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The Monadnock Nature Almanac
is a monthly bulletin board of natural history activity in the
Monadnock region, a mixed
transitional forest upland of gentle hills, rivers, streams, and lakes located
Hillsborough counties. Covering approximately 800 square miles, it ranges in general elevation from 400 to 1200 feet
above sea level. Numerous peaks
exceed 1400 feet, the highest of which,
" Tis distance lends enchantment to the view, and robes the mountains in its azure
hue." ..... Thomas Campbell
MONADNOCK NATURE NOTES........ October 2015
Subscribers are encouraged to submit their sightings, observations, and comments for inclusion
in the Monadnock Nature Almanac's Nature Notes. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include name and town.
October, ....... " If technology, with all its practical laws of efficiency, were in charge of everything we would have to
dispense with the autumn color in our woodlands. Not with the trees, which are models of efficiency
in most of their processes, but with color itself, which apparently has no purpose whatsoever. People
may think it is beautiful, but it isn't needed for the trees' health, growth or fruitfulness. In technical
terms, the color is a waster, sheer excess and leftover. It is created by substances revealed only when
the tiring tree seals off the sap circulation and no longer replenishes the chlorophyll in the leaves. The
old chlorophyll disintegrates and yellow pigments called carotene and xanthophyll, related to our daily
vitamins, becomes visible. The reds and purples appear when the sun has oxidized sugars and acids
the tree has abandoned in the leaves. When the leaves have passed their peak of brilliance and fallen
from the trees, they molder into humus that will eventually feed the parent tree as well as other plants.
But the color adds nothing to the humus. Leaves that wither and turn brown make the same kind of
humus as those most dazzling red or brilliant yellow. There is no difference between the leaf mold
under a ruby-red swamp maple and that under an upland rock maple that was sun gold. Fortunately
there is no technology among trees. Especially in October, when those useless pigments and that
left-over sugar and acid flare into all this superfluous color. Whether the trees need it or not, it is
magnificent." ..... Hal Borland. Twelve Moons of the Year
October 2, ......... There are a few weeks in September and October when acorns (and beech nuts) are mature enough
to eat, but haven't yet fallen to the ground. Porcupines take advantage of this nutritious supply of
food that is not yet accessible to small rodents, deer and turkeys, and climb oak trees to consume
acorns. Because an average porcupine weighs between 12 and 35 pounds, it is unable to climb all
the way out to the end of a branch, where acorns are located, so it nips off the tips of fruit bearing
branches and then scoops out the acorn leaving the cap still attached to the branch. When all the
acorns on a branch have been eaten, the branch is discarded. (diagnostic porcupine sign). You can
often find many of these branch tips or "nip twigs" in the canopy of large oaks during a good mast
year, but inevitably some fall to the ground. The end of the twig is usually cut at a 45 degree angle,
and often you can see the lines made by the porcupine's incisors. (Beechnuts are also harvested in
this manner, as are the cones and terminal buds of eastern hemlock in winter). Red squirrels also
nip twigs to reach fruit, but typically do so when they harvest the cones and terminal buds of
conifers. ..... Mary Holland, Hartland, Vt. With permission, from her blog/website Naturally Curious With
Mary Holland (https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com)
Be sure and check out Mary's blog on a regular basis. One of the handful of "must" destinations
on the web for regional naturalists. Mary's always informative and fascinating regular posts are
also accompanied by her beautiful photography...... and don't forget the availability of her 2016
Calendar. Please see the MNA Natural Resources section this month for more information. ... CS
October 6, ......... Beautiful on the mountain today - - light northwest winds, a few high clouds, shirtsleeve weather.
Relatively few migrants - zero ospreys and eagles - notably - but still lots of action in the airspace
around Pack today, including six red-tailed Hawks (all apparently locals) wafting back and forth
above North pack all afternoon. Gina the owl had close shaves with Kestrel, Merlin, Cooper's Hawk,
and Sharp-shin: the shutter-clicking of photographers this afternoon rivaled a Hollywood red-carpet
shindig, and the guests were just as chic. The late day Merlin show was memorable, with one bird
catching, dropping, catching, eating, and then releasing the leftovers of an unfortunate sulphur
butterfly, all directly overhead. .... Henry Walters, Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough
October 8, ......... "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking
the successive autumns." ...... George Elliot, Submitted by Ellen Davis, Brattleboro
October 8, ......... Today's weather was just about the best October has to offer. A light, NW wind gradually slowed to
calm, whispering through the changing leaves and giving the raptors a gentle push southward. A few
wisps of cloud highlighted the sky which ranged in hue from the softest cornflower blue of the horizon
to the sapphire at the apex. Temperatures ranged from the low 40s to the low 50s. Although last night's
cold front was a weak one, it seems that it was just the impetus needed to send a wave of migrants in
our direction. As expected., the day was dominated by Sharp-shinned Hawks, though it was the
sharpie's large cousin that stole the show. The first Northern Goshawk of the day was an adult bird
found by a young Cooper's Hawk. She was quick to teach him a lesson and chase him back towards
North pack with the threat of death if he dove at her again. The later three goshawks were all juveniles,
soaring with the prowess of buteos and harassing other migrants with the tenacity of the rest of the
accipiter clan. ..... Katrina Fenton, Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough
October 13, ........ Autumn Foliage - 2015 Last week I took drives on three different days in search of autumn foliage to
photograph. Finding the ideal combination of foliage and light (both quality and direction are important)
is not trivial. Last Wednesday (the 7th) the foliage in our "neighborhood" was good but not yet peak.
thus, I decided to head north. I meandered as far as Rumney, NH before turning around in late afternoon.
The weather was not completely cooperative but I made a few nice photos before the clouds moved in.
Friday (the 9th) dawned foggy and rainy. I took the camera with me and after finishing my errands, I
wandered the back roads on my way home looking for interesting photographs. Saturday (the 10th), I
took an indirect route (via South Newbury, Bradford and Washington) home. ..... Frank Gorga, Antrim
Check out these and Frank's other beautiful photographic efforts at his blog site "Photographs by
Frank" www.gorga.org/blog/ Always worth a visit to Frank's blog site to see what he's been up to
photographically. ..... CS
October 14, ......... The American Birding Association is right on as it states "As reliable as the mudflats full of shorebirds
and the first frost, there's no surer sign of the changing seasons than Ron Pittaway's "Annual Winter
Finch Report." The focus of "What to expect when you are expecting irruptive finches" is always on
Ontario, but Pittaway's insights are extrapolated by birders all over New England to give a reliable
picture of what is most probable for the upcoming winter season. Access this year's forecast at
www.jeaniron.ca/2015/forecast15.htm ..... CS
October 14, ........ Things I've Seen - Something I like to do every now and then is watch the waves on the Ashuelot
River. The river has a rhythm and its waves format fairly regularly spaced intervals. I also found a
single example of a concentric boulder lichen (Porpidia crustulata) a few years ago and haven't seen
one since until recently. Though it's very hard to find it's easy to identify; the body (thalus) of the
lichen is always ashy gray and its black spore bearing bodies (Apothecia) grow in concentric rings
around its center. It is not one of the prettiest lichens but it is one of the rarest in this area and I was
happy to see it. Dog lichens aren't rare but they are unusually big for a lichen; I've seen hand size
examples. Lichens like water and can be found growing beside or even among water retaining
mosses. Because it's been so dry it's been a rough summer for water loving mosses and lichens,
but they are very patient and simply sit and wait for rain. The rain we had last week perked them right
up and this dog lichen was pliable once again instead of crisp. If you want to know what one feels like
just pinch your earlobe. The lichen is thinner but it feels much the same. ..... Allen Norcross, Jaffrey
Access the rest of this post and a wide variety of Allen's other natural history related posts and
beautiful accompanying photography at https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2015/10/
on the list of Recent Posts options for his latest observations and photographs. Regular visits are
the equivalent of taking a graduate course in lichens, mosses, wildflowers, etc .... A must site for all
Monadnock region natural history lovers. .... CS
October 15, ........ Blue Skies by Day Become Starlit Skies by Night - I've written a lot about the attention-grabbing raptors
that crowd daytime mid-September skies by the thousands. Less noticed are the songbird migrants
that crowd the dark skies of night. One reason for the nocturnal flight of songbirds: avoiding raptor
predators that fly by day. But that's just a small part of the story. far more interesting ate their skills as
celestial navigators, whether its stars by night or sun by day. Many experiments have documented
heightened hopping and wing-fluttering activity directed toward the south of a captive bird's cage in
fall and toward the north in spring. For nocturnal migrants, restlessness is greatest at night, coinciding
with their time of flight. Prime trigger is shifting photoperiods of night and day that in turn trigger
hormonal changes kinked to restlessness and, importantly, the ability to store fat. Heightened activity
is focused on feeding and fat deposition. Nocturnal migrants navigate by stars and "know" to
compensate for their shifting position overhead as the earth rotates. Fixing on the north star assists
in that knowing. As for knowing when the journey is done, birds detect the earth's magnetic field that
weakens near the equator. This helps a migrant determine latitude, or distance from the equator. How
birds determine longitude, east and west, is a greater mystery, but birds trapped and transported far
to the east and west of their breeding or wintering sites can find their way back to that specific location.
Given that concept some thought, and its complex challenges becomes clear. North and south are
assisted by magnetic field, star position relative to the north star, and visual north-south leading lines
along rivers, coasts and mountain ranges. But what guides are there for east-west determination ?
I'm still searching out answers on that one and evidently not alone. .... Francie Von Mertens, Excerpted,
with permission from her 10/15/2015 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Column, Backyard Birder.
Be sure and track down the rest of the column and make it a point to follow Francie's column every
other week in the Ledger-Transcript. One of the main reasons for my mailbox subscription. .... CS
October 17, ........ Last weekend I had a visit from my daughter and a friend. As always, we are always on the lookout for
a nice animal sighting or two, since we always mention the frequency with which we see bear, moose,
porcupines, raccoons, coyote, etc. Alas... no sightings while they were here. Today I had visitors over
and as we were sitting in the den, my friend said, "Hey Chuck is that a bear in the yard ?" And lo and
behold it was a youngster partaking of the downed apples out back. We were able to watch him for
about 20 minutes before he wandered off. I was pretty sure he (she?) had been around before since
I had noticed several piles of scat (of varying ages) round the back yard in the last week or 10 days.
The youngster was pretty small, looked a little small for a yearling, more like one of this year's cubs.
That would be unusual for one his age to be out and about without mom. Maybe she was around
somewhere keeping an eye on him ? ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
October 19, ....... Last night I looked out the window and it was snowing ! This morning there was a light coating on all
the grass and dirt surfaces around the house. Temperatures this morning were in the twenties. A few
minutes ago I noticed it was flurrying again ! Later in the day as I drove into Keene on Route 9, I ran
into a brief but heavy snow squall near Granite Lake. Man,.... It's still just mid-October. Where is Al
Gore when you need him? ..... Steve Harris. Hillsborough
October 20, ........ "Ah! the year is slowly dying,
And the wind in tree-top sighing,
Chant his requiem.
Thick and fast the leaves are falling,
High in air wild birds are calling,
Nature's solemn hymn."
Mary Weston Fordham. submitted by
Ellen Taylor, Rindge
October 20, ....... Tis a puzzlement. ..... My apple trees in the field across the street from my house continue to pose some
questions. They appear to be bi-annual. They seem to alternate between years with no apples to years
with amazingly abundant crops. This year was one of the latter, with the branches so laden with fruit that
the lower ones were bent close to the ground. The apples on these trees (unknown variety) never ripen'
remaining a pale green till they drop. Even the drop is not a simple process. This year, they are already
all on the ground. They seemingly all dropped within a couple of days. The drop was so precipitous
that each tree seems to have a circular carpet of light green under it. There was no heavy wind or heavy,
torrential rainfall to precipitate the sudden drop. Just another of Mother Nature's mischievous ways to
keep you on your toes. ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
October 21, ....... About this time each year we are invaded with an infestation of "cluster flies" in our sunny, east and south
facing front windows. I am sure that most Monadnock Region owners of older homes are familiar with
this occurrence. This year is no exception. However, the numbers seem to be a bit below the average of
the last couple of years. An interesting sidelight to this phenomenon is a new wrinkle to my indoor insect
observations. During the last week or so, I have seen about a dozen wasps in the inside of my kitchen
windows (again south and east facing) I have no idea where they are coming from. The windows all
have storm windows on them and seem to be pretty tight and weather sealed. This is a new one on me.
A check with my NE insect field guide seems to point to the common brown paper wasp. Softie that I am,
I tend to capture them in a paper cup and release them outside. Since the field guide indicates that they
have a very short life span, it's the least I can do. I don't have the same empathy for the cluster flies.
..... Steve Harris, Hillsborough
October 22, ......... Striped Skunks Digging For Grubs - Congratulations to many of you who knew that the swirls/holes
that are present in forest floors, lawns and anywhere there are grubs are the work of a Striped Skunk.
The swirls or "twizzles" as one reader called them) are created when the skunk is actively looking for
food, and probes the ground with its nose. If and when it smells a protein-rich earthworm or grub
(larval insect) in the ground, it digs a hole in order to retrieve it. These cone-shaped holes are dug at
night, when skunks are active, and often appear after a heavy rain. This is because grubs move closer
to the surface of the ground when the ground is wet, making it easier for the skunk to smell them.
When the soil dries, the grubs move back down into deeper soil and the skunks can no longer smell
them - thus no more holes will be dug. Because animals are eating voraciously in order to put fat on
for the winter, signs of digging activity are frequently seen in the fall. ..... Mary Holland, Hartland, Vt
From Mary's blog/website "Naturally Curious with Mary Holland". Mary regularly posts photos of
some object or sign of natural history related activity as a "Mystery Photo" and challenges her readers
to contribute their guesses as to what is being illustrated. Always fun and informative. Check out
Mary's blog (see October 2nd post and MNA Resouces section.) .... CS
October 25, ......... Some items from the "Yogi Berra - You Can Observe a Lot by Looking Files" (.... take a moment here for
the Yog !) Three recent items, all related in part to Mary Holland's Naturally Curious Blog/Website. For
the last two weeks or so I have seen several piles of scat in the backyard. Too large for a neighborhood
dog, coyote and too small for an adult bear. Mary recently posted an item about bear scat with an
accompanying photo. That pretty much solved it for me until the clincher last week when a young bear
visited the yard for my downed apples. (see Oct 17 post) . A second item posted by Mary (see Oct 22
post) got me rethinking some of the small round holes in the grass of my backyard. I assumed that
they were the result of my "resident" wild turkeys foraging for seeds, insects, etc. Now I am also
thinking "skunk"as a possibility. ... and lastly.... Yesterday I was driving into Hancock Village on one
of my back roads. I noticed two spots, about a half mile apart, where there were very distinctive, small
areas in the roadway where there were small tree branch segments littering the road. I was late
for an appointment and didn't have time to stop and check them out. Now, after reading Mary's
blog item (see Oct 2nd), I'm wondering if this might be the result of the porcupine of squirrel activity
that Mary refers to ? Obviously when that activity occurs in a more forested area, it goes unnoticed.
In the roadway, however, it jumps right out at you. Something else to be checked out.
..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
October 26, ......... A nice backyard sighting this morning. While looking out the window I observed a flock of about 20
or so Juncos spread out and feeding on my lawn. This was the first time this fall that I have seen any
Juncos in the yard. I enjoy watching them as they always strike me as having a calm, relaxed demeanor
when they are around. Unlike the Blue Jays who are always noisy and boisterous and the Chickadees
who are nervous Nellies, constantly flitting about. The Juncos are serene and there is something
very laid back about them. Very little motion on the ground. You never notice them because of their
movements. Even their color, the soft slate-gray/brown and creamy underparts, interrupted only by
a flash of tail-white when they do fly into a tree or shrub seems muted. While I was watching them, I
caught a flash of color on the ground in the tall grass and flower stalks in one of the gardens. A male
Cardinal ! With him were two females. Possibly a mate and a youngster ? The made a nice contrast
to the Juncos who were directly in front of them. ..... Maureen Pratt, Brattleboro
October 31, ......... Halloween - Like most contemporary celebrations, Halloween has its historical roots in the natural
cycles. The celebration of Halloween was an ancient Celtic tradition marking the midway point between
the autumn equinox and the winter solstice. Not only did the winter season begin on this day but it was
also considered by the Celts to be a sort of "crack in time," the one day of the year when the dead could
revisit the living. To ward off evil spirits that might return, a new and sacred fire was lit, from which all
other fires in Ireland were supposed to be lit. Our current traditions of lighting jack-o-lanterns and bon-
fires are all that remain of this practice. According to the Irish tale, the "Jack" in jack-o-lantern was a
man barred from both heaven and hell who was condemned to walk the earth with his lantern until
Judgment Day. During the Middle Ages, officials of the Christian church transformed the occasion
into All Saints" day; they regarded the day preceding it as bedeviled, because it was the prelude to
the former Celtic/pagan feast day. Trick or treating apparently arose from a theater tradition, in which
actors on All Saints' Day and All Souls' day dressed up in disguises, begging for rewards in return for
their prayers on behalf of the dead. The prayers and the astronomy are long forgotten, of course, but
the costuming, the lit pumpkins, and the begging for treats remain. ...... John Bates, "A Northwoods
Companion: Fall and Winter
SUCCESSION ON GRANITE - CRUSTOSE LICHENS - Tom Wessels
Consider for a minute the harsh conditions which plants must contend with on a bare slab of
granite. How do they get water ? How do they anchor themselves ? How do they secure nutrients ?
In combination these factors create a formidable array of conditions, so tough in fact that only one
group of plants in the entire world - the crustose lichens - have been able to overcome them. Actually
lichens aren't true plants. They are a close association between fungi and either bacteria that
photosynthesize and/or algae.
Next time you are on a rocky granite outcrop, look carefully to see which of the lichen growth forms
are present. The crustose are morphologically the simplest. On bedrock they often look like black, gray
or green weathered paint - a thin veneer of tissue brushed directly on the rock. Crustose lichens have
an array of marvelous adaptations which allow them to be the pioneers of rock outcrops. Underneath
the lichen, microscopic rootlike fungal threads called rhizinae grow between the mineral grains of
granite, anchoring the entire lichen to the rock. To get their nutrients, crustose lichens look to the air.
Many nutrients , carried into the atmosphere by wind, dissolve in rainwater, which is in turn absorbed
by lichens. Many lichens having cyanobacteria which can take nitrogen gas directly from the air and
convert it to usable compounds such as nitrates. But possibly the most unusual adaptation found in
lichens is cryptobiosis. The Latin origin of this term hints at the adaptation. Cryptobiosis is the ability
of an organism to cease all metabolic activity and molecular reactions through complete desiccation.
In other words, when lichens are in the state of cryptobiosis they might as well be dead. You could
take a lichen covered rock, place it in a vault that lacks light and humidity, and a century later remove
it, place it in sunlight, spritz it with water; within a few minutes you'd see the lichen swell and begin
photosynthesis and all other metabolic activities. This "on and off " habit of life allows lichens to
colonize environments that can be completely desiccated for long periods of time. It is also why
some lichens grow so slowly. A crustose lichen one inch in diameter, growing on an outcrop in an
arid region, can be more than a hundred years old.
The first discovery of cryptobiosis occurred just after the invention of the microscope early in the
seventeenth century. At that time biologists were enamored with nematodes - small translucent,
wormlike organisms - because all of their organs, including their beating hearts, could be viewed
through a microscope. As the story goes, a biologist after viewing a soil nematode - one that becomes
cryptobiotic when it dries out - put the glass plate holding the nematode aside. In time the nematode
shriveled up and was taken for dead. But the glass plate was never washed . A few weeks or months
later water was accidentally splashed on the plate. Within minutes, to the surprise of the biologist, the
"dead" nematode had rehydrated and was observed crawling away. Word got out,and soil nematodes
quickly became of prime interest - soon being called "resurrection worms," to the great distain of the
Catholic church, whose protests prompted the new term cryptobiotic worms.
Most people are amazed when they first hear about cryptobiosis. Yet in our daily lives we are
already familiar with this phenomenon. When we go to the gardening supply store and buy seeds in
their tidy little packages, we are buying cryptobiotic propagules. Most seeds, particularly those or early
successional plants, are cryptobiotic. Mullein is one plant which is a master in the realm of crytobiosis.
Mullein seeds recovered from crypts in British churches, where they had lain dormant for more than
seven hundred years, came to life when planted.
With their arsenal of adaptations, crustose lichens will quickly colonize exposed granite. They
accomplish this by wind-dispersed structures called soredia. These are microscopic balls of fungal
tissue that surround a few cyanobacteria or algal cells, Once a soredium makes contact with granite,
it anchors itself. It takes at least a decade of growth before a crustose lichen becomes visible to the
naked eye and close to half a century before their tissues to have covered enough of the granite to
allow the colonization of the next seral stage - the foliose lichens, which establish themselves right
on top of the crustose lichens, which they consume in the process.
Adapted, with permission, from Tom Wessel's "The Granite Landscape." Tom Wessels is a Faculty Emeritus
Antioch New England Graduate School.
. MONADNOCK SKIES - For November 2015
November, .......... Fall Skies - As the nights start to become clear and crisp, it's time to get out and enjoy viewing the
bright stars of autumn. Throughout the month of November, as one faces north and looks about
three quarters of the way up from the horizon, you will spot the "M" or upside down "W" of the
constellation Cassiopeia, the chained woman. The five main stars in this stellar grouping are all
about the same magnitude and are about equidistant above Polaris, the North Star, as the Big Dipper
is below it. In the year 1572 this constellation was the site of a brilliant exploding star or "supernova".
For a brief period of time this was the brightest object in the night sky. Records indicate it was even
brighter than the planet Venus which achieves magnitude of - 4.6. These same records indicate that
the supernova was bright enough to cast shadows. Although many supernovae have been recorded
since, none have come even close to it's brilliance. Cassiopeia is one of a small group of "circumpolar
constellations" that are so close to Polaris that they never set below the horizon.
Dominating the overhead skies at mid-evening during the month is the prominent "asterism" of late
fall and early winter, the "Great Square of Pegasus". Found near the zenith in early evening at
mid-month, it moves a few degrees westward each night. By late November and early December it is
still prominent high in the western sky. Easy to spot, the Square measures about 15 degrees on each
side (about the width of an adult hand span held at arms length). The three eastern-most stars in the
Square belong to the constellation Pegasus, the winged horse. The northeastern member of the
grouping belongs to the constellation Andromeda. To experience one of the most fascinating actual
"time travel" experiences available to us, try the following. Pick a clear moonless night. Find that
northeastern-most star in the Square and follow the line of three slightly fainter stars that lead off to
the northeast. Above the second of these stars you will see a very faint "fuzzy" patch of light. You may
have to center your vision off to one side just a bit to pick it out (The edges of our retinas are more
sensitive to black and white and the center to color). The object you are looking at is M31, the
Great Andromeda Galaxy, the most distant object visible to the unaided human eye. This giant
spiral galaxy is similar in shape to our own Milky Way Galaxy but much larger. It contains over
one trillion stars, close to twice the number in our own galaxy. M31 is over two million light years
away from us. This means that light you are glimpsing tonight out of the corner of your eye left this
galaxy over two million years ago and traveling at 186,000 miles per second, is just reaching us
tonight. So you are actually looking at this galaxy as it existed two million years ago !
November, ........... The Planets This Month - Most of this month's planetary viewing is confined to the early morning
sky before dawn. Very early in the month Saturn may be glimpsed low in the WSW about an hour
after sunset. It is gone by mid-month. Viewers with an unobstructed view of the eastern horizon may
be actually able to glimpse four planets simultaneously during the first week of the month. Mercury,
Mars, Venus and Jupiter span 42 degrees on November 1st. Mercury is very low in the ESE, just
to the lower left of the star Spica. To the upper right of Mercury are the planets Mars and Venus.
These two planets pass very close to each other on November 3rd. To the upper right of Venus is
the giant planet Jupiter.
November 2, ........ Daylight Savings Time Ends - Daylight savings time official ends at 2 AM this morning when we
all set our clocks back one hour ("spring forward, fall back"). Daylight Savings Time has a rather
complicated and interesting history. The concept was actually first proposed by Ben Franklin in a
1784 essay "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light." The original thought was to
save on the cost of candles. Following this, the idea surfaced again numerous times and was
initiated in Germany in 1926 in World War I. Other countries followed but reverted back after the war.
FDR initiated it again in 1942, called "War Time." It was supposed to end in 1945, but confusion after
the war, resulted in the "Uniform Time Act" in 1966. Additional legislative modifications were made
1987 and as recently as 2005.
November 3, ......... Last Quarter Moon .
November 8, ......... Early Morning ISS Passage - Early risers this morning can observe a nice, bright, nearly overhead
passage of the International Space Station. Weather cooperating of course. To view the ISS, face to
the WSW a minute or two before the schedued appearance at 5:24:41 AM. The ISS will appear near
the horizon, and climb slowly but steadily, through the constellation Orion, moving toward the zenith.
It skims past Castor and Pollux in the constellation Gemini before reaching its maximum altitude of 85
degrees at 5:27:23 AM. At this point it will exhibit a maximum brightness of magnitude - 3.4. Moving
downward, it pases directly through the Big Dipper in the NE before passing out of view near the
horizon at 5:30:39 AM.
November 11, ....... New Moon
November 17, ....... Leonid Meteor Shower - Radiating from the constellation Leo the Lion, the Leonid meteor
shower has produced some of the greatest meteor "storms" in history - at least one in living
memory, 1966 - with rates as high as thousands of meteors per minute during one fifteen
minute period. These "storms" sometimes occur in cycles of 33-34 years. In normal years, the
shower produces 15-20 meteors on a dark night. This year the best viewing will probably be
late on the night of the 17th and into the early morning hours of the 18th. The moon this year
will be a waxing crescent which will set early enough so as not to interfere with viewing.
November 19, ....... First Quarter Moon
November 25, ....... Full Moon - The Beaver Moon - This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to
ensure a supply of warm winter furs. Another interpretation of the name comes from the fact that the
beavers are now actively preparing for winter. It is also sometimes called the "Frosty Moon".
MONADNOCK REGION NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS CALENDAR - November 2015
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.
November 1, ........ Thumb Mountain Hike - Join Denny Wheeler and Russ Daigle for a moderately strenuous 2.2 mile
round-trip hike to the summit of Thumb Mountain and back, with views south to Mt Monadnock. Bring
lunch and meet at 10 AM at the Harris Center in Hancock. Back by 2 PM. For more information, contact
Denny (313-0350) or Russ (477-7506).
November 4, ........ Nature on tap: The Opossum's Tail and Other Strange Facts about North America's Only
Marsupial - Join Susie Spikol Farber to discover the unique life story of the opossum. You'll leave
this fun evening with a new appreciation for the one-of-a-kind opossum. 5:30 to 6:30 PM at the
Hancock Inn, Main Street, Hancock. Drinks on you, conversation on us. Reservations are required
as space is limited. Contact Sara LeFebvre at (525-3394) or email@example.com
November 5, ........ Golden Visitors - Golden Eagles Visiting New Hampshire - During the fall migrations of 2013
and 2014, 18 golden eagles were observed from the pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory
in Peterborough. But you don't have to stand on a mountaintop for hours and battle numbing winds
to see golden eagles in our region. Over three recent winters, NH Raptor Biologist, Chris Martin,
collaborated with a landowner and employed a "camera trapping" technique to capture images of
golden and bald eagle on the NH - Maine border near the Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge. Join
Chris to learn more about this technique and see the images of these amazing raptors. 7:30 - 8:30
PM at the McLane Audubon Center, 84 Silk Farm Road, Concord. For more information (603)224-9903.
Free program but donations accepted. NH Audubon program.
November 5, ........ ESI: Session Three - The Real Story of the Birds and the Bees - 1:30 - 2:30 PM. Harris
Center program. (See September MNA for more information)
November 6, ......... Easygoing Hike in the Deering Wildlife Sanctuary - Join Lee Baker and Ollie Mutch for a
moderately easy, 4 mile round trip hike along Black Fox and Smith Brook Trails in New Hampshire
Audubon's Deering Sanctuary. Bring lunch, and meet at 10 AM in the parking area along side of
Ocean State Job Lot in Peterborough to carpool. back by 3 PM. For more information, please
contact Lee at 525-5262 or Ollie at 386-5319. Cosponsored by the Harris Center and NH Audubon.
November 12, ....... ESI: Session Four - The Real Story of the Birds and the Bees - 1:30 - 2:30 PM. Harris
Center program. (See September MNA for more information).
November 13, ....... Yukon Adventures - Peterborough resident Scott McGovern has captured the essence of his
trip canoeing the wild Hart River in Yukon, Canada. His experience of outdoor wilderness
adventure will be shared through still images, movie images and conversation with trip
participants. Come join us to view his beautiful photos and learn about their experience.
7 PM at the Peterborough Town Library.
November 10, ....... Friends of Pisgah Annual Meeting - Tuesday, 7 PM at the Millstream Community Center,
Hinsdale. Business meeting. President's report. News about the park. Program speaker Marshall
Patmos, retired UNH Extension Forester.
November 14, ....... Golden Eagle Hike - 9 AM to 12:30 PM. As those chilly winds begin to blow, the hardiest of the
northern raptor species begin to get a hankering for warmer climates. One of the rarest migrants
seen here in NH is the Golden Eagle, only an occasional visitor passing though each spring and
fall on its way to and from its breeding grounds in Quebec. While our chances may be slim, the
opportunity to see such an enormous and beautiful creature is worth the effort. We'll meet in the
parking lot at Miller State Park in Peterborough and head up to the Pack Monadnock Audubon
Raptor Migration Observatory. Dress warm, pack a sandwich and don't forget those binocs. Hot
chocolate will be provided. Please R.S.V.P. to firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to attend.
"The Harriers" , New Hampshire's Young Birders Club, (Henry Walters) Program
November 16, ....... Planning Meeting for Trip Leaders - Join the crew of Harris Center staff and volunteer trip
leaders to plan winter outings. We welcome ideas for new places to visit, as well as old favorites.
7 - 8:30 PM at the Harris Center. For more information please contact Eric Masterson at 525-3394.
November 19, ....... ESI: Session Five - The Real Story of the Birds and the Bees - 1:30 - 2:30 PM. Harris Center
program. (See September MNA for more information)
November 19, ........ Forests, Succession, and Self Organization: Why Old Forests are Important - Tom Wessels
will give the scientific rationale for the importance of old forests as a functional part of our regional
landscape - one that is presently under-represented, Using the principle of self-organization and its
relationship to ecological succession, as wall as our current understanding of soils, the functional
of old forests will be explored. Since the western core of Pisgah State Park is our region's oldest
forest, with a number of old growth stands, it will be used as an example of the importance of these
forests. 7 PM, Centennial Hall, Alumni Center, Keene State College. Sponsored by Keene State
College Environmental Studies Department and Pisgah Defenders.
November 27, ........ Mount Caesar - Post - Thanksgiving Hike - Join Denny Wheeler and Brian Bishoff for good
views and good cheer on this moderately easy, 2 mile round trip hike to the ledges of Mount Caesar.
Meet at 11 AM at the Golden Rod Grange on Route 32 in Swanzey Center. back by 1 PM. for more
information, please contact Denny at 352-3973 or Brian at 899-5770. Harris Center program.
MONADNOCK NATURAL HISTORY RESOURCES
.......... Trail Guide: Peterborough Conservation Commission - Recently updated and released, this
edition includes maps and descriptions of 14 trails in the Peterborough region. The guide includes
the Hiroshi Conservation Land Trail, the Cranberry Meadow Pond Rail and the Evan's Flats Trail.
The guide is free and available at various public sites aroung Peterborough, including the Library,
Town House, and Recreation Department. Also at www.peterboroughopenspace.org/maps.html
......... 2016 Naturally Curious Calendar - Mary Holland will be taking orders for the 2016 Naturally
Curious Calendar until the end of October. The 8" x 11' (8" x 16 when hanging) features one of
Mary's great photographs for each month, Check out the details and the ordering information at
Naturally Curious blog/website (https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/)
......... The Granite Landscape - Tom Wessels - (2001) - Recently, while doing another re-reading of this,
one of my personal favorites, it dawned on me that I have never included it in the MNA Resource
Section as I have for some of Tom's other efforts - (Reading the Forested Landscape). This was an
inexplicable omission. A must for every Monadnock Region naturalist's bookshelf. It has been
described as "the kind of book that naturalists hunger for, the kind that opens our eyes to a world we
didn't know how to see, where continents may drift many feet in the time it takes a lichen to grow to
an inch in diameter. A passionate and gifted explainer, Wessels can make you feel that you're
discovering the secrets of the universe alongside of him."
......... 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 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."
........ 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, SPNH'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
........ Field - 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:
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.
........ Monadnock Conservancy. The Monadnock Conservancy's mission is to work with
communities and landowners to conserve the natural resources, wild and working lands,
rural character and scenic beauty of the Monadnock region. Visit their website:
........ New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Conserves, manages and protects
New Hampshire's fish, wildlife, and marine resources. www.WildNH.com
....... Friends of Pisgah - A volunteer organization dedicated to assisting in the preservation
of Pisgah State Park located in southwestern Cheshire County. The organization has been
involved in the development and maintenance of the park's trail system for many years.
........Friends of the Wapack - an independent, non-profit organization composed of hikers,
volunteers, and landowners dedicated to the preservation of the 21 mile long trail from Mt.
Watatic in northern Mass. to North Pack here in New Hampshire.
........ Brattleboro Outing Club - The BOC offers an opportunity to participate in year-round
outdoor activities including kayaking, canoe trips and cross country skiing. For additional
....... Keene 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.
.......... 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.
.......... 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 Region.
......... New Hampshire Mountain Lions - John Ranta of Hancock, NH maintains a running blog which
shares information on mountain lions in New Hampshire and reports sightings in the Granite State.
......... Rare Bird Alert - New Hampshire - A weekly listing of rare bird sightings throughout the
state. Compiled each week by Mark Suomala. The RBA is available in each Friday's edition of
the Union Leader newspaper, as a phone recording (603) 224-9909, or from the New Hampshire
Audubon's website: (http://www.nhaudubon.org/birding/rare-bird-alerts)
......... New Hampshire Lightning Detection/Tracking System - This site provides a real-time
radar map of lightning strikes occurring in the northeastern states. The map is refreshed every
5 minutes. The site also provides a wealth of other useful and interesting meteorological
......... Heavens Above - A treasure trove of observational astronomy information. After registering
and inputting your latitude and longitude, the site provides you with exact times, locations, and
magnitudes of various satellites visible at your location. (http://www.heavens-above.com/)
.......... Google Earth - a free program which allows the viewer to travel anywhere on earth and view
aerial and satellite imagery from great elevations to street level. Many locations provide three
dimensional, 360 degree opportunities for viewing. A must for the regional naturalist to view
natural areas and to preview hiking trails, etc. (http://www.google.com/earth/index.html)
........... Spaceweather.com - A worthwhile site for all sorts of astronomy related information,
including auroral displays and alerts, solar activity (sunspots, flares, etc), planetary Info.,
meteor showers. The site provides a sign-up option for a free e-mail Spaceweather Alert
when something significant is occurring. (http://www.spaceweather.com/)
.......... 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
listing of 293
over 1100 images on the site are thumbnail and micromount sized specimen images were taken by
in the region (http://www.antrimnh.org/Pages/AntrimNH_WebDocs/Outdoor_Guide.pdf)
interest blog maintained by Allen Norcross in Swanzey. Always interesting and informative. Well
worth a regular visit to read Allen's comments on regional natural history and his wonderful
The monthly Monadnock Nature Almanac is compiled and edited by Chuck
your observations or subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the free e-mail, contact email@example.com .
Please note, the MNA is formatted to display on a full screen computer e-mail window. All e-mail addresses are
secured and held completely confidential. Past issues of the Monadnock Nature Almanac (from September
2010) areavailable upon request.