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      The Monadnock Nature Almanac is a monthly bulletin board of natural history activity in the southern New Hampshire

      Monadnock region, a mixed transitional forest upland of gentle hills, rivers, streams, and lakes located in Cheshire and

      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,  Mount Monadnock, rises to 3165 feet. 

 

 

                                    

                                                "Forests, lakes, and rivers, cloud and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers

                                                 and crystal snowflakes - every form of animate or inanimate existence leaves its

                                                 impression upon the soul of man."   .... Orison Swett Marden

 

                                                   

  MONADNOCK NATURE NOTES........ September 2014

 

                                        Subscribers are encouraged to submit their sightings, observations, and comments for inclusion

                                        in the Monadnock Nature Almanac's Nature Notes.  Submit to  brimstone108@myfairpoint.net. 

                                        Please include name and town.

 

  

    September, ............... "Ripeness is fulfillment,  and it comes not at the peak of summer . It comes when the season

                                           begins to ease down the long hill toward Winter and ice, when the days shorten and the stars

                                           of night begin to gleam in longer darkness.  The change is more than a matter of sunlight and

                                           day length, for there is a rhythm in all growing things, a rest and a resurgence. The seasons

                                           belong to that rhythm, as do the day and the night. But so does the apple, and so do the goldenrod

                                           and the asters. The peak is past. The wave of the great rhythm now begins to ebb, and the cricket

                                           sings, the owl hoots, the crows call querulously. You can hear the Autumn from any hillside."

                                                   ..... Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons

                          

    September 1, .........    This morning my wife Ginger went out for her run but before she got to the end of our long driveway

                                            she heard rustling noises and an animal in distress. When she got to the road she looked to the left

                                            and there were three coyotes that had just killed a small animal.  They showed no fear of my wife.

                                            Ginger described one of them as being "huge" and the others were normal coyote size. She did not

                                            want to run away from them so they had a standoff until the coyotes went down our driveway

                                            toward our house.  Ginger followed them and said they turned off onto the snowmobile trail that

                                            crosses our driveway.    ..... Steve Smith, Hancock

 

     September 1, .........    Oh yes they are !  I have been reluctant to post the following observation for fear of encountering

                                            the same reaction that Anne Luker got. (See MNA August 31st "Hancock Cougar" sighting post).

                                            I have talked to several; trusted acquaintances, and not being looked at like I'm crazy, I decided

                                            to post this sighting .....  On the evening of August 11th, I was returning home at about 9:30 PM. 

                                            When I turned down my road, which is in a residential neighborhood, my peripheral vision

                                            caught a movement to my right. I slowed down to a crawl  because a deer path crosses at that

                                            point in the road.  What crossed my path was no deer: it was a cougar. I know ....  "There are no

                                            cougars around here." Well, this animal was definitely a cougar: long tail, tawny coat, right size,

                                            the whole cougar outfit. It crossed the road at what was a best described as a stroll, in full view

                                            of my headlights, about 20 feet in front of my truck. It was most assuredly an OMG moment !  Folks

                                            can doubt all they want, but I'm convinced !    .....  Charlie Stevenson, Greenfield

                      

     September 2, .........     A few weeks ago I repaired the pole bird feeder that a bear had wrecked this spring. The repaired

                                             pole feeder with hanging hooks looked barren without the feeders so I moved a hummingbird

                                             feeder that was 30 feet away onto one of the hooks. The hummingbird feeder had been up all

                                             summer without any problems but within 10 hours of hanging it on one of the pole hooks, a bear

                                             bent the hook and ripped the hummingbird feeder down.  He must have thought it held bird seed.

                                             Does he check every night ?   ..... Steve Smith, Hancock

 

       September 2, .........   I was in Peterborough yesterday walking from Depot Square to the Library when I noticed what 

                                             I at first thought was a hummingbird at one of the flower boxes on the bridge over the Contoocook

                                             River.  A closer look, and I realized that it wasn't a hummingbird but rather a hummingbird moth

                                             I found that interesting, since the last hummingbird moth I saw was also in the downtown area of

                                             Peterborough a year of two ago. This one looked like a Common Clearwing (Hemaris tysbe) which 

                                             is one of the two or three species usually seen in New Hampshire. These moths exhibit all the usual

                                             hummingbird behaviors, are slightly smaller than the bird, and are frequently seen during daytime

                                             hours, most commonly late in the day and at dusk.   ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock

                                                (http://www.cirrusimage.com/moths_hummingbird_clearwing.htm)

                                                                                                                             

       September 2, .........   In addition to the coyote sighting that my wife had the other day - we were splitting wood yesterday

                                             morning and bringing it into our cellar through a garage door when I discovered a huge crayfish

                                             crawling into the cellar. There is a seasonal brook 200 feet from my house. It usually dries up in

                                             the summer but this year it has been so rainy it never dried up but I never thought it had crayfish.

                                             Do they migrate on dry land ?    ..... Steve Smith, Hancock

 

       September 7, .........   A chorus of soft chucking reverberates throughout New England woodlands during these early autumn

                                             days, making it next to impossible not to be aware of the activity of eastern chipmunks. Their increased

                                             vocalizations and frenzied gathering and storing of nuts and seeds as winter approaches dominates

                                             the forest scene. Unlike its relative, the woodchuck, which gorges in the fall, accumulating a life

                                             sustaining layer of fat which allows it to hibernate continuously throughout the winter months, the

                                             chipmunk takes a series of "naps," waking every couple of weeks to eat from its stored cache. The

                                             chipmunk is adequately equipped for collecting and transporting its winter food supply, for its two

                                             large cheek pockets or pouches serve as "backpacks."  The amount and variety of food the pouches

                                             can hold is truly impressive. The efficiency and speed with which this scavenging and storing is done 

                                             is also impressive. Researchers have watched one chipmunk carry six white oak acorns at a time to

                                             its burrow 200 feet away in two minutes. It carried three acorns in one pouch, two in the other and one

                                             in its mouth. A total of 116 acorns were moved in an hour. In a large storage chamber off its 2 1/2 foot-

                                             deep tunnel system, as much as half a bushel of food may be cached, all of which is consumed by the

                                             one chipmunk inhabitant of the burrow. Smaller chambers off the tunnel system hold less. Chipmunk

                                             burrows branch off into an elaborate system of separate chambers that serve as larders, bedrooms,

                                             and living areas.  ......  Mary Holland, excerpted, with permission, from "Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field 

                                                  Guide and Month by Month Journey Thorough the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England." 

 

        September 8, .........  Finally,  just as the blossoms of the alien, invasive plants  Purple Loosestrife and Japanese

                                             Knotweed have begun to fade, another hideously obnoxious family of invaders has taken over 

                                             the byways of our region.  Area roadsides, traffic circles and intersections have become infected

                                             with the biennial scourge of roadside wildfoulers, of the family "Politicus" !  These visually 

                                             abhorrent additions to our regional thoroughfares come in a wide variety of colors, are roughly

                                             rectangular in shape, fairly uniform in size, and seem to thrive in the poorest of roadside growing

                                             conditions. Among others, their species include;  Congressius republicae,  Legislaticus democratiae

                                             and Bureaucraticus independentese.  Their numbers will peak in mid-October, with a rapid diminution

                                             by mid-November due to widespread activity on the part of the highly selective consumptive activity

                                             of the voracious mammalian species Campaignus volunteeria. A smattering of hardy survivors will

                                             persist until they disappear under the early snows of December.  ....  Chuck Schmidt, Hancock

 

       September 10, .......   Early Fall Wildflowers -  At a glance you might think you were seeing a hawkweed flower when you

                                             look at a "false dandelion" (Hypochaeris radicata) flower because they're close to the same size. One

                                             look at the leaves however,  will show you that you are seeing something entirely different because

                                             they resemble those of the dandelion more than the hawkweed foliage. Hawkweed and false

                                             dandelion also bloom at different times, which helps when trying to identifying them. The flowers

                                             are much smaller than those of true dandelions and they sit on the top of long,  wiry stems, much

                                             like hawkweed. False dandelion's other names include cat's ear and flat weed: cat's ear because

                                             of the hairs found on the upper and lower leaf surfaces and flat weed because the leaves usually

                                             lie flat on the ground. This plant is originally from Europe and is considered a noxious weed in

                                             many places.   ..... Allen Norcross, Jaffrey

                                               Check out Allen's website and blog: "New Hampshire Garden Solutions" for his descriptions and  

                                             wonderful images of many other early September wildflowers. This website/blog should be on   

                                             every Monadnock Region naturalist's computer desktop. One visit and I guarantee it will be ! ... CS                                             .

                                               (http://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2014/09/10/early-september-flowers/)

 

       September 13, ........   Major thrush flight right now -  Just got in from sitting outside my front door for 15 minutes - and

                                              hearing 182 thrush call notes overhead (around 8:30 PM). Most were Hermits and Swainson's,

                                              but there were a few Veeries and a couple of Bicknell types in the mix. Only a few warbler calls.

                                              So if you have an access to an open area with little background noise - get out there and listen !

                                              Even if you can't tell the birds apart, it's amazing and somewhat humbling to hear a sampling of

                                              the hundreds of birds flying over in the night. I suspect a low ceiling was making them a lot

                                              easier to detect.  ..... Pam Hunt, Penacook

                                                With the daytime "hawk watches" tending to hog the stage in September and early October, many

                                              people tend to forget the "little guys and gals" of the ornithological persuasion who are doing their

                                              migratory thing at night. Scientists pose several possible reasons for the nighttime migration of

                                              many bird species. Among those reasons:  avoidance of predators, ..... cooler, denser, less turbulent

                                              air making flight easier, ....... use of the stars for migratory orientation, ..... the need to seek renewable

                                              energy by easier feeding during daytime hours and then resting up for resuming nighttime flight. .....

                                                   A fascinating  activity of some bird watchers is to observe the passage of birds across the face

                                              of the full moon during September and/or October. This is best accomplished with either a spotting

                                              scope, low power- wide aperture telescope, or binoculars.  A wonderful, and unforgettable

                                              experience for youngsters. The next full moon is October 8th, so it's not too late to observe some

                                              migrants, and time to mark your Natural History Calendar for next September and/or October ... CS

                                                                                                     

       September 13, ........   Rail Trail Mysteries - Regular readers of this blog (New Hampshire Garden Solutions) will recognize

                                              the Rail Trail "deep cut" in Westmoreland. I never get tired of visiting because there is nothing like

                                              it in the area.  Blasted out of solid rock when the railroad was built in the early 1800s, the cliff faces

                                              are now home to many unusual plants, including liverworts, lichens, mosses and ferns. In the book

                                              Lost Horizons, author James Hilton describes a fictional valley of Shangri-la as a hidden, earthly

                                              paradise. That's what I'm reminded of every time I visit here. And speaking of magic.I was walking 

                                              slowly down the trail as I always do eyeing the cliff walls for things of interest, when I had the feeling

                                              that I should look down. When I did  I saw that I was about 5 feet away from a barred owl sitting on

                                              the ground. There we were for however long it was looking into each others eyes. The owl sat

                                              perfectly still and watched me for the entire time (I set up my monopod and camera and took several

                                              pictures). I sensed that it was not going to fly away. I turned to leave and when I looked back

                                              seconds later it was gone gone, without even a whisper of wings. Looking into those dark brown

                                              eyes is something I won't soon forget. There is unfortunately another part of this story I would like

                                              to forget.  I went back the next day to retake some photos because it had been cloudy and they

                                              didn't come out very well, and as I walked along I saw a dead barred owl in one of the drainage

                                              ditches. It is thought that barred owls mate for life, so the one I saw yesterday might have been

                                              sitting by it's dead mate or it might have been the one in the ditch. It's something that I'll never know

                                              for sure but I know that I had a lump in my throat as I walked down the trail. ... Allen Norcross, Jaffrey

                                                  Read the entire account of Allen's visit to this site, his description of plants observed, and view

                                              his beautiful photographic images at his blog site New Hampshire Garden Solutions  (see Sept.

                                              10th post) ..... CS

 

       September 13, .......   Chesterfield Gorge Visitor Center -  We've received a report that the visitor center at Chesterfield 

                                             Gorge on Rt. 9 in Chesterfield will be reopening this month. ..... Work is ongoing and  there is still

                                             much work to be done, but the Parks Department's goal is to have it open and staffed in time for the 

                                             upcoming fall foliage season.  They intend to sell snacks, coffee, water, NH "stuff", and eventually

                                             locally made items.  Next year, the plan is to have the Center open on weekends and limited hours

                                             during the week. There are also three benches now in place along the trail at optimal Gorge 

                                             viewing locations. They serve as truly relaxing and calming havens and further enhance the Gorge 

                                             "experience."     ..... John Koopmann, Chesterfield

                                                   Regardless as to the status of the Visitor Center, the Gorge is always and interesting stop for a

                                             short hike. Located along Route 9 in Chesterfield.  Many of us tend to note its presence on our way

                                             west to Brattleboro and Interstate 91, and too few take the time to stop and enjoy the unique

                                             aspects of the geology and general natural history of the site.  ..... CS

                                                                       

       September 14, .......   I noticed some things which were hanging among the flowers of some goldenrod in my back yard;

                                             they looked like little dark berries about the size of peppercorns. Obviously goldenrod seeds don't

                                             look like that, so I concluded that they were galls, like those illustrated here (see link to website)

                                             (http://bugguide.net/node/view/705366) I think there are at least three species of goldenrod (Solidago)

                                             in my back yard, two of which have finished blooming, while the other is still in flower. I'm too lazy to

                                             identify the species.   .....  Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey

                                          

       September 15, ......   "For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of 

                                             scattering abroad."   ..... Edwin Way Teal                  

 

                                             "Delicious autumn !  My soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking

                                             successive autumns."   ..... George Elliot

 

                                             "Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them 

                                              all."  .....  Stanley Horowitz

 

                                              "Fall is my favorite season in Los Angeles, watching the birds turn color  and fall down from the

                                               trees."    ..... David Letterman

                                                  .... Submitted by Ellen Taylor, Rindge

 

         September 16, ......   Normally I think of early August when grasshoppers start sounding. This year, however, it wasn't

                                              until nearly Labor Day that I heard them. Did anyone notice ?  Those long, soothing, ringing

                                              vibrations fill background spaces so fully yet subtly that we don't even consciously hear them

                                              most of the time. They remind me of toad trills, although not as loud or as musical. Summer ends

                                              when all grasshoppers are silenced.   ..... Neal Clark, Hancock

                                             

         September 17, ......    I saw a few plants in a large clump shaken by some unknown agency (there was no wind), and

                                               heard the distinctive call of Cedar Waxwings. When I approached to investigate, I flushed a few

                                               waxwings from the weeds. Apparently these birds like to descend well below the canopy of the

                                               "goldenrod forest," presumably seeking bugs which have been reduced to lethargy by the cool

                                               temperature and heavy dew of the early morning. However, I have also seen waxwings feeding

                                               in this manner close to midday.   ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey

 

          September 17, .......  Easily seen on roadsides, staghorn sumac has usually turned brilliant autumn scarlet by the 15th

                                               of September. Enjoy the color display, but also note the shape of each colony of sumacs.  Most

                                               of them will be tall in the middle and slope off on each side, like a dome. Each dome represents a

                                               clonal colony of sumac, with "Mom" in the middle and the youngsters spreading out on either

                                               side. Each individual could be named Junior, since they are all identical.  How and why do sumac

                                               do this ? While the large conelike seed structures turn red in the fall and provide plenty of cross-

                                               fertilized seeds for next spring's growth, sumac hedges its reproductive bets by cloning itself

                                               asexually. Many of its roots eventually bend up and away from "Mom," a process called "root

                                               suckering." As each root surfaces, it grows into an adult plant. Because each clone is younger

                                               than the original, thy become shorter and shorter - hence the camel hump appearance of the

                                               sumac colony. Notice the great variation in sumac colors. Some have shiny green, buttery yellow,

                                               vivid orange, flaming red, and deep purple leaves all on the same shrub. As one author wrote,

                                               "Probably no tree in the country, perhaps in the world, may exhibit so many and such contrasting

                                               shades and tints, or such frosty coolness with its fire."  ..... John Bates,  A Nothwoods Companion

 

          September 17, .....    An item from the Yogi Berra  "You Can Observe a Lot by Looking"  files.  While mowing the lawn

                                               in the front of the house the yesterday,  I noticed a dragonfly swoop down and capture a small

                                               moth that was kicked up by the passage of the mower (possibly a sod-webworm moth ?).  This                                               

                                               was the first time I have ever seen a dragonfly make a grab like that on an flying insect large enough

                                               to actually observe.  Normally their flitting about in the yard results in "captures" of numerous

                                               critters too small to observe.  This reminded me of a mockingbird that was a regular visitor to my

                                               lawn mowing activity in my previous incarnation back on Long Island,  New York many years ago.

                                               In the fall, whenever I would mow (with a walk-behind mower) and kick up numerous sod-webworm

                                               moths from the lawn, the mocker would arrive and catch these moths in the air behind me as I

                                               walked along mowing.  Since the bird would arrive almost immediately upon my starting up the

                                               mower.  I was convinced,  at the time,  that this was a Pavlovian relationship between his arrival,

'                                              the sound of the mower and the availability of the moths !  I'm equally sure that yesterday's 

                                               dragonfly appearance was more of a visual coincidence rather than the auditory response of the                                               

                                               mockingbird many years ago.    .....  Chuck Schmidt, Hancock 

                                    

          September 17, .....    For some reason, Harvestmen ("Daddy Longlegs") like to hang out on my basement door. There

                                               were four of them the last time I looked; although they are arachnids, two had seven legs apiece,

                                               while the other two had only six each. Harvestmen shed legs easily, and the detached leg will often

                                               twitch, apparently to distract a predator. The oldest known fossil Harvestman is 410 million years

                                               old, making harvestmen among the oldest land animals. They are omnivores who will eat dead

                                               plant material, fungi, and small arthropods. They do not spin webs or have venom like spiders, to

                                               whom they are only distantly related.    ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey

                                               Update - (9/30/14) A new record: One of the harvestmen on the back door has only four legs

                                      out of its original eight. No way of knowing how the others were lost. (9/30/14) 

 

          September 18, .....   Bruce's "Daddy Longlegs" item reminded me of a fascinating "The Outside Story" article in a recent

                                              Northern Woodlands magazine's e-mail newsletter written by Rachel Sargent. The article described

                                              how flying insects build up a static electrical charge on their bodies from the friction of passing

                                              through the air.  As these insects  fly through a space in a spider's web, a normally safe passage

                                              through the open space in the web, it  suddenly turns fatal as the threads of the web react to the

                                              insect's static electrical charge and snap shut (as much as two millimeters) due to a phenomenon

                                              known as static induction (the same effect that allows a charged rubber baloon to stick to an

                                              uncharged wall). Read the article at (http://northernwoodlands.org/outside_story/article/flies-socks)

                                                 ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock

                            

          September 19, .....    Bugs in my backyard - By letting a large part of my back yard grow up with weeds (Goldenrods,

                                               Asters, Boneset, Joe Pye Weed, etc...) I have become host to an amazing community of insects.

                                               Actually, the word "host" should strike fear into some of those creatures, because some of the 

                                               species dining on pollen and nectar are also parasitoids of other arthropods. That is, they lay

                                               their eggs on other insects , spiders, etc. and the larvae hatch and eat up their hosts. I recommend

                                               the web site: http://www.scilogs.com/expiscor/10-facts-about-parasitoid-wasps-ichneumonidae/ 

                                               Among the fascinating facts therein:  1) Ichneumonidae is one of the largest families of organisms

                                               in the world - it contains an estimated 100,000 species, more species than all vertebrates combined.

                                               2) Ichneumoids parasitize all kinds of hosts. Lepidopteran caterpillars and pupae are particularly

                                               common as hosts, but all sorts of others also make the list including beetles, flies, sawflies, spiders,

                                               caddisflies, scorpionflies, lacewings - and there are even reports of an ichneumoid being reared

                                               from a psuedoscorpion.  Also seen feeding on my weed flowers have been 1) sand wasps, which

                                               dig holes in the ground where they place captures arthropods and an egg, so their larva eats the

                                               stashed prey. 2) several kinds of hoverflies, some of which imitate the appearance of bees and

                                               wasps in order to intimidate predators, and 3) Belvosia, a bumble bee-shaped fly which is also a

                                               parasitoid of the larvae & pupae of moths. None of these interesting neighbors would be found in

                                               a neatly mowed lawn.   ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey

 

          September 20, ........ The beginning of September brings three harbingers that fall is just around the corner. The hawks

                                                and other raptors begin their migration. The swamp maples begin to turn red. For some reason, the

                                                swamp maples at the north end of Gregg Lake (Antrim) seemed to turn especially early this year,

                                                there were signs of red in late August. Currently, these trees are about at their peak and there is

                                                little change in most of the other trees. The chipmunks have become more maniac.  Living more or

                                                less in the woods, with a property bounded by stone walls, we are well acquainted with chipmunks. 

                                                However, in early September as the acorns start to drop, the chipmunk activity really picks up. One

                                                does not have to go outside as their squeaking vocalizations are clearly heard when the windows

                                                are open. Late yesterday afternoon,  I noticed "nice light" on the chipmunk highway (i.e. the stone

                                                wall) down by the road. I headed down, with camera in hand, hoping to get some photos of "flying"

                                                chipmunks as they jumped from stone to stone, often with an acorn in their jaws. I failed miserably

                                                .... they are just too fast for me.   ..... Frank Gorga, Antrim

 

          September 22, .......  Autumnal Equinox - At 10:29 PM today the sun's direct ray crossed the equator moving southward,

                                               marking the Autumnal Equinox and officially staring the fall season. Our daytime hours now start

                                               to become noticeably shorter  than our nighttime hours. Today is also one of the two days of

                                               the year when the sun rise due east and sets due west, tracing exactly a 180 degree path across

                                               the sky. If we lived on the Equator, we would see the sun rise directly at the east point on the

                                               horizon, move directly upward in the sky and cross the zenith at 1`2 noon, then move directly

                                               downward, moving below the horizon at the west point. Quito, Ecuador is the only major city in

                                              the world where this occurs, being less than one degree from the Equator.  .....  CS

 

         September 23, ........  Oppressively nice weather. Not to quibble, but if we could get a few Renaissance-painting-style

                                               puffy clouds up there, the hawkwatchers would be delighted. A day of all-out accipiter harassment.  

                                               Ravens, broad-wings, red-shoulders, and turkey vultures all had sharpies and Cooper's hawks

                                               rocketing down upon them - long toes and haywire brains are a scary combo. Little groups of a

                                               dozen or half-dozen broad-wings appeared throughout the day, hardly bothering to kettle, 

                                               streaming south.  A peregrine, and late in the afternoon the year's first adult goshawk cruising in

                                               from Crotched Mountain directly overhead. Diversity is picking up, with three species each of falcons,

                                               accipiters and buteos.Much more of this to come in October.  Total raptor count to date 11,613. The

                                               earliest the 10,000 mark that has been reached at Pack. Of that total 10,806 broad-wings, 472 sharp-          

                                               shins, 114 osprey,  57 bald eagles, 39 American kestrels, 39 Cooper's hawks,  34 merlins, and 20

                                               northern harriers.   .....  Henry Walters, Hancock, Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough

 

         September 24, .......   This year, the apple crop in my apple trees is almost nonexistent. Some years the crop is amazingly

                                                abundant with the branches so laden that they bend down toward the ground.  The pattern seems

                                                to be a good crop every other year and then almost none.  I have always wondered whether this is

                                                a pollination phenomenon, a temperature - late frost situation, or the result of a biennial nature of

                                                a particular species. Recently, John Harrigan, longtime columnist for New Hampshire Sunday  

                                                News (and many other publications around the state) asked the same question of his readers. A

                                                few of the responses: -  " Some years, apple trees just need a rest. Apple trees bear heavily only

                                                every other year. Regardless of the weather; pollinators, or fertilizer, apple trees are said to require

                                                extensive rest after a good harvest." ....... "After very early warm temperatures in April. My orchard 

                                                bloomed almost a month early, but when it did, cool temperatures with frosts happened. It basically

                                                wiped out my crop. It was probably too cool for most bees, as well."  ..... "The stress on my trees

                                                from producing such an overwhelming crop (last summer) means that it will have a minimal crop

                                                the following year in order to rest and rebound."  .....  "The bees may be contributors to this year's

                                                apple dearth. The honey bee population took an extreme hit this past winter due to the extended

                                                cold spell from January through February. New England beekeepers lost about 50% of their hives

                                                due to the extreme cold." .....  Looks like the jury is still out.  ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock

 

          September 25, .......    I discovered several Arachnids in my basement. Each had the same general proportions (long

                                                 legs and small body) and tannish color as a Harvestman, but was strikingly different in having a

                                                 body divide into a cephalothorax and abdomen, rather than the unitary body of a Harvestman,

                                                 which is shaped somewhat like a rugby ball. They also were lurking in webs. Therefore these

                                                 creatures are spiders: the aptly named Cellar Spiders, to be exact (Family Pholcidae).

                                                   ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey

 

          September 25, .......    The Audubon Pack Monadnock Raptor Observatory in Peterborough recorded the passage of

                                                  its 10,000 raptor migrant on the 19th.  This usually occurs during the height of the broad-winged

                                                  hawk migration which normally peaks around the third week in September.  Francie Von

                                                  Mertens described this phenomenon beautifully in her "Backyard Birder" column in today's

                                                  Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.  .... "mid-September brings the broad-winged hawk rush hour.

                                                  These hawks of the forest leave their solitary ways to join as many other fellow travelers/fellow

                                                   broadwings as possible. Up they swirl, circling and rising within rising columns of hot air created

                                                   as the sun warms the earth. Their lift is solar-powered like most of the natural world. One kettle

                                                   or grouping of broadwings numbered over 300. All binoculars were aimed upward at the

                                                   seemingly chaotic swirl of small shapes in the late-summer haze. When they tease as much

                                                   lift as possible, reaching altitudes where the air cools, chaos becomes order as the topmost

                                                   hawks leave the group to head south. A steady stream of hawks coasts to the next free ride,

                                                   high in an orderly progression of very countable silhouettes against the bright sky."                                                       

                                                       .... Francie Von Meterns, Peterborough

                                                     Follow Francie's always informative, interesting,  and beautifully written "Backyard Birder"

                                                     column every other week in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript.   ..... CS

                                           

          September 29, ..........   As usual, this month provides a wide variety of interesting natural history related articles, all 

                                                   worth tracking down.      

 

                                                    Northern Woodlands Magazine, Autumn 2014 issue:

                                                          - Meat eating Trees: The Outside Story,  Kent McFarland

                                                          - Pin Cherry: The "Overstory", Virginia Barlow

                                                          - Soft Serve: Autumn's Unheralded Mast Species, Susan C. Morse

                                                          - Timber Rattlesnakes,  Ted Levin

                                                    New Hampshire Wildlife Journal (NH Fish & Game Magazine)

                                                          - Majestic Moose, Judy Silverberg

                                                          - Tracking the Travels of Ospreys, Chris Martin 

 

                                                    Follow this year's migration of four NH nesting ospreys from New England as they head

                                                    south on their yearly migration journey.  Project Osprey Track - Squam Lakes Natural Science

                                                    Center program.  (http://www.nhnature.org/programs/project_ospreytrack/index.php)

 

                               

 

 

         MONADNOCK MUSINGS                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                        

                                              Report of Regional Geology Talk at Distant Hill gardens, Walpole - Bruce Boyer                                                    

                            

 

                                        The following is a partial summary of a September 7th talk on "The Geology of Distant Hill" given at

                                    Distant Hill Gardens by John Dunham, geology buff and spelunker, and David Howell, USGS Geologist

                                    Emeritus. The talk focused on the general geology of the region and particularly of the more recent

                                    glacial geology. 

 

                                         I attended this Saturday talk and enjoyed it. Some of the key points included: There have been at least

                                  five major extended glacial episodes of "ice ages" in the last 2.4 billion years of earth history.  One of the

                                  first of those glaciations may have produced a "snowball earth," in which the oceans were frozen clear

                                  down to the tropics.  Snowball periods alternated with warm tropical periods when carbonaceous

                                  sediments formed.

                                        

                                         Climate varies due to natural causes, including regular cycles in the earth's orbit. There are also non-

                                   cyclic influences,like plate tectonics/mountain building, volcanic eruptions, and changes in the location

                                   of major land masses. Ice cores taken from ice caps formed during the last major continental glaciation,

                                   which is still under way although glaciers have receded from their maximum extent, show temperature

                                   fluctuations which can be correlated to the earth's orbital variations (Milankovitch Cycles).  Carbon dioxide

                                   trapped in the ice "tracks" the temperature variations, but lags behind them, suggesting  that the carbon

                                   dioxide is an effect of the temperature change, not a cause.

 

                                          The collision of the Indian tectonic plate with the Asian plate, forming the Himalayas and the Tibetan

                                    Plateau, occurred about 60 million years ago and exposed new volumes of silicate rocks to weathering,

                                    consuming more carbon dioxide and reducing atmospheric levels of that gas.  The speaker said that

                                    caused a decline in global temperature. Then a land bridge formed between N. and S. America (an

                                    isthmus) separating the circulation of the Atlantic and pacific Oceans. This set the stage for the current

                                    ice age (Pleistocene). 

 

                                          During this last ice age, a thick ice cap over much of N. America depressed the crust. That influenced

                                     the location of lakes, including Lake Hitchcock which occupied the Connecticut Valley for at least 4,000

                                     years. Some glacial lakes in the northwest periodically and suddenly drained, performing enormous

                                     works of erosion on the landscape (northwestern US "Coulees").  Glaciers also directly caused other

                                     landscape features which are already observed today,  on scales from small hills and ponds to large

                                     islands and peninsulas (Long Island, Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, etc.)

 

                                          Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been far higher that today's in the geologic past.  Life

                                      did not die out: in fact it flourished in areas which are presently buried under a mile or more of ice.  I

                                      would have added that the entire history of human civilization is crammed into about 12,000 years of

                                      very natural warming which represents one of several episodic interruptions in the current ice age. If

                                      another glacial advance occurs, as would normally occur naturally, the effects on humanity would be

                                      catastrophic, causing most of the earth to become completely uninhabitable by people, most animals,

                                      and all higher plants. Primates are essentially a tropical group of mammals, and man alone has settled

                                      well out of the tropics, solely by virtue of burning carbonaceous fuels to keep warm during the winter.

                                      The present human population is almost totally dependent on fossil fuels for agriculture and industry.

 

                                           The speaker repeated the common assertion that anthropogenic global warming is agreed upon

                                       by all but a handful of scientists. I mentioned to the speaker that the earth was warmer during the

                                       Medieval Warm Period, which was followed by the Little Ice Age.  Both of these extended periods of

                                       time occurred before industrialization and any significant use of fossil fuels. He was dismissive of

                                       these facts and had no valid scientific explanation.  We now know that the Little Ice Age occurred

                                       during an inexplicable non-sunspot period. We also know that the sun's output is not constant and

                                       must play a significant role in any climate change scenario.     ....... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey

 

                                            Regardless of your personal view on this subject,  the whole story of anthropogenic global 

                                            warming is one that any thoughtful conservationist, environmentalist, and student of natural

                                            history should try to be well informed on.  However, it is sometimes almost impossible to stay

                                            within the boundaries of unbiased, factually based information and opinion regarding this

                                            topic. No "true scientist"  would ever say that the science on the issue is "settled". Those  

                                            statements usually come from the media, and a wide variety of non-scientists who are going

                                            along with the popular opinion of the day, or "scientists" on either side of the issue whose

                                            government grants or industry interests are funding their research. Statements of "settled

                                            science" should always be a warning sign. One only has to look at the development of our

                                            current view of the dynamics of the solar system as an example.  The ancient "geocentric"                              

                                            theory of Ptolemy was replaced in the 16th Century by the "heliocentric" Copernican system

                                            with its circular orbits of the planets. (consider Galileo on his lack of acceptance of that "settled

                                            science"). Then along came Kepler in the 17th century with elliptical orbits which cleared up a

                                            lot of the Copernican discrepancies. Settled science ?  Not yet.  Early in the twentieth century

                                            Einstein modified that view, showing that time, mass, and space were "relative", accounting 

                                            for very minor, but observable discrepancies in the Keplerian model.  No astronomer today

                                            would ever use the term "settled science" to describe our current view of this model.  In our

                                            lifetimes, one can look to Geology for another example.  Prior to the 1940s, the Wegnerian

                                            view of "continental drift" explained the distribution of land masses on the earth's surface. 

                                            Then in the 1960s, "plate tectonics" entered the lexicon. In the 1980s "terrane accretion theory"

                                            further modified the geologists view of the formational process of the earth's crust.  No true

                                            geologist would ever refer to our current view of crustal formation and modification as "settled

                                            science".  When talking to people who profess to have all the answers to "climate change"  I  

                                            always ask them if they can name the "other" atmospheric greenhouse gases, and if they could

                                            give me a quick,  scientifically accurate,  two minute high school level explanation of the                                        

                                            "Greenhouse Effect". If I get a blank stare, I try and move the conversation to sports !  ....  CS

                              

              

             .                                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

    MONADNOCK SKIES -  October 2014 

 

           

      October , .........       Early Fall Constellations - Early in the month and well into mid-month, the three bright stars of the

                                        "Summer Triangle" asterism (Altair, Vega and Deneb) are still visible in the western sky in early evening.

                                        Moving on to center stage early in the month and also into mid-month,  are the early fall constellations 

                                        of Pegasus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Perseus.  The famous fall asterism, the Great Square, can be

                                        seen approaching the zenith by mid month at around nine to ten o'clock. The easternmost stars of

                                        the Great Square form the body of Pegasus and the northeasternmost star of the grouping is in the

                                        constellation Andromeda.

                                        

      October, ..........      The Planets This Month  -   Saturn is very low in the WSW. The ringed planet sets about two hours 

                                         after sunset at the start of October. By month's end, Saturn sets about one hour after sunset and is lost

                                         in the glare of the sun. Mars is in the SW at dusk, slightly higher in the sky and to the south of Saturn.

                                         The red planet sets about three hours after the sun throughout the month. It shines with a magnitude

                                         about +0.8 . The morning sky is still dominated by the planet Jupiter.  Early in the month, about two

                                         hours before sunrise, Jupiter can be seen above the bright star Regulus in Leo the Lion.  Venus has 

                                         left the morning sky, disappearing behind the sun. It will reappear in the evening sky in December.                                  

                                                   

      October 1, ...........   First Quarter Moon

                                         

      October 8, ...........   Full Moon - The Hunters Moon - Native Americans named this month's full moon after the start of

                                         the fall hunting season as  they looked to begin accumulating and storing food for the winter months

                                         ahead. Sometimes referred to as The Blood Moon or The Sanguine Moon. The Hunters Moon is

                                         generally accorded special honor, historically serving as a special feast day in Western Europe and

                                         among Native Americans.

 

      October 8, ...........   Total Lunar Eclipse -  A total lunar eclipse will occur this morning and part of it will be visible in

                                         the Monadnock Region.  The Penumbral phase of the eclipse as the moon enters the penumbral

                                         shadow of the earth at about 4:17 AM. The moon will then enter the darker portion of the earth's

                                         shadow, the umbra, at about 5:18 AM. During these two phases of the eclipse, the moon will be very 

                                         close to the horizon making viewing difficult for regional viewers. As the total phase of the eclipse

                                         begins, the moon is almost on the horizon. Almost all of the total phase of the eclipse will not be visible

                                         to regional viewers since it will occur after the moon sets in our area at about 6:53 AM.   

                                       

      October 8, ...........   Bright International Space Station Passage - Weather permitting,  tonight offers Monadnock Sky

                                         watchers an opportunity to view a bright passage of the ISS over the Monadnock Region. Face the SW

                                         a couple of minutes before the scheduled first appearance of the ISS about 10 degrees above the

                                         horizon at 7:36:23 PM. The station will appear as a bright starlike object slowly gaining in altitude. It

                                         will pass directly through The Summer Triangle, reaching its highest elevation about 76 degrees above

                                         the horizon in the SE at 7:38:44 PM.  At this point it will be the brightest starlike object in the sky at a

                                         magnitude of - 3.4.   It will pass above the asterism The Great Square of Pegasus and will disappear at

                                         7:40:50 PM in the ENE as it enters the earth's shadow.  Viewers should be aware that the exact times 

                                         and elevations based on computer projections and vary slightly as the date of the passage approaches.

                                         Check  the Heavens Above website for the latest times and a sky map showing the exact path of the

                                         passage.

 

      October 8, ...........    Draconid Meteor Shower - This year's Draconids will be almost completely washed out by the full

                                         moon. The shower which occurs on the evening of the 8th into the morning of the 9th, usually only

                                         produces about 10 yellowish meteors per hour. The shower radiant is in the constellation Draco.      

 

       October 11, ..........  Second Bright International Space Station Passage - Another bright passage of the International

                                          Space Station is scheduled for this evening.  Weather permitting, viewers should face the WSW a few

                                          minutes before the scheduled first appearance of the Station about 10 degrees above the horizon at

                                          6:43:14 PM.  The bright starlike object will slowly gain altitude, passing close to the star Vega, near the

                                          zenith at an altitude of 73 degrees at 6:46:32 PM. It will then slowly lose altitude moving to the NE and

                                          will finally be lost from view at about 6:49:52 PM.  At its Max. altitude the station will be the brightest

                                          starlike object in the sky at a magnitude of - 3.1. Exact times and positions change slightly as the date

                                          of the passage approaches. Check the Heavens Above website for exact times and a detailed sky map 

                                          of the passage.                                            

                        

       October 15, ..........  Last Quarter Moon

 

       October 20, ..........  Orionid Meteor Shower -   The Orionids meteor shower is predicted to peak during the evening of

                                           the 20th and into the morning hours of the 21st. The shower usually produces about 20 fast moving, 

                                           yellowish to greenish meteors per hour.  The shower sometimes produces fireballs. The shower 

                                           radiant is near the red star Betelgeuse in the constellation of Orion.  The materials producing the 

                                           meteors,  as these particles enter and burn up in the earth's atmosphere, are debris from the orbit

                                           of Halley's Comet.  The waning crescent moon should not affect viewing.                                                         

 

       October 23, ..........   New Moon

 

      October 30, ..........    First Quarter Moon

 

 

 

  MONADNOCK REGION NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS CALENDAR -  October 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.

 

 

      October 2, .............  The Story of Pollination as Told by Plants and Insects - ESI Course - Session One -  Join

                                          entomologist Jenna Spear for four mornings of exploring the coevolution of plants and insects.

                                          Through lecture, readings and video footage, we'll look at structure, function and behavior to discover

                                           the fascinating interconnections of this complex partnership. We'll also learn how the current

                                           pollinator crisis will impact our own lives and what's being done about it.  (October 2, 9, 16 and 23,

                                           from 10 AM to noon at the Harris Center in Hancock)  $40 for Harris Center members, $60 for non-

                                           members. Preregistration required - Contact Sara at (603) 525-3394 or lefebvre@harriscenter.org

                                           Jenna Spear is an adjunct instructor at both Keene State College  and Antioch University New

                                           England. She has a master's Degree in Forest Entomology from the SUNY School of Forestry in

                                           Syracuse, NY, and has been teaching about insects in the Monadnock Region since moving here in

                                           2001.

 

       October 3, .............   Easygoing Hike to Purgatory Falls -  Join Lee Baker and Ollie Mutch for an easy 2.5 mile round-

                                            trip hike along beautiful Purgatory Brook to scenic Purgatory Falls in Milford. Bring water and lunch,

                                            and meet at 10 AM in the parking area beside Ocean State Job Lot in Peterborough (at the intersection

                                            of Routes 101 and 202) to carpool. Back by 3 PM. For more information, contact Ollie (603) 386-5318,

                                            wapack@peoplepc.com  of Lee  (603) 525-5262, snowman3137@gmail.com  Back by 3 PM. Harris

                                            Center hike.

 

        October 5, .............   A Hike on Marlow's Bald Mountain - A moderately strenuous 3.5 mile roundtrip hike on Bald Mt.

                                            to the Marlow Profile, with views of Mount Monadnock and several ski resorts. Bring water and lunch.

                                            Meet at 10 AM at the Bald Mt. parking area on Rt 123 (approximately 1 mile from Rt 10 in Marlow). Back

                                            by 3 PM. For more information, contact Russ Daigle (603) 477-7506 or Denny Wheeler (603) 313-0350,

                                            trip leaders.  Harris Center hike.  

                         

       October 7, ..............   A Forts and Wilderness Survival Skills Afterschool Club - Session One - Join Catlin Houlihan

                                            for four Tuesdays after school (October 7, 14, 21 and 28) to design, construct and live in your very own

                                            Harris Center fort !  See what kind of home you can build using logs, sticks, trees and boulders. Along

                                            the way, you'll learn wilderness survival skills, from building a fire, to making a water trap, to basic

                                            wilderness first aid and orienteering. Preregistration required - Contact Sara at (603) 525-3394 or

                                            lefebvre@harriscenter.org

                                                                                                                                        .

     October 8, ..............   A Community of Women Dreaming of Getting (Back) Into Hiking - Session One - Weds,

                                            October 8, 15, 22 and 29 from noon to 3 PM. Meeting at the Center to carpool to local hiking 

                                            destinations. We'll hike, picnic and renew our connection with nature on local trails in the brilliance

                                            of October light. Participants will: become familiar with easy to moderately challenging trails in the

                                            Monadnock Region, meet a group of women who may wish to hike together outside of this course, 

                                            gain confidence as hike planners, discover nature's surprises by slowing down and observing with

                                            all our senses, get a strong dose of Vitamin N (Nature). New hikers and women who want a boost to 

                                            get back into their hiking lives are encouraged to join. $40 for Harris Center members, $60 for non-

                                            members. pre-registration required. Facilitated by Janet Altobello, Harris Center School Program

                                            Coordinator and lifelong hiker. To register, or for more information, contact Sara at *(603) 525-3394

                                            or lefebvre@harriscenter.org.  

                                                  

      October 11, ............   Table Rock to Fall Mountain -  A moderately strenuous, 4 mile roundtrip hike to Fall Mountain via

                                            Table Rock, with sweeping views of the Connecticut River Valley  from Ascutney south to Westminster.

                                            Bring water and lunch, and meet at 10 AM  the Shaw's parking lot on Rt 12 in Walpole to carpool.

                                            Back by 3 PM. For more information, contact trip leaders Russ Daigle (603) 477-7506 or Brian Bishoff

                                            (603) 899-5770.  Harris Center Program.  

   

      October 12, ............    Birding the Pumpelly Trail -  A strenuous 3 mile hike partway up Mount Monadnock to Pumpelly

                                             Ridge to see migratory hawks, eagles and falcons.  Bring water, lunch and binoculars, and meet at

                                             9 AM at Tom Warren's house (19 Pumpelly Lane, Dublin). Back by 1 PM. For more information contact 

                                             trip leaders Tom Warren (603) 563-7190 or Ben Haubrich (6030547-2075. Harris Center Program.   

 

       October 16, ...........    Beavers: Nuisance or Ecosystem Engineers ? - Beaver dams can flood roads and houses,

                                             and beavers kill trees.... but they also provide us with essential services such as storage of flood

                                             water, nutrient control, and habitat for other organisms. Join us for a talk by river ecologist Dr. Denise

                                             Burchsted, who will describe the impacts ("good, bad, and somewhere in between") of beaver dams

                                             on river systems - including findings  from some of her recent research on Harris Center lands and

                                             waters. 7 to 8:30 PM at the Harris Center in Hancock. For more information, contact Brett Amy Thelen

                                             (603) 358-2065.

 

       October, 18, ..........   Hiking Otter Brook Preserve - A moderately strenuous, 5 mile hike to  Bolster Pond via Warren

                                             Hill, and returning by Ellis Reservoir. Bring water and lunch, and meet at 9:30 AM at the Preserve

                                             parking area on Bowlder Road in Sullivan. (From Rt. 9, turn north over the Center Street Bridge , then

                                             right onto Valley Road. Continue 2 miles to a right fork onto Bowlder Road. The Preserve parking lot

                                             is about 1/4 mile up Bowlder Road on the right) back by 3 PM. For more information, contact trip

                                             leaders Roger and Anne Sweet (603) 847-3465. Harris Center program.

 

       October 19, ............   Harris Center Annual Meeting - Save the date ! Join fellow Harris Center supporters and staff for

                                             our Annual Meeting.  The program will feature a brief business meeting, highlights from the past year,

                                             special recognitions and more. 1:3- to 3:30 PM at the Harris Center. RSVP at (603) 525-3394.

 

        October 21, ...........   A Select History of Agriculture in the Monadnock Region - ESI Course - Session One - Join

                                             the Harris Center and the Monadnock Center for History and Culture for four Tuesday mornings

                                             (October 21, 28, November 4, 18) to hear local experts explore different aspects of the Monadnock

                                             Region's agricultural history. Archeologist Dr. Bob Goodby will kick off the series with an overview

                                             of how native cultures in New England farmed the land. Local historian Eric Aldrich will look at the

                                             role of hilltop farms in this region.  Bruce Clement from Walpole will present on the sheep boom and

                                             how it shaped the landscape and rural culture of this area in the 19th century. Author and gardening

                                             expert Roger Swain will conclude the series with an exploration of the unique history of cultivated

                                             blueberries in the Monadnock Region. Cosponsored by the Harris Center and the Monadnock Center

                                             for History and Culture.  $40 for Harris center members, $60 for non-members. Preregistration is

                                             required. Contact Sara at (603) 525-3394 or lefebvre@harriscenter.org

 

       October 23, ............   The Migratory Bird Treaty of 1916 -  A century ago, conservationists faced a crisis - the birds of

                                             America were under assault.   In this illustrated talk, birder and historian Kurk Dorsey will explain the

                                             origins of a law that is still saving our birds after nearly 100 years.  7 to 8:30 PM at the Harris Center.

                                             For more information, contact Susie Spikol Faber (603) 525-3394.

 

        October 25, ............   Interpreting Natural History - A walk to learn how to find clues that point to human and natural

                                              disturbances that affects forests, such as logging, farming, hurricanes, insects and more. 1:00 to

                                              3 PM at the Horatio Colony Nature Preserve, Keene. Free. For more information: (603) 352-0460 

 

        October 25, ............   Pellet Stoves: Get the Heat on These Heaters -  Join Ken MacDonald (author of The Pellet

                                              Stove Almanack: Home Heating Joins the 21st Century) and Mark Froling (Founder and President

                                              of Froling Energy) to learn about the environmental, economic, and personal benefits of wood pellet

                                              stoves and boiler systems in home and municipal buildings. The program includes a tour of the

                                              Harris Center's new pellet boiler system and an opportunity to purchase Ken's book. 10 to 11:30 AM

                                              at the Harris Center in Hancock. For more information, contact Susie Spikol Faber (603) 525-3394. 

 

 

 

 

   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:                                        

                                    (www.monadnockconservancy.org)

 

                                   ........ 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.

                                            www.friendsofpisgah.org/  or  (http://www.chesterfieldoutdoors.com/)

                                   

                                    ........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

                                            (http://www.wapack.org/index.html)

 

                                   ........ 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

                                             information: (http://brattleborooutingclub.org)

    

                                   ........ 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.

                                             (http://sites.google.com/site/keenemineralclub/home)

 

                                   ....... 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.

                                            (http://www.keeneastronomy.org/)

 

 

 

 MONADNOCK NATURAL HISTORY RESOURCES   

 

 

 

                           ..........  The Secrets of Wildflowers -  Jack Sanders (2003, Soft Cover Edition 2014)  - While

                                        browsing the Natural History section of the Toadstool Bookstore in Peterborough, I came

                                        across a re-issue of this, one of my favorite wildflower books.  Updated and more affordable

                                        in soft cover,  this is a volume which should be on the shelf of every Monadnock natural 

                                        history buff.  Simply,  a beautifully written treasure trove of information and little known lore

                                        about regional wildflowers. A wonderful gift idea for the nature lover(s) among family or 

                                        friends.  "Sanders celebrates more than 100 varieties of wildflowers and explores the roles 

                                        of these plants in the environment, as well as their cultural and natural history. Much more 

                                        than just a field guide, this book details the most interesting facets of these plants including

                                        relevant folklore, uses, name origins and even their places in literature." ..... Science News,             

                                        "Bursting with odd facts and wonderful superstitions about our most beautiful and common

                                        plants. Richer and more varied than any field guide. An essential book for the naturalist's

                                        library."  ..... New England Wildflower Society

 

                             .......... 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

                                        without."  (www.northernwoodlands.org)                                     

                                                                

                               ........ 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

                                         at:  (http://www.forestsociety.org/news/forest-notes.asp)

                                    

                                ........ 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:

                                         (http://www.nhaudubon.org/programs/afield)      

 

                                ........  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                           

                                                     

                                         

 

  MONADNOCK LINKS

 

 

                         ..........  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

                                      website. (http://www.noaa.gov)

 

                          ..........  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.

                                      (http://nhmountainlion.wordpress.com/about/#comment-71)

 

                           .........   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 

                                        information.  (http://www.nhweatherdata.com/lightning.html)

                                              

                             .........  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.

                                         (http://www.almanac,com

 

                              .......... Naturally Curious with Mary Holland - Follow the regional natural history scene throughout

                                         the year through the comments, images and insights of one of New England's premier naturalists.

                                         Mary's blog site should be a shortcut on the computer desktop of anyone interested in our natural

                                         world.  (http://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/)

 

                               .......... New Hampshire Mineral Species - This site is dedicated to the documentation and confirmation

                                          of New Hampshire mineral species. Developed and maintained by Tom Mortimer, the site contains a

                                          listing of 293 New Hampshire species with images of 259 of these species. The vast majority of the

                                          over 1100 images on the site are thumbnail and micromount sized specimen images were taken by

                                          Tom. (http://mindatnh.org)

 

                               ..........  Antrim - Bennington Outdoor Guide - A wonderful resource for outdoor locations and activities

                                           in the region (http://www.antrimnh.org/Pages/AntrimNH_WebDocs/Outdoor_Guide.pdf)

 

                               ..........  New Hampshire Garden Solutions: Exploring Nature in New Hampshire  - A general

                                           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

                                           photography (http://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/)

 

 

 

 

                  The monthly Monadnock Nature Almanac is compiled and edited by Chuck Schmidt, Hancock, NH.  To share your

             observations or subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the free e-mail, contact brimstone108@myfairpoint.net .   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.