New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff
Birds Boiling Into New Hampshire and Spring Leaf Out.
Boy are we in for some wild changes this week.
First of all, a whole wave of different birds will flood into New Hampshire THIS week. And despite the fact that there will be thousands upon thousands of birds, that mostly aren't here today, few of us will see them. For they, as a whole, are some of our smallest. Just a notch bigger then our humming birds. Yes they are our warblers. More than a dozen species are set to arrive now. Their diminutive size and the fact that they pretty much stick to the tree canopies or the dense shrubbery, especially around our lakes and wetlands, makes them difficult to spot. Even though some are practically the prettiest birds to return each spring. You'll definitely need a good bird book to help with the ID. I recommend the Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America. Plus Donald and Lillian Stokes live right here in New Hampshire. Great book to have and keep handy.
But surprisingly these tiny birds are quite vocal with some having the volume of a robin. Such wonderful voices for such small creatures. And are their songs the most cherished for me of spring songs. Better yet check out and learn a half dozen or so of these magnificent spring songsters. Only then will you come to realize just how they fill our spring woods with song. Wonderful, wonderful songs.
Secondly and way more dramatic this week here in Central New Hampshire is spring LEAF OUT. In fact by my watch we're a little ahead of schedule this year. Over a week ago I saw leaves bursting from their buds in Concord. So yes the cities warm up first and then the valleys. But it is the pastel painted hill sides as I drive that really captures my eyes. Oh, how wonderful our mountains and hills become draped with so many wonderous shades of green. Spectacular waves of greens flowing across the hillsides. Here you really need to be looking from a distance to gather the panoramic scene. Absolutely gorgeous hills and mountains. Definitely one of the prettiest times of the year here in New Hampshire.
And the fiddlehead ferns are jumping up this week in Central New Hampshire.
New Hampshire's spring turkey hunting season got underway on May first. New Hampshire Fish and Game Department turkey biologist Allison Keating told me a week or so ago that since the pandemic hit the number of turkey hunters went up nearly 20 percent in 2020 to over 21,000 up from 19,000 in 2019 and so far this spring turkey license sales were up even more. There are now well over 40,000 turkeys in the Granite State up from zero when hunters paid to have them reintroduced in 1975. If you enjoy seeing our magnificent turkeys strutting about don't forget to thank that hunter in your family or neighbor. Yes this state's hunters and fishermen contribute over 25 million dollars a year to help restore and protect all fish and wildlife across the state. They just happen to get to enjoy the spoils of their investment by turkey hunting each spring for tom turkeys.
And yes there are more hunters in the woods. And it seems nearly everyone else too. Haven't our hunting woods and fishing rivers, lakes and ponds been filling with others seeking the out of doors during this pandemic. Yes. Turns out, especially having protected public lands, from the White Mountain National Forest to State Parks and Forests and practically every other public owned woodlands have had lots of new guests. Right here in my town it sure sounds like access to the Town Forest has become an issue with limited parking spaces pushing cars to park along our narrow country road kind of squeezing the locals who live there a bit. Turns out protected public land is good medicine during a pandemic. Now is the time for this state, our towns and regional land trusts to double down in their efforts to increase the amount of protected lands significantly. I believe the goal should be to double the existing protected lands here in New Hampshire THIS decade. There is little doubt that we will need way more protected lands available for the next pandemic. So lets get to it.
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