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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. 

 

 

                                    

                                            "Only those within whose own consciousness the sun rise and set, the leaves burgeon

                                              and wither, can be said to be aware of what living is."   ..... Joseph Wood Krutch                                                  

 

 

 

 

  MONADNOCK NATURE NOTES........ November 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.

 

  

     November, ..........      "It is not yet four thirty and the sun is setting behind the low ridge to the west. The last,  long light 

                                          climbs from the valley's frosted pasture grass up the gray trunks of the naked maples and seems

                                          to pause on the hilltops to the east. Then it is gone.  Twilight, the glow of November evening,

                                          possesses the day.  At first there is a bright shadowless light, a sunless daylight. Then the glow 

                                          comes, a rosy suffusion so subtle. The air seems to thin and brighten, and the chill diminishes

                                          distances. The glow fades, Dusk creeps in, unhurried but insistent, and the clarity of vision dims.

                                          And time somehow has lost its dimensions. It is evening and it is autumn.  Sunset, twilight, dusk,

                                          darkness, all by six on a mid-November evening, fall's summary of serenity." .....  Hal Borland, Twelve

                                             Moons of the Year

 

      November 1, ........   An overlooked observation item from last month (mea culpa, mea culpa....) Driveway report from 

                                          Hillsborough... This year's mast production of acorns is the largest we've seen since 2002. We 

                                          don't go out without hats on lest we get a knock on the noggin. We hear from fiends that beechnuts

                                          are abundant in Hopkinton but we haven't seen evidence of them here.  ..... E. Anne Poole, Hillsborough 

                                              Anne's observation reminds me of the fall several years ago when I had to move my aluminum

                                          canoe out from under a large oak due to the incessant, and annoying, racket the falling acorns were

                                          making  .... CS

                                                                      

      November 1, ........   I was just reading all the paragraphs on the various foliage over the past month It has been

                                          interesting to observe.  The one I found interesting, in my own front yard, is the red maple that has

                                          just recently started to really drop leaves.  It started out as a very deep red/maroon color followed 

                                          in the past two weeks with a more green on the inner leaves and the rest have turned a beautiful

                                          bronze/gold. The Ash and other maples have long since lost all their leaves but this red one insists

                                          on keeping my lawn covered. many of the leaves are very large, seemingly larger than in past years.

                                          Is this normal or am I just catching up with it ?   ..... Barbara Caverly, Hancock

                                              When it comes to fall foliage colors, you think you have the science (as complex as it is) down

                                          pat, and then Ma Nature keeps you humble with an inexplicable "curve ball".  I've long since

                                          stopped trying to figure out all the fall foliage anomalies.   .....   CS

 

       November 4, .......   Suddenly, while facing Norway Pond from my usual perch, titmice came streaming by, in twos and 

                                          threes. There were at least a dozen (And to think that 40 years ago the species was uncommon 

                                          around here).  At about the same time, a couple of downy woodpeckers, chickadees, and a white-

                                          breasted nuthatch dropped in, while 20 or more Canada geese paddled afar.  A chipmunk hesitated

                                          with an acorn in its mouth, yet eventually crossed three feet in front of me. It's no wonder that I sit

                                          here virtually every day; graveyards and wildlife are often winning combinations. ... Neal Clark, Hancock  

 

       November 7,........   Low clouds and fog wrapped their ghostly fingers around Pack, though it managed to slip away

                                          from their grasp time and time again to steal glimpses of Crotched Mountain and beyond. Snow

                                          flurries blew in on the NW wind, accumulating in the nooks and crannies of one's scope and dusting

                                          the watchers with white. The temperature began not far above freezing,  and gradually fell as the day

                                          wore on.

                                               Red-tailed Hawks once again nearly swept the count. Diversity came early on golden wings

                                          soaring to bridge the gap between earth and cloud.  An immature Bald Eagle swooped in from

                                          above, flaunting its bare legs to the Golden Eagle's feathered. The Ravens strove to get in on the

                                          action, and within minutes the eagles went their separate ways.

                                               ..... Katrina Fenton,  Audubon Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough

 

       November 8, ......    " I like spring, but it is too young.

                                          I like summer, but it is too proud.

                                          So I like best of all Autumn

                                          because its tone is mellower,

                                          its colors are richer.

                                          and it is tinged with a little sorrow.

                                          Its golden richness speaks

                                          not of the innocence of spring,

                                          nor the power of summer,

                                          but of the mellowness

                                          and kindly wisdom of approaching age.

                                          It knows the limitations of life and its content."

                                              Lin Yutang, ...  submitted by Ellen Taylor, Rindge

 

       November 10, ......  As I look out my window, I can see the wind in swirling gusts blow the fallen leaves crazily over the

                                          ground.  Only yesterday, or so it seems, they were resplendent in yellows and golds, russets and

                                          reds. Now, tattered and torn, they lie scattered about, the playthings of every willful breeze, a poignant

                                          reminder that the winter season is just ahead. Only the rosy glow in the sky as the sun disappears

                                          below the horizon remains as the essence of October's brilliance. Traditionally November is bleak

                                          and cheerless, but actually it is as capricious as March, rather a struggling mixture of summer and

                                          winter, its moods changing with the varying winds. For there are days when the sun shines brightly

                                          and the air is warm and soft as that of May. Sometimes you can walk in the woods and see moths

                                          flying about like so many tiny ghosts, or the caps of the Pholiota gleaming like unset jewels on a

                                          decrepit log.  You can walk along a country road and see golden dandelions and the purple asters,

                                          or hear the singing of one last snatch of birdsong before the singer sets out on his southward

                                          journey. But then tomorrow the skies may grow leaden and heavy with the threat that legions of

                                          cold may sweep down from Canada and bring a snowstorm with them.   ..... Richard Headstrom, Nature

                                           in Miniature

 

       November 11, ......  The sky was full of shifting patterns of aquamarine, dove gray, and milky white laced with salmon.

                                           Partly cloudy skies grew overcast, then cleared, then filled again with a veil of clouds that couldn't

                                           quite hide the sun.The wind was out of the west, just strong enough to gently play a rustling melody

                                           on the oak leaves. temperatures reached the mid 40s.

                                                A Northern Goshawk has been spending much of the week patrolling North Pack, harassing

                                           Ravens and dive bombing migrants. A Merlin couldn't resist perching at the summit towards the end

                                           of the day, its plumage a rich molten chocolate laced with cream in the afternoon light. Nearly half

                                           the migrants came in the 10 AM hour when the sun pulled them up towards the heavens. Clouds

                                           thickened a little while later, shutting down thermals and keeping most birds too low to be observed.

                                                ..... Katrina Fenton, Audubon pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough

 

         November 12, .....  Another Mountain Lion Sighting ? -  I have received multiple reports of a second mountain lion

                                           sighting in the Route 123 area about a half mile south of Hancock Village. The, apparently very 

                                           reliable,  sighting was made in almost the same area as Anne Luker's July 7th sighting as reported

                                           in the august MNA.... near Pickering Farm Road off  Peterborough Road (Rt 123).  I have been

                                           attempting to contact the observer for more details. Will update with any additional information that

                                           I receive.  .... CS 

 

         November 12, ..... The autumn woods smell wonderful into early to mid November, if the snows haven't arrived. The

                                           cornucopia of wet leaves is the apparent source of the smell.  It's odd how few words we have to

                                           describe smells; I can't find the right ones now to capture the aroma of an autumn woods. In her

                                           book A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman says we can detect 10,000 different odors,                

                                           but "smell is the mute sense, the one without words."  Our lack of vocabulary is all the more

                                           remarkable given the fact that we breathe some 23,000 times a day: each inhalation brings in a

                                           constellation of smells, and each exhalation changes the air around us. We do have deep and

                                           poignant memories of smells - links that shoot us back in time to a moment in a kitchen, a walk

                                           in the woods, a new car, or a member of the opposite sex. As Ackerman says. "Hit a tripwire of

                                           smell, and memories explode all at once."  Most animals are far better at detecting scents than we

                                           are. Salmon can smell their original spawning waters and return home over hundreds of miles.

                                           From over two miles away, male moths can smell the pheromones of a female seeking a relationship,

                                           And all kinds of mammals leave their scent on just about every standing object, their calling cards

                                           as clear as messages on our answering machines. :At the sound of the beep, just urinate here."                 

                                           My point, you ask ? Breathe deeply, draw in the northwoods and all its aromas while you can,

                                           because the snow is coming.     ..... John Bates, Naturally Curious: Fall and Winter

 

         November 12, .....  My husband and I were heading into Brattleboro this morning when we noticed two coyotes 

                                           walking across a field just off the road. They were about a hundred yards away and did not seem

                                           to be disturbed by the passage of the car. We stopped to watch them for about five minutes.

                                           They were moving slowly, both looking down toward the ground. I guess they were looking for

                                           mice or voles.  This is the same area where I saw a red fox "pouncing" through the snow cover

                                           attempting to capture similar prey during the winter a year or two back. ..... Maureen Pratt, Brattleboro 

                                                            

         November 13, .....  Yesterday's cold front brought a hint of winter to the air with temperatures sitting at freezing for the

                                            start of the count and only warming to 40 degrees. The west wind grew bored gradually bored with

                                            blowing and eventually did little more than push around a column of smoke rising to the east. The

                                            sky was a painter's pallet grown messy with streaks of color blended with white and gray, eventually

                                            the blue was used up and sooty slate applied instead. The snowy crown of Mount Washington 

                                            glinted through the haze for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

                                                   This late in the season its always a good sign if you have your first bird before 10 AM. Today, the

                                            first Red-tailed hawk was testing the air at 9:25 AM, followed not long after by a Sharp-shinned Hawk.

                                            Bald Eagles came fast and furious over the next 80 minutes or so, two immatures followed by a

                                            couple of adults with a young bird joining them and another sub-adult trailing a short time behind.

                                            Most birds were distant, though a Red-shouldered Hawk swirled into view right in front of the

                                            mountain in a dizzying array of jasper, quartz and onyx. 

                                                 ..... Katrina Fenton, Audubon pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough            

 

         November 15, .....   Morning found pack coated in a couple of inches of fresh powder. Every Spruce and Fir was wrapped

                                            in white, releasing smoke-plumes of glittering confetti with each puff of the wind. The sky was a patch-

                                            work of  fluffy cumulus and clear blue in ever shifting patterns. It was around noon before the first

                                            raptor was spotted, a red-tailed gliding low through the valley. The volume of migrants increased over

                                            the next couple of hours, then ended with an immature northern goshawk wich called as it flew below

                                            the summit.  ......  Katrina Fenton, Audubon Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough

                                                As the observing and counting season draws to a close, here are some of the count totals for 2014.

                                            (Season count total 13,523, Turkey Vulture 99, Osprey 213, Bald Eagle 119, Northern harrier 85, Sharp-

                                            shinned Hawk 1093, Cooper's Hawk 126, Northern Goshawk 22, Red-shouldered hawk 126, Broad-

                                            winged Hawk 11,043,  Red-tailed Hawk 309, Golden Eagle 7, American Kestrel 112, Merlin 80,

                                            Peregrine Falcon 39) .....  A word of thanks and appreciation for Katrina Fenton and all of the other

                                            observers and reporters at the Observatory during the 2014 season.  .....  CS

                                   

         November 18, ....... Francestown residents now have a new hiking trail, and they commemorated the opening day with   

                                            a walk in the woods on Sunday 11/14. Eight Francestown residents joined Francestown Land Trust

                                            Head Ben Haubrich and frequent Harris Center Field Trip leader, to explore a new  3/4 mile stretch

                                            that connects the Shattuck Pond Trail and the Dismore Brook Trail. Haubrich stopped often along

                                            the hike for landmarks, at one point  pointing out a patch of dirt that a buck had created by dragging

                                            his antlers through the grass. Haubrich also pointed out a grid of shallow holes in a maple tree left

                                            by a yellow-bellied sapsucker. He noted that he often sees hummingbirds coming to feed on the

                                            tree's sap thanks to the sapsucker's holes. The trail still needs some work for humans to be fully

                                            safe on it. The project is planned to be completed in the spring, and maybe even earlier if the winter

                                            is not too cold and if there is not too much snow.  ...... Excerpted  David Blumenthal's article in the 11/18,

                                             Monadnock Ledger-Transcript   ...... CS

 

         November 19, ......  The United States received a remarkable invasion of Snowy Owls last winter, with individuals making

                                             it south to Florida and Bermuda. It was perhaps the greatest incursion of the species into the north-

                                             eastern United States since the winter 0f 1926/27, when 1,000 birds were recorded in New England,

                                             with 294 in Massachusetts alone. I observed a Snowy last week on Star Island. It is too early to tell,

                                             but perhaps it marks the beginning of an echo flight, a wonderful term that describes a reduced, but

                                             still elevated migration that occasionally follows massive flight years. Doubtless the population of

                                             Snowy Owls in Quebec has returned closer to normal since the high point of late fall 2013, but unless

                                             all of the extra owls have died, then it stands to reason that we might see more than usual again this

                                             winter, though nothing like last year.    ..... Eric Masterson, excerpted from his "Beyond Birding" Column in

                                               the 11/19 Monadnock Shopper News

 

         November 21, .....   I was driving towards Walpole on Rt 12 north of Keene yesterday. I was surprised to spot a Great

                                            Blue heron standing in a flooded swampy area to the left (west) of the roadway.  Given the low

                                            temperatures of the last couple of weeks, I would have assumed that these birds had taken off by

                                            now for warmer regions to our south.  .....  Ed Mankowski, Keene

                                                It is not uncommon for Great Blues to hang around until their shallow water feeding areas have

                                            become completely frozen over. Sometimes, in unusually warm weather, they can even be seen in

                                            December. Interesting, since many avian migratory instincts are triggered by ingrained factors other                                           

                                            than available food sources.   .... CS

 

         November 22, .....   I visited Fremont Fields in Peterborough and heard something so interesting I walked a few hundred

                                            feet back to the car to get the binoculars. There was a whole flock of Eastern Bluebirds twittering

                                            and flying around.  At least 10 and probably 20 ore more. I've never encountered a flock of Bluebirds

                                            so large that their calls made a continuous sound, as would commonly occur with blackbirds. I

                                            watched four dining on berries in a single Winterberry Holly bush, and the view of the blue plumage

                                            and orange-red fruit, amidst a setting otherwise all dull shades of brown, was strikingly beautiful.

                                              .....  Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey

                           

         November 24, .....   A suet whodunit - With the cold snap and a  noticeable turn towards winter in the weather, I decided a

                                            couple weeks ago, to begin filling my one suet feeder cage, The cage is a standard 5" x 5" x 1" wire

                                            one. Within a few days I had the usual birds putting in an appearance (blue jays, downy and hairy

                                            woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, nuthatches, etc.)  Normally it takes these guys anywhere

                                            from four or five days to a week to whittle the suet cake down to a nub, requiring a refill. However, on

                                            several occasions I would look out in the morning the day after I had put out a new suet cake, and

                                            lo and behold the cake was gone !  I assumed something came in overnight and ate the whole cake.

                                            I have a motion detector-security light which covers that area, and whenever it came on over the

                                            next few weeks, I would look out and see nothing near the suet.  I came up with several possibilities.

                                            Maybe this brand of suet was more soluble than usual and dissolved overnight in a steady rain. That

                                            wasn't the case since I watched the suet when we had a steady daytime rain and it held up just

                                            fine. Once in a while I see squirrels at the suet in the daytime, but they seem to nibble a bit and leave,

                                            so that didn't seem like the answer. I thought possibly raccoons, but they should set off the motion

                                            detector, and when it did go off, I didn't see any in the vicinity. Flying squirrels possibly ? They are

                                            nocturnal, but they should set off the security light.  So, I am still trying to figure it out and will

                                            keep on observing and making a note of how often it happens.  .... Steve Harris, Hillsborough

  

                                                A suet observation - Every couple of years I find myself in Ocean State Job Lot purchasing an

                                            inexpensive ($8 - on sale) cage type birdseed feeder. The green, cylindrical, heavy wire cage is  

                                            advertised as "squirrel proof"...... sure ..... anyway..... the squirrels, and more often the raccoons,

                                            invariably throw the feeder to the ground where the interior plastic seed holding cylinder shatters

                                            due to the brittleness of the plastic in the extreme cold of a typical Monadnock Region January.

                                            A season or two (and several feet of duct tape) later, I find myself back at Ocean State buying another

                                            feeder. This means that over the years, I have accumulated a collection of the cylindrical wire

                                            cylindrical frames,  sans the shattered interior plastic seed holders.  A couple of years back, I began

                                            using these frames to hold suet.  Now, I regularly purchase inexpensive beef suet at the local

                                            supermarket and fill these empty wire frames with it.  The suet lasts for weeks, needing only an

                                            occasional partial rotation to present a fresh surface to my avian visitors.  Works great  ..... CS

 

          November 25, .....  Some Current Reading Selections Well Worth Tracking Down -

 

                                                    - Raptors Mate for Life,  but Rarely Grieve, Chris MartinNH Audubon Afield (Fall 2014)

                                                    - What's Bugging Our Moose ?, Kristine  Rines, NH Wildlife Journal  (Nov-Dec 2014)      

                                                    - On the Front Lines of the Bug Battle, George F. Frame, SPNHF Forest Notes (Autumn 2014)

                                                                    

                                                     ...and, as usual, a variety of offerings from Northern Woodlands Magazine (Aurumn 20214)

 

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

                                                             - The Rockin Robin, Bryan Pfeiffer

                                                             - Going Big: Big Trees of New Hampshire, Patrick White

                                                             - The Outside Story: Meat Eating Trees ?, Kent Mcfarland

                                                             - The Overstory: Pin Cherry, Virginia Barlow

 

          November 28, .....  Today marks the opening of a month long exhibit and sale of Dr. Robert Sargent Fay's nature

                                             photography at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough.  Dr Fay, who passed away in May of last

                                             year in Hancock, rarely made his work available for sale. The exhibit in the Member's Gallery will be

                                             the widest variety of his work ever shown. Dr Fay became the first Professor Emeritus of Landmark

                                             College in Putney, Vt. where he was a teacher, tutor and photographer. Dr Fay's longest teaching

                                             tenure was at Conval High School where he taught English for 25 years and served as the Chair

                                             of the English Department.  Dr Fay's life became focused on following in the footsteps of Henry

                                             David Thoreau, who spent significant time in New England. The exhibit: Creative Places will run 

                                             from November 28th through December 24, Gallery hours are Monday - Saturday from 11 AM to                                            

                                             4 PM. For more information: http://www,sharonarts.org/exhibitions/creativeplaces or the Center at

                                             (603 924-7676    .... CS

                                                 

                                              

                                                 

                                            

         MONADNOCK MUSINGS                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                        

                                                                     American Beaver - Readying for Winter -  Mary Holland                                             

                            

 

                                           Picture a beaver silently gliding across a pond, head tilted ever so slightly upward as it cuts a

                                       smooth path through the water. A beaver's sense organs are aligned in a row so that it swims with

                                       only its nostrils, eyes and ears above the waterline, allowing it to escape detection by predators.

                                       Something on shore startles it, and immediately the beaver brings its tail up, slaps it down on the

                                       water, and dives below the surface. As soon as its nose hits the water its body automatically adapts

                                       and adjusts to the new environment below the surface. Valves in the beaver's nose and ears close

                                       instantly, sealing  out all water.  A transparent third eyelid, a nictitating membrane, slide across both

                                       eyes, providing protection from debris. Loose upper lips close behind the beaver's four front incisors

                                       permitting underwater gnawing without water or splinters entering its mouth. The beaver's

                                       large, webbed hind feet propel it forward at speeds up to 5 miles per hour. Its smaller and more

                                       dexterous forefeet, which aren't webbed, are balled up against its chest while swimming (above the

                                       surface they are used to carry mud and sticks, dig burrows, handle food, and comb fur), The broad,

                                       flat scaly tail regulates the beaver's temperature, stores fat, and performs as a rudder, helping the

                                       beaver swim in a desired direction. It also is used to deliver a warning signal when it is slapped

                                       against the water.                                      

                                           This time of year is when beavers must prepare for the coming winter months, as their movement

                                       will soon be restricted to the water below the ice that forms on the ponds surface.  While the pond is 

                                       frozen, the only food available will be that which they have stored. Beavers eat two pounds of bark a 

                                       day and there can be up to 10 beavers occupying a lodge over the winter so an ample supply of 

                                       food is essential to their survival. In November beavers cut and store a large pile of branches on the 

                                       bottom of the pond, near their lodge.  After felling a tree beavers remove the branches that are within

                                       reach. Usually they select branches that are 5 inches or less in diameter and then cut them into shorter

                                       lengths for easier transport. Their storage pile is usually visible,as it rises above the water level, and

                                       is often weighted down with larger limbs. The presence or absence of such a pile is a good indication

                                       of whether or not the lodge is active.

                                            In addition to gathering a winter food supply and transporting it to the pond, beavers must also

                                       make any necessary repairs to their lodge and dam (and build both is establishing a new lodge).

                                       Although beaver lodges can be built on river banks or on the edges of ponds, or even tunneled into a

                                       bank, most are constructed in the middle of a pond, providing the beavers with maximum protection.

                                       A pile of branches is made and then the interior hollowed out with the aid of the beaver's incisors,

                                       providing a sleeping area and a platform on which to feed. Usually there ate two or three underwater

                                       entrances. The pond's depth and the impenetrability of the lodge are both essential to the beaver's

                                       survival. There is so much to do that this normally nocturnal animal is frequently active both day and

                                       night at this time of year.

                                          ..... Mary Holland. excerpted, with permission from Mary's "Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and

                                                Month-by-Month Journey Through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England"

                         

                                        For much more information on the beaver, please check out the November section in Naturally

                                        Curious..... and ..... with the holiday season rapidly approaching, I again remind MNA readers, that

                                        "Naturally Curious" (2010) is arguably (IMHO) the best New England field guide and regional natural

                                        history book published in recent memory and should be on the bookshelf of every Monadnock Region

                                        student of the natural world.

 

                                       

             .                                                                                                                                        

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

    MONADNOCK SKIES -  November 2014 

 

           

      December, .......     Winter Constellations -  Moving on to center stage into mid-month,  are the 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 northeastern-most star of the grouping is in the

                                        constellation Andromeda.

                                        

      December, .....     The Planets This Month  -  The red planet Mars stays in the southwest at dusk all month long, 

                                       setting about 3 1/2 hours after the sun. By late December,  Venus makes an appearance low in the 

                                       southwest after its passing behind the sun in October. It slowly climbs higher and higher as the 

                                       month nears its end.  Jupiter rises in the east before midnight. By dawn it is high overhead. The 

                                       ringed planet Saturn rises low in the east-southeast early in the month about an hour before the 

                                       sun. By the end of the month it will rise about 3 hours before sunrise. Its rings are tilted about 24 

                                       from edgewise and are easily visible in a small telescope.                                           

                                                                                                                                                                  

       December 6, .....   Full Moon -  The Full Cold Moon - During December the winter cold fastens it's grips and the 

                                        nights are at their longest and darkest.  The term Long Night Moon is also used and is doubly

                                        appropriate because the moon is above the horizon for such a long time and has a high trajectory

                                        opposite the low daytime sun. As Hal Borland so aptly describes it: "The December full moon is no

                                        summer serenader's moon, no sentimental moon of silvery softness to match the rhyming of the

                                        ballad singer. It is a moon of ice, cold and distance.  It is the long winter night in cold splendor, night

                                        wrapped in frost, spangled and sequined and remote as Arcturus."

 

       December 7, ....... Bright Iridium Flare -  A very bright Iridium Flare will be visible to viewers in the Keene, Jaffrey, and

                                       Chesterfield region tonight.  Viewers should plan to be observing a few minutes before the flare, which

                                       is scheduled for 5:38:18 PM takes place. Times and brightness can change a bit due to the observer's

                                       specific position and the advance time from the prediction. This flare should approach magnitude - 8.4,

                                       as bright as Iridium flares reach. Face the NE and look for the flare about 57 degrees above the horizon,

                                       a bit less than 2/3 of the way up to the zenith near the constellation Cassiopeia. The flare is produced by

                                       sunlight reflecting off the surface of one the many Iridium communication satellites. The reflecting

                                       surface orientation is short-lived and the flare itself lasts only a few seconds. Tonight's flare is caused by

                                       Iridium 35.

 

      December 8, ......   Second Bright Iridium Flare -  Tonight affords skywatchers east of last night's Iridium flare to view a

                                        similar occurrence. This flare will be visible to viewers in the Peterborough, Hancock, Bennington, and

                                        Antrim region. Face the northeast (azimuth 43 degrees).  Look about 57 degrees above the horizon 

                                        (slightly less than 2/3 of the way up to the zenith). very near the constellation Cassiopeia, a few minutes

                                        before the flare scheduled for 5:32:40 PM.  The predicted brightness of this flare is also - 8.4. Flares vary 

                                        in time of occurrence based upon the observers specific location and the advance time of the prediction.

                                        Tonight's flare will be caused by Iridium 6 and will also last only a few seconds.  

 

       December 9, .......  Bright International Space Station Passage - Weather permitting, tonight offers Monadnock

                                         skywatchers an opportunity to view a bright ISS passage over our region in the early evening.

                                         Begin you viewing a few minutes before 6:13:46 PM when  the ISS is scheduled to appear about 10

                                         degrees above the horizon in the WSW. The ISS will climb straight up in the sky reaching an elevation

                                         of about 62 degrees above the horizon, still in the WSW. On its upward climb it will pass between the

                                         planet Mars and the star Altair (in the constellation of Aquilla). At that point, after reaching a magnitude

                                         of -3.0, at about 6:16:34 PM, it will blink out as it enters the earth's shadow. It is always interesting to

                                         remember that the ISS is roughly the size of a football field (with all of its solar array panels). The

                                         central living quarters have roughly the total volume of a 5 bedroom house or two 747s. It orbits at an

                                         average of 220 miles above the earths surface, completing a full orbit in about 90 minutes as it travels

                                         with a velocity of 17,500 mph. An international crew usually numbers 6 during any particular mission.

 

      December 10, .....  Second Bright International Space Station Passage -  Tonight give Monadnock skywatchers a

                                         second chance to view a bright ISS passage over the region in the early evening hours. Tonight's ISS

                                         passage is scheduled to begin around 5:23:26 PM. The ISS should appear about 10 degrees above

                                         the horizon in the SW. It will climb steadily to an elevation of about 54 degrees above the SE horizon,

                                         achieving a very bright - 3.0 magnitude.  It passes very close to Mars as it climbs upward, passing below

                                         the "Great Square" before  disappearing as it enters the earth's shadow.  Sky maps and complete details

                                         of ISS and other visible satellite passages over the region are available at the Heavens Above website.                                          

 

      December 13, ..... Geminid Meteor Shower - The Geminid Meteor Shower is usually one of the more reliable meteor

                                         showers of the year. The best viewing will probably be late on the evening of the 13th and into the

                                         early morning hours of the 14th. As like most meteor showers, some meteors may be seen a  day or

                                         two before and after the predicted peak. Although the last quarter moonlight will impede viewing, the

                                         brightness and frequency of the meteors shouldn't prevent observers from seeing enough meteors

                                         to make an attempt at viewing worthwhile. 

                                     

        December 14, ..... Last Quarter Moon

                                             

       December 21, .....  New Moon

 

       December 28, .....  First Quarter Moon

 

 

 

 

   MONADNOCK REGION NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS CALENDAR -  December  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.

 

 

      December 2, ........   First Session - Forever Evergreen Homeschool Program - Discover the greens in winter by

                                          getting to know the Monadnock Region's evergreen trees and shrubs.  Learn who they are, who eats 

                                          them and how they stay green through the whole year. We'll hear stories and myths about these 

                                          special plants and learn the science of their staying power. We'll find out how their boughs help 

                                          animals survive the winter, and we'll even take a sip and a bite out of these beautiful greens ourselves.

                                          Tuesdays, December 2, 9 ands 16 from 10 to 11:30 AM at the Harris Center in Hancock. For elementary

                                          school age children. $30 for Harris Center members/ $50 for nonmembers. Preregistration required.

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

 

       December 2, ........   US National Park and Wildlife Refuge Slideshow -  Andy and Beth Greenwood have spent the last

                                           15 years traveling to approximately 60 National parks and Wildlife refuges throughout the United

                                           States. Their digital presentation, with a focus on wildlife, begins in New Hampshire and ends in

                                           Alaska. 7 - 9 PM at the Harris Center in Hancock. For more information, contact Eric Masterson at 525-

                                           3394 or masterson@harriscenter.org

 

       December 5, .........  Easygoing Hike on Mount Watatic - A moderately easy 4 mile hike around Mount Watatic and

                                           Binney  Pond, ending at Ollie Mutch and Jan Miller's house for soup and sandwiches.  Bring water,

                                           lunch, and meet at 10 AM in the parking area beside Ocean State Job Lot in Peterborough to carpool.

                                           Back by 3 PM. For more information, contact Lee baker  525-5252 (snowman3137@gmail.com) or

                                           Ollie Mutch 386-5318  (wapack@peoplepc.com), trip leaders. Back by 3 PM.

 

      December 10, ......   The Plight of the Bumble Bee -  Several species of bumble bee have disappeared from New

                                            England over the last few decades (three species lost from Vermont), and some have vanished

                                            altogether. Their loss from parts of China is so severe that certain crops are now pollinated by

                                            hand. Sara Zehendra, biologist with the Vermont Bumble Bee Survey led by the Vermont Center  

                                            For Ecostudies, will discuss several aspects of bumble bee natural history, including diversity,

                                            distribution, colony cycle, conservation status, and their role as pollinators. 7 to 9 PM at the Harris

                                            Center in Hancock. For more information, contact Eric Masterson  (masterson@harriscenter.org) 

                                            or 525-3394.

 

       December 13, .......  Trail Clearing on the Channing Trail - All ages and abilities are welcome to help clear debris

                                             from the Channing Trail. Bring your own tools or use ours, Meet at 9 AM at the Harris Center. Back

                                             by noon. For more information, contact Jim Orr at trailchief@gmail.com  (924-6934) or George

                                             Preston (gfp@netryders.com)

                  

        December 20, .......  41st Annual Christmas Bird Count for Hancock and Surrounding Towns -  Begun locally

                                              in 1973, and compiled by Save Rowell for the 22nd straight year, the Christmas Bird Count is the

                                              oldest and largest biological survey and citizen science endeavor with thousands of participants

                                              throughout the world. No need to be an expert. For details and to sign up, contact Dave Rowell at

                                              (603) 924-3890.

 

 

 

 

   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   

 

                           ..........  Exploring Southern New Hampshire: History and Nature on the Back Roads & Quiet Waters,

                                       Lucie Bryar (2014).  Walkers, hikers, paddlers and snowshoers  can encounter relics of the past and

                                       their incredible tales from Keene to the Seacoast. Exploring Southern Hew Hampshire takes history

                                       off the page, out of the car and into the pine-scented woods and pristine waters of the Granite State.

                                       Local history lover and nature explorer Lucie Bryar leads readers through the Monadnock, Merrimack

                                       Valley and Seacoast regions. Granite State natives and transplants alike will explore trails and water-

                                       ways to gain a new appreciation for the history hidden in this section of New Hampshire.  

 

                          ...........  Beetles of Eastern North America,  Arthur V. Evans (2014).  A landmark book -  the most 

                                       comprehensive full color guide to the remarkably diverse and beautiful beetles of the United States

                                       and Canada east of the Mississippi River. It is the first full-color illustrated guide to cover 1,406 species

                                       in all 115 families that occur in the region -  and the first in-depth to the region in more than forty years.

                                       Lavishly illustrated with over 1,500 stunning color images by some of the best insect photographers

                                       in North America, the book features an engaging and authoritative text by noted beetle expert Arthur

                                       Evans.    

 

                          ..........   2015 Naturally Curious Calendar - Mary Holland - $30 including shipping, available directly

                                       from Mary at (mholland@vermontel.net)  Additional Info. at Mary's website. See Monadnock Links.

                                              

                         ...........    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.