sounds. Oh yes the sounds that are building by the day in intensity and diversity. First the call of the redwing; then a robin or two. And each day the variety and volume just keep picking up. And then phoebe and cardinal and soon the wren. Oh the wren. Doesn't he let you know when HE has arrived! And there he will be dancing from bird house to bird house with that twig in his beak that he must jigger to get it into the hole. Filling my bird houses with tiny sticks. I have collected one batch to start a spring fire with in my new Christmas gift fire pit. For that, I'll give him a nod of gratitude when he soon shows. Yes, we must be grateful for gifts large and small. Don't we. If nothing else this pandemic has taught us just how many gifts we just seem to receive  from somewhere. But I do find it is best to be looking for them. Same with luck. I've managed to find a whole lot of luck in my serendipitous life. Yes you just have to be looking for it constantly.  
And how things are changing out our windows. Seems like the Red maples are getting redder by the hour on sunny days. Cascades of blossoming trees and shrubs are soon to follow. Then in in about three weeks here in Central New Hampshire it will be the hills and mountains that will be lathered in green pastel colors. So, so many different shades of green. Now that is just about my favorite time of the year. It certainly rivals fall colors in my mind. To capture it you must look off into the distance to appreciate the landscape. 
We're just a few days away from when New Hampshire will be filled with more life than at any other time of the year. Right now frogs, toads and salamanders are laying eggs or have the last couple weeks here. Then lets just mix in some fish too, spewing hundreds if not thousands of eggs. So here we can add Eastern chain pickerel and Common White suckers just to name two. Each spewing hundreds or thousands of eggs. But, lets just add one more fish, to give you a sense of how numbers of individuals are changing in New Hampshire over the next couple weeks or so. And that fish would be our River Herring. Actually two species alewives and blueback herring. I think we have on order of well over a half million of herring that return to the Granite state's rivers to spawn each spring. Mostly thanks to the  seven decades of efforts by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department to restore them. This involved building fish ladders in the 60's and 70's or removing dams that reduce their spawning habitat. Now lets say maybe there are 300,000 female herring that return to New Hampshire to spawn. And I guess this is where I should mention that, a female herring is capable of depositing over 200,000 eggs. Well my hand held calculator ran out of zero's with only seven showing. Now that's a lot of life that isn't here right now, but is on the way this month. So lets say trillions of new residents to our fine state.
And we then can add a few thousand baby raccoons, fisher, foxes, coyotes woodchucks, squirrels, chipmunks and on and on. Then there are the birds. Lets just get back to the birds. The turkeys and ducks will each be laying nearly a dozen eggs each to hatch out. And all these other singing and calling birds will be delivering their clusters of eggs to hatch out and add even more to our residents here. No doubt a few tens of thousand more there. 
So you see New Hampshire is RIGHT NOW filling with more life than we will have any other time of the year. We are, and will be for the next few weeks, literally brimming with life. Wonderful wildlife. Get outside and soak it all in. Sights, smells, sounds and touch. Oh yes touch. Nothing like feeling a cluster of frogs eggs carefully held in hand. The you too can experience a handful of What's Wild In NH.

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