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The Monadnock Nature Almanac
is a monthly bulletin board of natural history activity in the
Monadnock region, a mixed
transitional forest upland of gentle hills, rivers, streams, and lakes located
Hillsborough counties. Covering approximately 800 square miles, it ranges in general elevation from 400 to 1200 feet
above sea level. Numerous peaks
exceed 1400 feet, the highest of which,
"Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you."
..... Frank Lloyd Wright
MONADNOCK NATURE NOTES........ July 2014
Subscribers are encouraged to submit their sightings, observations, and comments for inclusion
in the Monadnock Nature Almanac's Nature Notes. Submit to email@example.com.
Please include name and town.
July , ............. "July is the first real month of summer, the pause toward which all the haste and energy of spring
were hurrying us. Days are long, dusk comes late, nights bring a sense of leisure. Country roadsides
are sweet with clover and the drone of bees no longer has the frenzy of May and apple blossoms,
Daisies and Black-eyed Susans decorate but don't yet dominate hillside pastures. Fence rows are
pink with sweetbrier, aromatic in leaf as well as blossom. July dawns on lake or river can be gauzy
with mist and glowing beauty, a special bonus for quiet fishermen. July afternoons can roar and
rumble with thunderstorms that slash the sky. shake the hills and drench the valleys. July nights
can be as cool as May, as sultry as late August, and they are lit with more fireflies than stars. The
pressure eases, now, in all growing things; and man is invited to ease his pressures too, beneath
a tree, on the deck of a sailboat, on the sand where the surf sets its own rhythm. August will come
soon enough, and September, and Autumn. Here is July, and summer."
..... Hal Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year
July 1, ........... For any other lazy southerners looking for a quick whiff of the north country, check out the Loveren
Mill Cedar Swamp, just north of Rt. 9 in Antrim. It's right in my backyard but I just happened upon it
yesterday for the first time and returned this morning. Owned by the Nature Conservancy, it's got
50 acres of white cedar swamp abutting other wetlands, a lovely little three mile loop trail that skirts
them, and more pairs of
because they have brand new fledglings, who lack all the usual
pair of Rusty Blackbirds is hard to miss at the far corner of the loop - they're flying back and forth
with food, though the nest couldn't be seen from the lookout point. Yesterday I had a group of Red
Crossbills fly over, though today they didn't make an appearance. We did get snorted at a number
of times by a black bear, which stood up to look at us nearsightedly from the far side of the river.
A short spur takes you right out into the cedar swamp on a boardwalk - prepare to be harangued
by Northern Waterthrushes and more
Nashvilles singing there as well. One N. Waterthrush popped out and walked right by us through
the sphagnum - an - honest - to - goodness broken-wing display. I'd never heard of such behavior
in warblers, though a little research makes it seem like plenty of species perform it commonly.
Sheep laurel in bloom, and woodsorrel. You'll come out smelling of balsam fir. Give it a try.
..... Henry Walters, Hancock
July 4, ............. Earth at Aphelion today - At 8:14 PM EDT today the earth reached its greatest distance from the
sun in its orbital path around our parent star. Since the earth's orbit around the sun is slightly oval
(elliptical) in shape, our distance from the sun will vary during the year by about 3 %. This means
that today we were some 94, 506,462 miles from the sun. some 3 % more distant than we were in
January (Perihelion). This 3 % difference (3.287 % for the purists out there) causes a relatively small
decrease in the amount and intensity of solar radiation that we receive. This change in distance and
intensity does not cause or affect our seasons. Seasonal changes are almost entirely due to the
axial tilt of the earth. If, however, the continental landmasses were equally distributed north and
south of the equator, it would make southern hemisphere summers a bit warmer than northern
hemisphere summers. This is not the case. Northern hemisphere landmasses are greater than
in the southern hemisphere, so the larger area of oceans in the southern hemisphere mitigates
any possible effect. Although the variation in distance does not cause the seasons, it does affect
their length. Since we are traveling slower in our orbit near aphelion, our summer season is our
longest, some 5 days longer than winter. ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
July 9, ............. New England wildlife images - John Ranta, of "New Hampshire Mountain Lion Blog", sends along
images to share. ..... John Ranta, Hancock
July 10, ........... Yesterday afternoon, I donned my waders and spent a few hours at the beaver swamp "down back"
on our property. I am always amazed at how quickly time passes when I am out in the field. The
old saying "time flies when you are having fun" is certainly true for me. Darners have appeared out
over the wet meadow since I last visited the swamp. You know ... the ones that I have yet figured out
how to photograph! Their numbers are small right now but their arrival is, to me, a signal that
summer is truly here. Additionally, male spangled skimmers and male frosted white faces were
present in good numbers. mating season for the bluets(which I can not identify exactly) was in full
swing. I saw more pairs flying in tandem that I did individuals. The most common damselfly present
was the sphagnum sprite. I had forgotten how frustrating these are to photograph. They spend all
of their time down low in the vegetation and are very small. One finds them by looking for the bright
blue spot on the end of their abdomen. Then the challenge is to find a clear "window" through the
grasses and sedges in which to photograph them. The fragile forktail is quite rare here. The single
individual I saw and photographed yesterday represents only the second time I have observed one
"down back." ..... Frank Gorga
Check out the rest of Frank's commentary and his exquisite "Odes" images as he roams the
natural areas of the Monadnock Region at his website Photographs by Frank (http://gorga.org/blog/)
Frank's reference to the saying "time flies when you are having fun." forces me, however reluctantly,
to pass along two of my favorite "time" sayings ..... "Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."
and "Time" is Mother Nature's way of keeping everything from happening at once." ... CS
July 10, ........... Last week my husband and I were travelling north on Rt 30 just past the Brattleboro Retreat. As is
our habit, we pulled over and scanned the wetlands along the broad expanse of the West River. This
is always a great area for birding in the spring and early summer. Things have quieted down now
that we have reached July. Off to our right in the shallows stood a beautiful Great Blue Heron. He
had just caught a rather large fish and was standing there with the fish cross-wise in his bill. Given
the unusually large size of the fish, I couldn't help but smile, imagining him saying to himself.... "OK ..
Now What ?" ..... Maureen Pratt, Brattleboro
July 15, ........... "Mosquito is out
it's the end of the day;
she's humming and hunting
her evening away.
Who knows why such hunger
arrives on such wings
at sundown ? I guess
it's the nature of things."
N.M. Beodecker, Midsummer Night Itch
submitted by Ellen Taylor, Rindge
July 19, ........... While my wife was completing some shopping in Keene today, I took a walk along a side road and
parking area and checked out the current crop of mid-July wildflowers. There were many new ones
that were blooming since the ones I noted on my last walk in this area last month. They included;
Queen Anne's Lace, Chicory, Purple Loosestrife, Yellow Loosestrife, Bull Thistle, Mullein, Milkweed.
Rabbit's Foot Clover, Yarrow, Cow Vetch, Meadowsweet, and aGoldenrod of indeterminate species.
..... Larry Kennedy, Keene
July 20, ........... A quick observation on Larry's wildflower observations above. The goldenrod species observed is
almost certainly Early Goldenrod (Soligago juncea), literally the first blooming of our many goldenrod
species. I recall a piece of advice passed on to me many years ago by a veteran naturalist. He advised
that when moving to a different area or habitat, to learn the new species, identify the most common
first, whether it be goldenrod species or bird songs, then move on to the less common ones. This is
an excellent example of that advice. Goldenrod species in New England are numerous (between 60-
to 100 species) and notoriously difficult to differentiate and identify when they are all blooming later
in the summer. The Early Goldenrod stands alone in early to mid-July, and is easy to get to know. It
has alternate leaves which get smaller as you ascend the central stem, has small wing-like leaflets in
the axils above the main leaves, and a distinctive panicle of flowering stems which branch upwards
and outwards like an exploding fireworks display. Easy to get to know this one first, then move on
to the others as they appear later in July and August. ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
July 20, ........... Marsh flowers bloom in a showy profusion in late July. Pickerelweed, arrowhead, blue vervain,
swamp milkweed, white and yellow water lilies, watershield, yellow loosestrife, boneset and several
bladderworts make a canoe trip down one of our meandering rivers or shallow lakes quite a
spectacle. On one such trip, thousands of purple bladderworts had blossomed in the shallow waters
rimming the lake. Bladderworts are carnivorous plants that use tiny bladders to suck in and trap tiny
animals and insects. Their trapping action takes only 1/460th of a second, making them the fastest
moving plant in the world. Their speed is so great that we can't even see them move. According to
our senses , in fact, they don't move. Most folks unfortunately don't notice them, instead simply
categorizing them as another aquatic weed. The bladders were once thought to be flotation devices
that kept the plants afloat, kind of like little life preservers. However, Darwin put the matter to rest
proving that this marvel is a floating trapline with up to 600 bladders per plant. ..... John Bates
July 21, ............ I scarcely can tell a dragonfly from a darning needle from a damselfly, but this afternoon I thought I
saw some of each at the outlet to my pond, maybe a half dozen species. Then a green damselfly
and a gray one mated , so maybe there were fewer species there than I thought.
..... Terry McMahon, Stoddard
July 21, ............. From the "Yogi Berra - "You Can Observe a Lot By looking Files" - Larry Kennedy's July 19th post
reminded me to check on two of my favorite mid to late July phenological wildflower signposts.
Sure enough, on my way home from Peterborough today on Windy Row, there was my reliable patch
of Culver's Root beginning to show their spires of blooming white flowers. A bit later when passing
Moose Creek, closer to home, I spotted my equally reliable batch of Cardinal Flowers blooming in, and
next to, the creek bed on Antrim Road. In looking at the Culver's Root, I noted that the small white flowers
bloom from the bottom of the spike-like raceme toward the top. Thinking about this for a moment, it
occurred to me that just about every wildflower I could think of that sports a flowering raceme, blooms
from the bottom of the raceme upwards toward the top. (Purple Loosestrife, White Sweet Clover, False
Solomon's Seal, Snakeroot, Mullein, the Vervains, Yellow Loosestrife ) just to name a few. The only top
to bottom raceme bloomer that I could think of was Meadowsweet (Spiraea latifolia). The terminal flower
grouping on Meadowsweet is a pyramidal mass of florets, and I guess more of a panicle and not a true
raceme. But top to bottom blooming sequence nevertheless. Interesting. ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
July 21, ............. There are two bats, little browns I think, roosting in my barn, the first in several years. They seem
healthy; at any rate no white noses yet. ...... Terry McMahon, Stoddard
July 22, ............. A couple of years ago, Phoebes raised two broods in a nest located above a cornice by my front door.
Last year, I was disappointed that they did not return, so this year I was delighted when they built a
nest there, although only in time for the second brood. The young were just at the stage where they
sometimes stuck their heads up and peeped, demanding food. Then suddenly the birds were gone'
and a large piece of the nest material was on the steps below. What kind of a predator could have
reached the nest ? My dog had chased off a cat recently, and I spied a fox today, but either would
have had to make a spectacular leap to reach the nest. Maybe a Blue Jay or Crow was responsible.
I would like to provide the Phoebes a safe site to nest next year. Would appreciate any advice from
out there. ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey
July 22, ............ Here in the Monadnock Region, the third week of July marks the statistical midpoint of our summer"s
highest temperatures. In the eastern portion of the region (Peterborough, Antrim, Hillsborough,
Jaffrey), the stretch of our highest average daily temperature of 78 degrees begins on July 2nd and
lasts until August 3rd. In the western portion of our region (Keene, Swanzey), the average daily high
temperature of 83 degrees begins on July 17 and lasts until July 28th. Factors affecting the difference
in average regional high average temperatures include, elevation, topography and distance from the
ocean. The record July high temperatures for Keene include two 99 degree readings in 1932 and 1966.
The 100 degree mark was (officially) recorded only once, on August 5th in 1955 when the mercury
touched 102 degrees. ..... CS
July 23, ............ The dearth of odes continues - Monday afternoon I spent a couple of hours "down back" at our beaver
made wetland. I was interested to see how the population of odes was doing here. My impression is
that the total number of odes was low here, as it was at other sites that we visited late last week.
Usually, there are large numbers of darners (dozens) flying out over the wet meadow. On this visit
there were a few ... maybe five or six .... on patrol mainly over the beaver pond. I also saw a single male
calico pennant and a single male frosted whiteface. That was it for dragonflies. As for damselflies, I
observed a handful (maybe six total) of spreadwings. The most common damselfly was the sphagnum
sprite. There were both males and females present and I saw two flying in tandem. That was it. I saw
no bluets at all. The rose begonias and swamp candles that were blooming a few weeks ago on my
last visit "down back" were completely finished blooming. However, I did note the presence of sundew
which I had not seen in this location before.... probably because I wasn't paying attention.
(http://gorga.org/blog/) ..... Frank Gorga
July 23, ............ I visited three places that I know of where swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) grows and the plants
were either gone completely or weren't flowering, but then I found a new colony that looked good and
healthy. These are extremely beautiful flowers that seem to glow from within when the light is right. They
are of the king that you can lose yourself in and suddenly discover that you've been admiring their
beauty for far longer than you had intended. Time might slip away but as the bees taste the nectar, so
can you taste the place of deep peace from which flowers come. Nobody knows why, in the center of
some Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota) flower heads, a purple flower will appear . Botanists have been
arguing over the reason for over a century and a half, but none have an answer. Some believe the
purple flowers are there to fool any insects flying by that is another insect on the flower head, Since
what is good for one is good for many, they land and help to pollinate the flowers. But that is just a
theory. Some ancients believed that eating the purple flower would cure epilepsy. Its really too bad
that purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) is so invasive. It's hard to deny its beauty, but I've found it on
the banks of the Ashuelot River poised to turn them into a monoculture. It would be a terrible thing to
lose the diversity that is found along that river, so my admiration of its beauty is tempered by concern
for the native plants that have lived there for so long. ..... Allen Norcross, Jaffrey
Make sure to check out Allen's recent posting of "Mid-July flowers" on his website New
Hampshire Garden Solutions (https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/mid-july-flowers/)
for the complete descriptions and beautiful images of these and many more July flowers. One visit to
this site and I guarantee you will become a regular. Always interesting, informative images, comments
and descriptions of the regional natural history scene.
July 24, ............ The bullfrog is the largest anuran (frog or toad) in the united States and has the longest developmental
period (up to two years from egg to adult). It is one of the last frogs to emerge from hibernation and
breed, and is the most aggressively carnivorous frog in new England. The highly aquatic bullfrog is
found throughout most of New England with the exception of northern Maine, but its once abundant
population has diminished in many areas. Bullfrogs are silent for up to a month after emerging from
hibernation. Their "jug-o-rum" calls signal the onset of courtship. The bullfrogs' breeding area is
referred to as the "booming ground" for obvious reasons; within it males defend and area 20 feet in
diameter. Peak breeding occurs during the month of July when mated females lay between 12,000
to 20,000 individual eggs in a large gelatinous mass that floats on the surface of the water. The
tadpole stage of the bullfrog usually lasts through two winters, which is why it is possible to see
large tadpoles in a pond in the early spring. Transformation from tadpole to frog takes up to 20 days -
this usually happens in July. The bullfrog tadpole is largely vegetarian, while the adult preys on a
wide range of animals, including salamanders, , young turtles, small birds, mice and other frogs -
even its own young. The bullfrog is the only amphibian to have acquired "game species" status in
North America. ..... Mary Holland, with permission from: "Naturally Curious"
July 24, ............ Here it is, only about a month into summer, and I am still seeing newly opened leaves of Red Maple,
Green (?) Ash, and other plants with red or purple coloration, while in the marshes around Mud Pond
(Dublin) I am already seeing some saplings of red Maple ("swamp maple") whose mature foliage has
completely turned to autumnal red. ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey
July 24, ............ About three weeks ago for three days in a row a bear with three cubs came into the yard and poked
around the house. On the third day, in anticipation of a visit from my young grandchildren I pepper-
sprayed the sow. As of Friday the grandkids have come and gone. This evening at around 6:30, as
my wife and I were sitting in the backyard the bears came by again. This time they didn't come up
to the house but they did lie down at the edge of the tall weeds 60 feet from our screen tent. I don't
know whether they intended to bed down but were dissuaded by the noise of the highway traffic 30
feet away, or were just rooting around for something, but they were there for about 10 minutes before
moving on. The sow did dig a bit at the foot of a pine tree at that spot but not enough to occupy the
time she spent there. ..... Terry McMahon, Stoddard
July 27, ............. I went paddling on McDowell Reservoir and passed a Red Maple whose foliage was completely ruby
red: maybe not quite as bright as some autumn swamp maples, but just as beautiful. Wetland
dogwoods (not sure of the species; maybe Silky Dogwood?) near the waterline were a darker garnet
red. There seems to be something about plants with their feet in the water which promotes early and
saturated color. Maybe a plant ecologist could explain the reason. Buttonbush, Swamp Milkweed,
and Pickerelweed are now in full bloom. Anyone who wants to appreciate the beauty of the wetlands
should visit this place. ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey
July 28, ............. If you've walked in a shrubby meadow lately, you are probably well aware that Common Wood
Nymphs (Cercyonis pegala) are everywhere. Each step seems to flush one, which after some erratic
flying settles back down beneath the grasses, hidden from view. These butterflies are in a group
called "satyrs" which consist of mainly medium-sized brown butterflies. They belong to the
Nymphalidae family , also known as brush-footed butterflies, or four-footed butterflies. The reason
for these common family names is immediately apparent when examining a Common Wood Nymph.
Butterflies in this family look as though they only have only four feet. Being insects, however, they
have six. The front two legs are folded up in front of its head, and are extremely small and bristly.
These reduced legs are present in all brush-footed butterflies, and are not used for walking or
clinging. Rather, the bristles on these legs are sensory organs, used for detecting smells and for
tasting. The butterfly's proboscis is coiled up between this pair of legs. ..... Mary Holland
For the accompanying image, and the rest of Mary's recent fascinating natural history posts,
go to her "Naturally Curious" website at (http://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/)
and don't forget to pick up a copy of her award winning book "Naturally Curious".
July 30, ............. Just a few of the recent worthwhile natural history related articles perused of late: all worth checking
out..... and all of the organizations and publications worthy of your support by subscription and
- Summer Growth Spurt - Dave Anderson, Nature's View Column, Summer Issue, Forest Notes
Magazine, Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
- Loons: Protecting a New Hampshire Icon - Laura Ryder, July/August Issue, NH Wildlife Journal,
Magazine, New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
- Pawning Off Parenting - Bryan Pfeiffer, Summer 2014 Issue, Northern Woodlands Magazine.
- The Ap-peel of Cambium - Susan C. Morse, Summer Issue, Northern Woodlands Magazine.
- Listening to the Trickster - The Outside Story - Brian Mitchell, Summer Issue, Northern Woodlands
- Hophornbeam - The Overstory - Virginia Barlow, Summer Issue, Northern Woodlands magazine
- Predators With Personality - Rachel Sargent, Summer Issue, Northern Woodlands Magazine.
- Aviary Reminders of Summer's Swiftness - Dave Anderson, Forest Journal Column, New
Hampshire Sunday News, July 6
July 31, .............. I recently received an e-mail from a friend alerting me to the "fact" that August 2014 would be a
very "special" month calendar-wise since it would contain 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays,
and that would not happen again for 823 years. Not true ! This just one of several oft repeated e-mail
"urban type myths" that make the rounds and try to sensationalize little know but relatively common
events. In actuality, another such August will occur in 2025, just 11 years from now. More importantly,
any 31 day month that begins on a Friday will have 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays. That means
that a month with 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays usually occurs once a year. For the details
of how this works: (http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/823-years.html) .... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
Leave Fishing To The Pros - Dave Anderson
Fishing requires patience.... and more patience. Ask the "professionals" who do it for a living.
Consider those birds particularly adapted to a fish-eating lifestyle: eagles, fish hawks, wading birds
or diving ducks. Lakes, rivers and estuaries provide habitat for skilled anglers including ospreys,
eagles and herons whose very lives depend on finding and catching fish year long.
Summer provides special challenges when water levels fall and temperatures rise. Fish migrate
downstream to dark depths of lakes, leaving shallow upland rivers entirely to seek deep, cool ponds
lower in the watersheds. The cool tannin-brown brooks renowned as local trout streams in spring
and fall are now tame and quiet by comparison. Brooks shaded by conifers - pine, hemlock, spruce
and fir - remain cool enough to sustain coldwater fish like brook trout during summers of ample
Warm water contains less dissolved oxygen. The warm water fish - bass, perch, pickerel or
hornpout - can tolerate higher water temperatures and lower dissolved oxygen of shallow lakes and
ponds. By mid-summer, trout are hard to find. Biologists cite a range of environmental conditions
that trigger trout travel. Summer water temperatures are a key limiting factor forcing fish migrations.
Sustained water temperatures above 72 degrees can't sustain brook trout.
Back when I was in college. I spent hundred of hours observing NH's only breeding osprey pairs
to document their breeding productivity. Their success depends on weather, sharing egg incubation
and brooding of vulnerable nestlings and the relative frequency of fish deliveries to nests. Early
morning and late evening hours when waters go placid yielded abundant fish deliveries to hungry.
fuzzy nestlings cradled in the huge stick nests built in tall pines. Mid-day sun glare, winds or rainy
conditions made for difficult fishing when ospreys were unable to see beneath the water's surface.
Ospreys and herons instinctively locate fish by changing hours, tides and seasons. Sharp
eyes, beaks and talons are the tools of their trade. Herons wade in shallows amidst lilies, logs and
rocks and freeze like states before stabbing fish or frogs. Ospreys hunt from lakeside limbs
extending out over the water. In flight, ospreys hover, fold wings to stoop, plunge and then rise
from the water while flapping wings and simultaneously turning talons to carry struggling fish
headfirst in an aerodynamic fashion. It's an incredible and unforgettable spectacle.
During idle hours, males perched hidden from hungry females stuck back at the nest
incubating eggs or brooding vulnerable chicks. The sight of a fishless male winging past a nest
would elicit vocal criticism from larger females with nestling bellies to fill. On several occasions,
a weary male osprey would finally catch a fish after hours of failed attempts and then be forced
to surrender his prize in mid-air under aerial assault from an opportunistic and aggressive bald
Scavenging eagles are infamous for pirating meals from others. Perhaps that is why Ben
Franklin preferred the noble wild turkey for the iconic symbol of our nation.
Excerpted, with permission, from Forest Journal which appears every other week in the
New Hampshire Sunday News. Dave Anderson is Director of Education and Volunteer
Services for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
MONADNOCK SKIES - August 2014
August, ......... Summer Constellations - By early evening in the first weeks of August, the brightest stars and
more prominent summer constellations are high in Monadnock skies. By around 9 PM at mid-month
the constellations Cygnus, Lyra and Aquilla, with their prominent stars Deneb, Vega and Altair, are
found near the zenith. These three stars make up the prominent asterism: the Summer Triangle. A
precursor of the fall constellations, Pegasus, with it's asterism The Great Square, is rising in the east
at about the same time. August also provides summer skywatchers with the best time to explore the
beauty of the summer Milky Way arching overhead from the constellation Cassiopeia in the north,
through Cygnus overhead, down to Sagittarius near the southern horizon. A good pair of binoculars
is enough of an instrument to provide breathtaking views of this, the star rich center and edge of
our Milky Way galaxy. Even more spectacular views are provided by any relatively low power, wide
aperture telescope. Check with your local library. Many have such telescopes available for loan to
their patrons. An excellent, and inexpensive guide to summer skies for the novice observer, is the
Edmund Mag 5 Star Atlas available online from the Edmund Scientific Co. This guide, along with
the (also inexpensive) Edmund Scientific Star and planet Locator (planisphere) are two indispensable
aids to familiarizing yourself with the stars and constellations throughout the year. They also make
inexpensive and life-long learning gifts for children. Pick them up and then spend some invaluable
hours outside on a summer evening exposing a youngster to the night sky.
August ............. The Planets This Month - The reddish planet Mars (magnitude +0.5) and the yellowish Saturn
(magnitude +0.4) are both still visible low in the southwest after sunset. Both set some 3 to 4 hours
after the sun during the month. Venus (magnitude - 4) is still a morning object, rising some 1 3/4
hours before the sun on August 1st, and just 1 1/4 hours before on August 31st. Jupiter, a fixture
in the evening winter and early spring sky, has now moved into the morning sky. It may be viewed
low in the east before sunrise, near Venus, throughout the month. The two planets approach within
0.3 degrees of each other on August 18th, a spectacular sight. Five days later, on Saturday August
23rd, the old crescent moon joins the planetary pair to provide another spectacular get-together.
August 2, ........... Bright International Space Station Passage - Tonight, weather permitting, Monadnock Sky
Watchers will be treated to a very bright ISS passage. Begin watching low in the SW for the Station
to appear at about 10:06:22 PM. The ISS will slowly gain altitude reaching a maximum of about 76
degrees above the horizon in the SE at 10:09:42 PM. At this point it will be very close to the bright
star Vega in the constellation Lyra. The ISS will then move off to the ENE passing near Deneb in the
constellation Cygnus before disappearing as it enters the earth's shadow at 10:10:25 PM. At its
highest point, the ISS will reach a very bright magnitude of - 3.5, by far the brightest stellar-like
object in the sky. A sky chart of the passage and other ISS passages for the month are available
at the Heavens Above website.
August 3, ............ First Quarter Moon
August 5, ............ Bright Iridium Flare - Tonight, weather permitting, Keene, Jaffrey and Marlborough residents
have an opportunity to observe a bright Iridium Flare. Face the ENE (azimuth 70 degrees) a
couple of minutes before the flare's scheduled 9:43:11 PM EDT. The flare will appear about
halfway up from the horizon (altitude 48 degrees) just to the northeast of the star Deneb in the
constellation Cygnus the Swan. Iridium Flare times are at best always approximations, so getting
set up for viewing at least a couple of minutes early is encouraged. This flare will be caused by
sunlight reflecting off the surface of one of the Iridium communications satellites. The flare
will appear and grow in brightness till it is by far the brightest object in the sky. It should reach
magnitude - 6 to - 7. The flare will quickly brighten and then fade after a few seconds. Check the
Heavens Above website for other Iridium Flares and visible satellite passages visible in our region
throughout the month.
August 10, ........... Full Moon - The Full Sturgeon Moon - The Native American fishing tribes are given credit for the
naming of the August full moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies
of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes also knew it as the Full Red Moon,
because as the moon rises, it appears reddish through the sultry summer haze. It was also sometimes
called the Green Corn Moon or Grain moon.
August 12, .......... Perseid Meteor Shower - The predicted maximum of this year's Perseid meteor Shower will occur
from August 11 - 13. The best viewing is from late in the evenings of the 11th and 12th into the early
morning hours of the 13th. The meteors can be seen at any hour of the night but the number of meteors
seen usually increases significantly after midnight when the earth's surface is heading eastward
directly into the debris field of the comet Swift-Tuttle responsible for the shower. This year, viewing
will be hampered somewhat by a waning gibbous moon. Since meteor numbers from this shower can
sometimes reach between 50 to 100 per hour, it may still be worth spending a little time taking a look
if the weather is clear.
August 17, ........... Last Quarter Moon
MONADNOCK REGION NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS CALENDAR - August 2014
The Natural History Events Calendar lists activities, walks, classes, and programs in, and within
reasonable driving distance of, the Monadnock region. Organizations are encouraged to list their
events that are open to members and non-members alike. Events must be submitted before the
end of the month preceding the one in which the events are scheduled.
August 1, .......... Crotched Mountain Hike - All ages and abilities are welcome on this moderately strenuous, 3 mile
hike led by Ollie Mutch and Lee Baker. We'll hike from the trailhead on Crotched Mountain Road in
Bennington to the summit, with views of the ski area. Meet at 10 AM in the parking area at Ocean State
Job Lot in Peterborough ( at the intersection of Rts. 202 and 101). Back by 3 PM. Harris Center program.
August 2, ........ Open Garden and Tree ID Walk - Distant Hill Garden in Walpole will be hosting their monthly "Open
Garden" on August 2 from 9 AM to 4 PM. You can check out the large raised bed vegetable garden or
stroll along the paths winding through the beautiful cultivated gardens. Experience the boardwalk
across the quaking Cranberry Bog with the kids or let them spend some time exploring the nature
play area we call White Rock Woods. From 10 AM to noon, you can join us for a Tree Identification
Walk. This easy to moderate walk will be led by Steve Roberge, forester with the Cheshire County
Cooperative Extension. With almost 30 species of trees native to Distant Hill Garden there is a good
chance you might learn to identify a new species or two. A partial list of trees you may see includes:
American Elm, Basswood, Bigtooth Aspen, Black Ash, Hophornbeam, Quaking Aspen, White Ash,
Red Oak, White Oak, Black Oak, and White, Yellow, Gray and Black Birch. The gardens are located
on March Hill Road in Walpole. For detailed directions: (http://www.distanthillgardens.org/directions/)
There is a suggested $5.00 donation, proceeds will be put toward materials for the Accessible Trail
already under construction at the Garden.
August 2, ......... Surface Water Monitoring Approach - The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
will provide a short overview of the NHDES Watershed Bureau's water monitoring using a handout and
a hands-on demonstration of water monitoring techniques. Here's a chance to learn first-hand what
the Watershed Bureau does, why and how they're doing it, and what they're learning. Meet at 2 PM
at the gazebo in Contoocook Village, Contookcook, NH. Rain or shine. Free program sponsored by the
Little Nature Museum. An "Along The River Program". For more information call (603) 746-6121
August 2, ......... Ferns of the Forest - Program - Ferns of the Forest at Barton Cove. Northfield Mountain Recreation
and Environmental Center. 10 AM to 12 noon. Free, ages 14+ Route 63, Northfield, Mass. For additional
information and registration call (800) 859-2960
August 3, ......... Monadnock Summer Lyceum: Dr, Bernd Heinrich, Nature: " A Panacea to Our Problems?"
These days the word "panacea" denotes a single solution to a complicated problem. Biology professor
and renowned writer Bernd Heinrich views nature as a panacea to humankind's challenge of surviving
happily on this planet. Dr. Heinrich will discuss his view that nature offers us models to help us under-
stand the causes of diseases and provides chemicals to cure or control them. 11 AM to 12 noon at the
Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church.
August 9, ......... West Hill Wander - Join the Monadnock Conservancy staff as we explore the woods and wetlands on
West Hill in Keene, as part of our campaign to protect nearly 700 acres in the California Brook Natural
area. A moderately strenuous 4-mile -loop hike will bring us to a remote beaver pond with a great blue
heron nest. Bring water and lunch. 9 AM to 1 PM. Meet for carpooling at the Horatio Colony Nature
Preserve parking area on Daniels Hill Road in Keene. (from the intersection of Daniels Hill Road and
Route 9, drive about 800 feet up Daniels Hill Road and rthe parking area will be on your left. If you get
to Whitcombs Mill Road, you've gone too far) For more information, contact Anne McBride by e-mail
at Anne@MondadnockConservancy.org or call (603) 357-0600 Ext. 102
August 9, ......... Winn Mountain Hike - Join Ben Haubrich and Swift Corwin for a hike along old forest roads, through
a recent timber harvest, and to the summit of Winn Mountain in Lydenborough. We'll enjoy good views,
weather permitting. All ages are welcome on this moderately strenuous, 4 mile hike (700 ft elevation
gain). Carpool at 1:30 PM sharp from Oak park in Greenfield (near Greenfield State Park). Back by 5 PM.
For additional information, please contact Ben at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-547-2074 or Swift at
email@example.com or 603-562-5620. Harris Center program.
August 9, ......... Becoming a Woods Ninja: Or How to Move Silently Through the Woods to See Wildlife -
Ninja were known for their ability to disappear and to move without a sound. Join instructor Rudy
Bourget to learn how to use those skills to get close to and observe wildlife. Minimum age 8.
Preregistartion required. Cost $15 Little nature Museum members. $20 non-members. Little Nature
Museum program. 10 AM to noon. Meet at the Mount Kearsarge Indian Museum, 18 Highlawn Road,
Warner. For more information or to register: (603) 746-6121 (Rain date August 10th)
August 14, ....... Eagles - You're on Candid Camera ! - Pack Monadnock's Raptor Observatory tallied 11 Golden
Eagle sightings in the fall of 2013, but there are always ways to observe Goldens that don't require one
to stand on a mountaintop in numbing winds! Since December 2011, New Hampshire Audubon (NHA)
has been using motion-sensitive game cameras to document Golden Eagles across the entire
Appalachian Mountain range during the non-breeding season. Join NHA's raptor biologist Chris Martin
for a slide show and discussion about this effort. 7- 8:30 PM at the Harris Center in Hancock. For more
information, contact Eric Masterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-525-3394. Cosponsored by
the Harris Center and New Hampshire Audubon.
August 15, .... Active Harvest Tour at Calhoun Family Forest - Join forester Swift Corwin, county forester Steve
Roberge and land manager Rick Brackett for a tour through an active timber harvest operation at the
Calhoun Family Forest in Gilsum. This workshop will provide attendees the opportunity to see the
workings of an active cut-to-length timber harvest operation. Learn about working with a forester and
NRCS to implement a timber harvest on your property to meet your goals and how a timber harvest
can be used to improve wildlife habitat. Sturdy footwear required. Presented by the Monadnock
Conservancy, UHN Cooperative Extension, Cheshire County Conservation District and the Natural
Resource Conservation Service. Location: John and Rosemarie Calhoun Family Forest, White Brook
Road, Gilsum. 1 PM to 4 PM. For additional information contact Steve Roberge at (603) 352-4550 or
August 23, ...... 25th Annual Celebration: Local Land Conservation: then, now and forever - This year we
celebrate the Monadnock Conservancy's first 25 years and, more importantly, focus on all that is yet
to come. Peter Forbes, conservationist, photographer, writer and co-founder of The Center for Whole
Communities, will give the keynote address, putting our milestone in perspective by describing this
pivotal period in the national conservation movement and challenging us to embrace new words, new
tools and new partnerships in the next 25, 50, 100 years. Continental breakfast and registration begins
at 9 AM. Optional field trips that showcase some of the most important projects in the Conservancy's
history depart at noon (most trips last about 2 hours). Location Peterborough Town House, 1 Grove
Street, Peterborough. 9 AM to noon. Field trips noon to 2 PM. For additional information contact Pat
Payne at (Pat@MonadnockConsrvancy.org) or (603) 357-0500
August 24, ...... Introduction to Dragonflies - Join the "Harriers", New Hampshire's Young Birders Club to learn
about the fascinating world of dragonflies. Guest leader Tom Young, longtime dragonfly enthusisiat
and knowledgeable birder will help us use nets to capture and identify them. Program at the Joe
English Reservation in Amherst. We'll meet at the Peabody Mill Environmental Center in Amherst
at the north end of Brook Road) at 12:30 PM with plans to hike and explore until 3:30 PM. We'll also
see plenty of birds along the way. Bring an insect net if you have one, lunch, and binoculars. For
additional information, contact Henry Walters at 525-3572.
August 25, ...... Birding the Nighthawk Migration - Join Cliff Seifer to observe one of the under-appreciated
spectacles of fall migration - the annual flight of Common Nighthawks over the Monadnock Region.
If it's an "average" night we'll get great looks at a handful of these incredible birds. If it's a "good"
night, we'll see hundreds of acrobatic Nighthawks feeding in giant flocks. Meet at the Stone Arch
Village on Court Street in Keene, 6 - 7:30 PM. Cosponsored by the Harris Center and Hew Hampshire
REGIONAL NATURAL HISTORY , RECREATIONAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS
....... Harris Center for Conservation Education. Education, school programs, land
and wildlife preservation, programs, hiking, weekend events. Open year round.
Mon.-Fri. 83 Kings Highway, Hancock, NH 03449. www.Harris.org
....... New Hampshire Audubon Society. A statewide organization, dedicated to
the conservation of wildlife habitat . Programs in wildlife conservation,
land protection, environmental policy, and environmental education.
84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH. www.nhaudubon.org
....... The Nature Conservancy. A leading conservation organization working to protect
ecologically important lands and waters in New Hampshire. 22 Bridge St., Concord,
NH 03301 www.nature.org
....... Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. A leading statewide
land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the state's most important
landscapes while promoting wise use of its renewable natural resources. www.spnhf.org
........ Monadnock Conservancy. The Monadnock Conservancy's mission is to work with
communities and landowners to conserve the natural resources, wild and working lands,
rural character and scenic beauty of the Monadnock region. Visit their website:
........ New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Conserves, manages and protects
New Hampshire's fish, wildlife, and marine resources. www.WildNH.com
....... Friends of Pisgah - A volunteer organization dedicated to assisting in the preservation
of Pisgah State Park located in southwestern Cheshire County. The organization has been
involved in the development and maintenance of the park's trail system for many years.
........Friends of the Wapack - an independent, non-profit organization composed of hikers,
volunteers, and landowners dedicated to the preservation of the 21 mile long trail from Mt.
Watatic in northern Mass. to North Pack here in New Hampshire.
........ Brattleboro Outing Club - The BOC offers an opportunity to participate in year-round
outdoor activities including kayaking, canoe trips and cross country skiing. For additional
........ Keene Mineral Club - Founded in 1948 the Keene Mineral Club is an active group of
collectors of 100 or so members whose interests cover the full spectrum of mineral related
topics: crystals, minerals, gems, lapidary, micromounts, fossils and more. The club holds
regular monthly meetings, publishes an award winning newsletter and sponsors frequent
local and regional field trips. Membership is encouraged for all ages and levels of interest.
....... Keene Amateur Astronomers Club - Founded in 1957, the club has a goal of enhancement
of Amateur Astronomy through fellowship, sharing knowledge and enjoyment of the hobby. The
KAA holds monthly meetings, provides outreach programs, and holds regular viewing sessions
at their own observatory. Membership is open to students, parents, beginners, backyard
amateurs and experienced professionals. Meetings and observing sessions are open to all.
MONADNOCK NATURAL HISTORY RESOURCES
.......... Exploring Southern New Hampshire: History and Nature on Back Roads and Quiet
Waters - Lucie Bryar (2014) Walkers, paddlers, bikers and snowshoers can encounter relics
of the past and their incredible tales from Keene to the seacoast. Exploring Southern New
Hampshire takes history off the page, out of the car and into the welcoming pine-scented woods
and pristine waters of the Granite State. Hike Mount Monadnock, paddle Willard Pond and
retrace Lincoln's footsteps down Exeter's streets. Experience the legacy of a women's sawmill
at Turkey Pond from the waters that powered it. Visit Cathedral of the Pines, a beautiful outdoor
altar built with stones from historic sites around the world. Local history lover and nature
explorer Lucie Bryar leads readers through the Monadnock, Merrimack Valley and Seacoast
regions. Granite state natives and transplants alike will explore trails and waterways to gain a
new appreciation for the history hidden in natural New Hampshire.
......... Rockhounding New England: A Guide to 100 of the Region's Best Rockhounding
Sites - Peter Cristofono (Falcon Guide Rockhounding Series - 2014) New England is one of
the best regions in the country for rockhounds to hunt for minerals. The complex geology
of the region hosts a stunning variety of material from gold bearing placers to fossiliferous
limestone, from gem bearing pegmatite's to rocks containing some of the rarest minerals
on earth. This book provides detailed directions and GPS coordinates to the best sites and
valuable tips on what tools to bring and how to conduct your search. Comprehensive
lists of minerals and fossils for each site and excellent color photos will help you know what
to look for and identify what you've found. Information on clubs rock shops and museums,
and special attractions are provided. Written by a collector with over 35 years of experience.
A must have for anyone interested in collecting their own rocks and minerals in the region.
.......... Northern Woodlands Magazine - A quarterly magazine devoted to advancing forest
stewardship in the northeast, and to increase the understanding of, and appreciation for,
the natural wonders, economic productivity, and ecological integrity of the region's forests.
It always contain excellent natural history articles by prominent regional and national authors.
Worth the subscription price alone for Virginia Barlow's Seasonal Natural History Calendar
and her frequent articles. John Harrigan, NH's iconic north country author, speaker, weekly
columnist for the Union Leader and numerous regional publications, once said "If I had to dump
all but one of my periodical subscriptions, and that's plenty, the survivor would be Northern
Woodlands. I'd put Northern Woodlands on the must-read list for anyone who lives, works in,
cares about, or just visits New England. It has become the magazine I can simply cannot do
........ New Hampshire Wildlife Journal - Published bi-monthly by the New Hampshire Fish and
Game Department. Dedicated to creating an awareness and appreciation for the state's fish and
wildlife and the habitats upon which they depend. Always contains interesting and informative
articles on regional flora and fauna and environmental issues. (www.WildNH.com)
......... Forest Notes - The quarterly magazine of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire
Forests. The magazine includes selections dealing with Society properties, events, land
acquisition projects and frequently features articles on regional natural history. Subscription is
available with Society membership. Regularly features Dave Anderson's Natures View column.
Dave, SPNHF's Director of Education and Volunteer Services, is a long time forest and wildlife
naturalist, group field leader and is known for his prominence in regional land conservation and
forest stewardship initiatives. Worth the price of membership for his essays alone. Information
........ Afield - New Hampshire Audubon's quarterly program and events guide. The publication
features articles, programs, and activities offered at all of New Hampshire Audubon's centers
and regional chapters throughout the state. The current issue and back issues are available at:
........ Outdoor Guide - Antrim,and Bennington, New Hampshire - The second edition of this 64
page guide has recently been made available through towns halls, libraries and a wide variety of
business outlets throughout the northern Cheshire County region. A wonderful resource, it contains a
wealth of information on key nature destinations in the region, including hiking and biking trails,
canoeing and kayaking opportunities, and a wide variety of other nature related activities. Also
available at www.ablions.org
.......... NOAA National Weather Service Website - The NOAA Weather service website is by far the
most detailed and informative source of local and regional weather information. Almost all of the
other online weather websites and media outlets get their basic information from this source. See
the January 2011 MNA for a more detailed description of some of the features of this useful
.......... Latitude and Longitude - To determine the exact Latitude and Longitude of a specific location,
visit the website (http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html). For a more detailed description of the
information available on this website, see the January 2011 MNA.
.......... Topographic Maps - Free, New Hampshire topographic maps are available for viewing or
download by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. (www.wildnh.com/maps)
......... The New Hampshire Birding List - A website providing daily reports of sightings and
comments from birdwatchers all over the state, with regular posts from the Monadnock regions
top birders. (http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/NHBD.html)
......... New Hampshire Mountain Lions - John Ranta of Hancock, NH maintains a running blog which
shares information on mountain lions in New Hampshire and reports sightings in the granite state.
......... Rare Bird Alert - New Hampshire - A weekly listing of rare bird sightings throughout the
state. Compiled each week by Mark Suomala. The RBA is available in each Friday's edition of
the Union Leader newspaper, as a phone recording (603) 224-9909, or from the New Hampshire
Audubon's website: (http://www.nhaudubon.org/birding/rare-bird-alerts)
......... New Hampshire Lightning Detection/Tracking System - This site provides a real-time
radar map of lightning strikes occurring in the northeastern states. The map is refreshed every
5 minutes. The site also provides a wealth of other useful and interesting meteorological
......... Heavens Above - A treasure trove of observational astronomy information. After registering
and inputting your latitude and longitude, the site provides you with exact times, locations, and
magnitudes of various satellites visible at your location. (http://www.heavens-above.com/)
.......... Google Earth - a free program which allows the viewer to travel anywhere on earth and view
aerial and satellite imagery from great elevations to street level. Many locations provide three
dimensional, 360 degree opportunities for viewing. A must for the regional naturalist to view
natural areas and to preview hiking trails, etc. (http://www.google.com/earth/index.html)
........... Spaceweather.com - A worthwhile site for all sorts of astronomy related information,
including auroral displays and alerts, solar activity (sunspots, flares, etc), planetary Info.,
meteor showers. The site provides a sign-up option for a free e-mail Spaceweather Alert
when something significant is occurring. (http://www.spaceweather.com/)
...........The Old Farmer's Almanac - Another general reference site for regional weather, birding,
fishing, astronomy and outdoor information. Provides an excellent table for the rising and setting
times for the sun, moon and planets which may be selected for your particular town or village.
.......... Naturally Curious with Mary Holland - Follow the regional natural history scene throughout
the year through the comments, images and insights of one of
Mary's blog site should be a shortcut on the computer desktop of anyone interested in our natural
listing of 293
over 1100 images on the site are thumbnail and micromount sized specimen images were taken by
in the region (http://www.antrimnh.org/Pages/AntrimNH_WebDocs/Outdoor_Guide.pdf)
interest blog maintained by Allen Norcross in Swanzey. Always interesting and informative. Well
worth a regular visit to read Allen's comments on regional natural history and his wonderful
Nature Almanac is compiled and edited by Chuck Schmidt,
observations or subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the free e-mail, contact email@example.com . Please
note, the MNA is formatted to display on a full screen computer e-mail window. All e-mail addresses are secured
and held completely confidential. Past issues of the Monadnock Nature Almanac (from September 2010) are
available upon request.