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

New Hampshire Nature Notes
by Eric Orff

Nearing the end of a wishy-washy spring

Saturday 06/05/2021

Well as I look out my home office window the brilliant yellow colors of spring have vanished. But there's plenty of spring things still in the air. Yes our birds are still singing and calling. Maybe not with the luster of a week or two ago. But still some spring songs to be gleaned for those still listening. 
And what a wishy-washy spring it seemed to be. And boy did I call things wrong. Going into mid April, even though it had been pretty cool with only occasional rain, it sure looked to me like spring was running a week or even ten days early. I figured leaf out on our mid New Hampshire trees would be early this year by several days, maybe even a week early. Say May first. Wrong.
Freeze that thought. Then it just seemed everything stopped doing anything for a couple weeks or more outside. My daffodils were at peak color for more than a month. And the leaves. Well even they showed up a week or more late for spring. It just seemed like everything stopped for a while. Including the spring peepers. How they too were singing. Then stopped. And then never really got going in the full chorus as I had expected. On and off and on a bit, but never the loud chorus of mid April. I never really heard the toads go into their full throttled gig either. What's up with that? Just kind of a chopped up spring by my account.
And here we are on the precipice of summer. Yes, starting tomorrow, maybe the first heat wave of the year, with three days expected to be in the 90's here in Central New Hampshire. So things will be really warming up. And drying out. Like our vernal pools. We are in a multi year drought here that really started in January 2020. So this all has my head wondering how our little frogs and salamanders will make out this year. We did get a good rain here, according to my rain gage three inches, last weekend. And a dollop of rain the other night. But if our frogs got a late start into the vernal pools, and we are a lot rain shy, how quickly are these vernal pools going to dry up this year? Will the young frogs and salamanders be ready for the dry up? How's those legs and lungs coming along? I so worry even about the smallest of critters. Well not every year is their best year. I so wonder if my walk down to the lake at camp come the middle of July will have legions of tiny tot toads scampering across my ambling path? Who will survive this wishy-washy spring into summer? 
At least we've had enough rain to soak the local dairy farmer fields. And how the row upon row of bright green corn seems to be getting up from the brown bed of winter. So nice to see. But we know the lack of snow and already dried out earth will challenge this corn crop too. So hoping for some afternoon thunderstorms to slake their desire to drink and grow. Certainly our brooks and streams will be warming up quickly now too. Hoping they too will feel the cool rain as an evening thunder storm washes down the days dry heat. And spark them to to ripple and gurgle into the night with their own voices. Oh the sounds of earth living and breathing before our very ears.   

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