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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,
"If we study nature attentively in its great evolutions as in its minutest works, we cannot fail
to recognize the possibility of enchantment - giving to that word its exact significance."
....... Honore de Balzac
MONADNOCK NATURE NOTES........ May 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.
May, ............ "April is promises and tentative beginnings, but May is achievement. May is dawn shimmering with
dew and sunrise on lawn and meadow, dancing with young leaves in every woodland, jubilant with
birdsong in every treetop. May is dogtooth violets besides the brimming brooks, the first buttercups
beyond the pasture fence, purple violets everywhere. May is apple blossoms and lilacs, and if any
other month can surpass that combination we have yet to learn its name. .... May is a special kind of
verity, a testament to the reality of a live and sentient world. Define it as you will , it is all around us
now, a reality that needs no explanation." ..... Hal Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year
May 1, ........... An item from the Yogi Berra "You Can Observe a Lot by Looking" Files. One day last week I finally
got around to taking down my winter screened porch covers. (this usually coincides roughly with my
removal of the Christmas wreath from the front door). With temperatures moving into the high seventies,
I decided (with the porch covers off and the warm sun streaming onto the porch) that it would be an
appropriate time for my "ceremonial first porch refreshing adult beverage of the season". Settling down
on my favorite chair, I glanced out to the far rear corner of the back yard to a large Rhododendron bush
which is out of sight for the winter months, and was now in view. I was amazed to see what the deer had
done to it during the severe weather of the late winter. The bush is about ten- twelve feet in diameter and
approximately eight-nine feet in height. The bottom two feet were full of normal foliage (this area was
under the snow cover). The upper three feet were also capped and domed in full foliage, but the six to
seven feet in between were completely denuded of foliage. Not a single leaf ! It was a strange sight.
I couldn't decide whether it looked more like a fringe-footed mushroom or the latest hairdo on an NBA
power forward. ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
May 1, ........... Bobcats, to Hunt or Not ? That is the Question - Bobcats are in the news these days as the state of NH
considers reinstating hunting and trapping seasons after a 26 year suspension. As brief history -
bobcat numbers declined some 50 years ago as the forest grew up and cottontail rabbits lost their
preferred shrubby habitat. As they decreased, Bobcats lost their main prey. Competition from growing
coyote numbers didn't help. By 1989, when New Hampshire halted bobcat hunting and trapping, there
were thought to be fewer than 150 bobcats in the state - although estimating such a secretive species is
hard to do. A recent study estimated that the current population has grown to 1,400. The NH Fish and
Game Commission directed the NH Fish and Game Department to draft and present a proposal for a
hunting and trapping season on April 8th. That's when bobcats hit the news and the letters-to-the-
editor columns. A recent UNH analysis of road killed bobcats shows that NH bobcats have greater
genetic diversity than populations in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts. The NH Commissioners are
still available for comment by e-mail, snail mail or phone. Contact the New Hampshire F & G Commision
email@example.com with "bobcat" in the subject line. ....... Francie Von Mertens, Peterborough,
Excerpted from Francie's Monadnock Ledger Transcript "Backyard Birder" column, April 30.
For a much more comprehensive treatment of the issue, access and read the entire Transcript
May 4, ........... I'd seen it before: This morning I noticed the earth moving again. In the flower bed, darker clumps of
soil were being pushed up by (apparently) a mole. I stood directly over the excavation site for a while,
but I never spotted the digger. I immediately thought of the 1966 semi-classic Hammer Film Company
horror film "Plague of the Zombies." In it there is a creepy dream sequence showing same undeads
wriggling and rising from their unholy graves. We just cannot prevent certain memory flashbacks,
can we ? ..... Neal Clark, Hancock
May 4, ............ A single but distinctive "wok" call of a black-crowned night heron just after sunset topped off a very
good day for new arrivals in our yard. between a half-hour this morning and about the same amount
of time this evening, we tallied 7 species of warblers including first of the year blackburnian and
Nashville. Scanning nearby Powder Mill Pond this evening from Route 202 produced 2 greater yellow-
legs on the "mudflats" and an adult bald eagle overhead. ..... Phil Brown, Hancock
May 6, ............. Loud and discordant squawking led me to a large nest in a pine tree where an adult Common Raven
was feeding young within 30 feet of a busy trail with high traffic of walkers, runners and cyclists. I
only saw one baby but the noise makes me think there were more. Later I watched another adult fly
towards the nest with food in its beak. It flew down the pathway, then turned into the woods on the
opposite side of the nest. It later approached the nest quietly, but the young'uns betrayed it with
their excitement. This is the first Raven nest I have observed in a tree. The others have been on
structures or cliffs. ...... Rich Frechette, Peterborough
May 8, ............ Another item from the Yogi Berra "You Can Observe a Lot by Looking" Files - This morning I had just
poured a cup of coffee and happened to glance out the kitchen window. There, walking calmly across
the back yard was a small female bobcat. She walked north towards the edge of the house where
something in the road in front of the house caught her attention and she became alert and crouched
down peering in the direction of the road. After a couple of minutes she relaxed and rolled over on her
side in a relaxed sprawl. Another couple of minutes passed, with me standing absolutely still so as
not to catch her attention. She then got up and walked back across the yard in the direction from
which she came. She moved into the sunlight and was only 40-50 feet away. Her coat, which initially
appeared a fairly uniform tannish brown became more distinctive and a mottled spotted undercoat
pattern became more apparent in the direct sunlight. She moved slowly and casually across the yard
I finally lost sight of her as she moved towards the roadway to the south of the house and walked
behind a stone wall near the roadway. In all, I was able to observe her for about 15 minutes. While
she was sprawled out on the ground, I was able to get a good look at her belly and it did not appear
that she was nursing. Her generally casual manner and lack of any apparent rush to return anywhere
seemed to point to a lack of a youngster in the picture. ..... Always a nice way to start the day.
...... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
May 9, ............. Early Spring Flowers - Spring is moving on quickly now and the warmer temperatures are bringing
out the flowers and tree leaves. Trilliums (Trillium erectus) couldn't seem to make up their mind for a
while but now here they are in all their glory. The red or purple trillium is also called "stinking Benjamin"
because of its less than heavenly scent. "Benjamin," according to the Adirondack Almanac, is actually
a corruption of the word benjoin, which was an ingredient that came from a plant in Sumatra and was
used in the manufacture of perfume. Apparently it looked a lot like trillium. Whatever you call it, its hard
to say that purple trillium flowers aren't beautiful. Just don't get close enough to smell them. It's almost
time to say goodbye to some of my favorite springtime friends like spring beauties (Claytonia virginica).
Their time is brief and maybe that's why they are so loved by so many. Maybe absence really does
make the heart grow fonder, but I doubt that I would like them any less if they stayed all summer. They
are beautiful little things and seeing a forest floor carpeted with them is a breathtaking sight that you
won't forget. .... Allen Norcross, Jaffrey
This is just a thin sliver of Allen's post on Early NH Spring Wildflowers from his blog/website: "New
Hampshire Garden Solutions". Access the site to read the rest of this post and others which highlight
numerous New Hampshire May wildflowers. Allen's posts are always accompanied by his beautiful
photographic images. A visit and a half an hour of reading, absorbing his informative descriptions,
and observing his images, is the equivalent of a university level in-service course on one aspect of
New Hampshire natural history. (https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2015/05/) One visit and
I guarantee you will become a regular ! ..... CS
May 11, ........... With the weather finally turning the corner, I found it was once again time for my "highly ritualized,
ceremonial inaugural lawn mow" of the season. This endeavor, a yearly rite of early May, begins with
me spreading my "prayer rug" (the heavy duty, blue poly-plastic tarp, winter mower cover) on the
ground in the back yard, prostrating myself, facing just south of the west point on the horizon
(azimuth 260 degrees), the direction of the John Deere Corporate Headquarters in Moline, Illinois,
and chanting selected passages from my LX320 Riding Mower's Operator's Manual, hopefully, to
insure a mechanically trouble free summer mowing season. During the ensuing mow, I was just a
bit disappointed to find two "frost heaved" rocks on the property which would have to be addressed
to make the mowing process a bit easier. This phenomenon has plagued New England farmers and
gardeners for generations. Of course, three days later, the dandelions had regrown some 8-10 inches
and the lawn was ready for another trim. Too bad dandelions don't have a corporate headquarters.
..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
May 12, ........... At my feeder this morning two male Rose Breasted Grosbeaks were squabbling with a male Cardinal.
Also at my feeder are Pine Siskins, Goldfinches, Tufted Titmouse and a Hairy Woodpecker that manages
to get seed out of the feeder tubes. Feeding in my yard are some Chipping Sparrows. There were two
pairs of Purple Finches around for a while. I don't know if they have left or my timing in seeing them is
off. Late this afternoon a flock of 10 Blue jays showed up with one of the Rose Breasted Grosbeaks. He
managed to get some seed even though he was surrounded by a lot of Jays. ..... Steve Smith, Hancock
May 12, ........... Finally getting out to do some spring clean-up around the house, I have noticed a very large number
of "mole hills" all over the property. Normally, every year or two we see some mole activity in the spring
but never this amount. There must be twenty to thirty of these 6- 8 inch high dirt piles scattered all over
the property. Again, normally when we see these there are 4- 5 and usually in some sort of a linear
pattern. This year they are scattered randomly all over the front, side and back yard lawn areas.
..... Ed Steele, Keene
May 12, ........... Final Field Report From the 2015 Spring Amphibian Migration - It's mid-May, it's been a long
time since we've had any sustained evening rains, and it's downright hot out. Wood frog eggs are
nearing hatch, and after this extended dry spell, it's likely that any spotted salamanders who didn't
make their way to vernal pools in April will simply wait until next year to breed. However, you might
just see some homeward bound spotted salamanders, along with many migrating American toads
and gray tree frogs during evening rains or thunderstorms over the next few weeks. In addition,
warm-weather frogs and toads will be out and about in the rain all summer long. The "Salamander
Brigades" helped over 4,700 amphibians along their journeys this spring. ...... Brett Amy Thelen, Keene
Check out the complete 2015 Field Reports from the 2015 Amphibian Migration at the AVEO website:
May 14, ........... "This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame filled bushes,
thorn-blossom lifting in wreathes of smoke between
where the wood fume up and the watery, flickering rushes.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
faces of people streaming across my gaze."
..... D.H. Lawrence, The Enkindled Spring.
submitted by Ellen Taylor, Rindge
May 18, ........... While still preliminary, it appears the 2015 moose spring mortality rate will be even higher than last
year according to state wildlife officials. Shorter winters are being cited for the proliferation of winter
ticks in the northern part of the state, which literally suck the life blood out of the moose. In the south,
the moose are plagued by another, even more lethal parasite- brainworm - which is carried by the
burgeoning deer population. Winter ticks - tens of thousands of which can infest a single moose -
were responsible for the deaths of more than 60% of calves and 5% of adults that were part of a study
of what's driving down moose numbers. The 2015 mortality rate is a bit higher than last year, which
is a bit curious because the 2014-15 winter lasted a bit longer than the average winter. Although
brainworm is a different kettle of fish, its prevalence is thought to also be impacted by shorter winters.
The shorter winters are good for the increased survival of white-tail deer whose population densities
have been climbing steadily and are now reaching about 10 - 13 per square mile. Nationally, there
seems to be a direct correlation between high deer populations in an area and decrease in moose.
The state's moose population peaked at 7,600 in 1996 and is now down to around 4,000.
..... John Kozol, Manchester
May 19, ........... The area eagles appear to be faring well; today I saw a female apparently still incubating at the old
lakeside aerie. Her mate was perched close by. Even at a distance of a few hundred yards, those
white heads stood out against the pine-green background. .... Neal Clark, Hancock
May 20, ........... Ode Opener - 2015 Version - The ode season ids off to its usual slow start in the Monadnock Region.
Ten days ago I noticed a single yellow (i.e. an immature male or female) Hudsonian Whiteface. The
next day I saw another single individual. By the end of the week there were dozens of individuals
sunning themselves in the driveway and on the road and a few of the males were beginning to
turn red. Small numbers of Chalk-fronted Corporals had also appeared. This past weekend, I
observed a couple of Hudsonian Whiteface mating wheels on the wing. Thus, the season progresses.
..... Frank Gorga, Antrim
Be sure to check out Frank's other blog posts and his beautiful accompanying images at his
website Photographs by Frank www.gorga.org/blog/
May 21, ........... Next to the Green Frog, the Pickerel Frog is the most abundant frog in new England. It is often
confused with the Northern leopard Frog, which it closely resembles. The spots on a Pickerels Frog's
back are squarish and aligned in rows, where a Leopard Frog's spots are rounded, and randomly
scattered over its back. In addition, the male Pickerel Frog has bright orange on the inner surface of
its hind legs, which the Leopard Frog lacks. Recently male Pickerel frogs have started calling to attract
mates. Each species of frog, just like each species of bird, has its own distinctive call. Spring Peepers
"peep", Wood Frogs "quack" and Pickerel Frogs "snore". Their snore isn't long - it lasts only a
second or two - but it is unmistakable. Pickerel Frogs call from underwater, as well as on top of mounds
of vegetation, so if you hear one and then search for it, you may not find it. ..... Mary Holland, Hartland, Vt.
Visit Mary's website "Naturally Curious With Mary Holland" to read her regular regional natural history
posts and view her accompanying photography. Another "addictive site" for regional naturalists. One
visit and you are "hooked". .... CS
May 22, ........... When I saw vole tunnels in the snow last winter, I noticed that some seemed to be converging on
shrubs I had planted in the backyard. Sure enough, now that spring is here, I find that voles have
killed a couple of small shrubs by chewing off the bark. Monadnock Berries also reports "serious vole
damage due to the snow. The voles chewed the bark and killed the plants." (gooseberry and currant
bushes). However, my shrubs seemed to have suffered less deer damage over the winter, and I saw
fewer deer tracks, perhaps due to the heavy snow. I haven't seen any deer yet in my area either, which
could be due to the severe winter. ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey
May 25, ............ Engaging in the rite of lawn mowing is fruitless in late May, given the usual ample rain and heat. The
dandelions in my yard are back in bloom within two days of any cutting. The truth is, I kind of like the
dandelions, but if that's too much to stomach for the lawn manicurists among you, you might at least
respect your nemesis. Dandelions are escape artists extraordinaire. Their leaves lay flattened along the
ground, immune to mower blades. The period when the flower and seed head open is the only time
in a dandelion's life when it becomes vulnerable to the guillotine. If you don't get the flower head
immediately with the mower, the flower stalk soon becomes flaccid and collapses to the ground where
it's safe once again. The when the seed head is ready, the dandelion springs back to life in a growth
spurt of five to six inches that occurs within a day or two. Even if you manage to get the first bloom,
the plant will simply produce another bud and flower again. Dandelions were originally adapted to
barnyards and pastures, where their thistle-like leaves and bitter white sap made them distasteful
to cattle. Lawns have provided an even better habitat. What's the best way to rid yourself of the
dandelion madness ? Let your grass grow long. Grass hugging plants like dandelions can't tolerate
shade, so they will soon become a rare flower in your yard. Skeptical ? Compare their numbers in
unmown meadows to manicured lawns. ..... John Bates, A Northwoods Companion: Spring and Summer
May 27, ............ At around 5 AM my dog growled and I noticed a black bear just outside our living room window here in
Hancock. She hung around for a couple of minutes and then walked behind our house. Much to my
amazement there were three others, apparently cubs, waiting for her. All four then walked off slowly
into the woods. While I've seen a mother and one cub in the past, I've never seen four at one time.
..... Gil Malnati, Hancock
Actually, according to the research, litters of three are very common in the eastern United States.
Western black bears generally have smaller litters, probably due to a lesser availability of food
supplies. For some additional information on the North American black bear reproductive cycle
and litter size, visit: www.bear.org/website/bear-pages/black-bear/reproduction.html
May 31, .............. Some New Hampshire natural history articles well worth the effort of tracking down this month:
New Hampshire Wildlife Journal, New Hampshire Fish & Game Magazine - May/June 2015
- Wonderful Wood Warblers, Ellen Snyder
- The Mysterious Saw-whet Owl, Lindsay Webb
Northern Woodlands Magazine - Spring 2015
- How Beavers Recycle Tree Defenses, Dietland Muller-Schwartz
- The Great Forest Migration, Benjamin Lord
- Declining Moose Populations: What Does the Future Hold ?, Susan C. Morse
- The Overstory: Red Pine, Virginia Barlow
Northern Woodlands Magazine - Summer 2015
- 200 Million Years and Counting: An Illustrated Introduction
t o Some of Our Region's Turtles, Lauren diBiccari
- The Overstory: Striped Maple, Virginia Barlow
Many of these articles can be found in your local library or by GOOGLING the title, and/or the
magazine title and date. The easier option is to give youself and a nature loving friend or relative
a gift subscription and have the publication automatically show up in your mailbox. ..... CS
A Tiny Bird, A Long Journey and Blind Faith - Dave Anderson
It never fails to amaze me when the first ruby-throated hummingbird returns to the front porch
where we hang a sugar water feeder in late spring. The visitor squeaks, circles, hovers and then
approaches my face, making eye contact with his little tilted head before vanishing in a whir and
blur of tiny wings. The message is unmistakable: "Dude, where is my nectar feeder ?"
This tiny bird, small as a mouse, just returned from southern Mexico - a journey of a thousand
miles - without the aid of weather forecasts, maps or GPS satellite navigation. During its entire
spring migratory journey it kept my front porch pillar fixed in its innate onboard navigational system
as the ultimate destination. "Recalculating" is necessary when I imagine if I had to make the same
trip. The least I can do is offer him a sugary cocktail reward.
Migration is amazing! Hundreds of thousands of colorful tropical songbirds have now returned
from wintering in Central and South America and the Caribbean islands. On warm southwest
winds they pour into northern forests, farms and suburban backyards to devour the hatching
blackflies. It is no coincidence that New Hampshire is a preferred summer destination for breeding
Northern birds co-evolved timing of the breeding seasons to take advantage of both insect
protein and fruit carbohydrates. Their nesting season is closely timed to flower nectar, an explosion
of insect protein and the sugary fruits our region provides for raising chicks. It's worth the hazards
of the long migration because insect protein fuels building nests, incubating eggs and feeding
vulnerable chicks. Plant carbohydrates from native fruits and berries provide the fuel to form flight
feathers fast ! Even for birds, New Hampshire is a great place to raise a family.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only breeding hummingbirds in the Northeast. The
species occupies the largest breeding range of any North American hummingbird. Ruby-throated
hummingbirds beat their wings 53 times per second. While it is an extremely agile flyer, its short legs
prevent it from walking or hopping. Males do not remain with females for long. Breeding pairs remain
together for courtship and mating which generally last several days to several weeks. Adults begin
their fall migration south by early August.
Your backyard was also likely lodged in the navigational memory sector of tropical migrant bird
brains. When they arrive, they expect to find summer homes undiminished after such a long journey.
You don't want to disappoint your winged summer guests ! Perhaps we owe them some duty of care
and courtesy after they've traveled hundreds of miles. That blind faith exhibited by my hummingbird
friend creates the responsibility for me to fulfill. He trusts his natal nesting territory awaits him .... and
maybe even sugar solution in that hanging nectar feeder too !
Excerpted from one of Dave's "Forest Journal" essays which appear every other week in the
New Hampshire Sunday News . Dave is the Director of Education and Volunteer Services for
the Society of the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Follow Dave's writings there and in
the SPNHF's quarterly magazine "Forest Notes".
MONADNOCK SKIES - For June 2015
June, ....... June - Late Spring, Early Summer Skies - Early in June, Arcturus, in the constellation Bootes,
will be visible in near the Meridian at around 9 PM. By mid month, the three bright summer stars of the
"Summer Triangle", Vega and Deneb and Altair are visible moving higher and higher in the
eastern sky. Monadnock skywatchers with a good view of the southern horizon will be able to
see the constellation Scorpio moving steadily towards the meridian, low in the sky. By month's end
its bright Alpha star Antares will be on the Meridian around 9 PM. The constellation Sagittarius with
its distinctive "teapot" shape will be right behind.
June, ....... The Planets This Month - Venus, shining with a magnitude of - 4.4 continues to dominate the
western sky after sunset. It reaches its "greatest elongation" from the sun, approximately 45 degrees,
on June 6th. Since the earth's eastward rotation of 15 degrees per hour, causes the planets, stars and
constellations to move westward across the sky at that rate, this means that Venus will set in the
west, some 3 hours after the sun. Jupiter, shining at magnitude - 1.9, is also located in the western sky
above Venus. The two planets slowly approach each other during the month. Don't miss their
spectacular pairing in the early evening sky after sunset on the 30th when they will be about 1/3 of a
degree apart, easily visible in the field of view of binoculars or a small telescope. Venus will appear
as a crescent, one third full. Jupiter will exhibit its cloud bands in a small telescope. Also easily visible
will be the four brightest Jovian satellites (Galilean) with the brightest Ganymede east of the planet and
Io, Europa and Callisto to the west. Saturn is still visible in the morning sky before dawn.
June 1, Venus Aligns with Castor and Pollux in the Early Evening Sky - About an hour to an hour and
a quarter after sunset, the planet Venus, shining brightly at magnitude - 4.4, is found in the WNW sky
just to the left (south) of Pollux and Castor, the two brightest stars in the constellation Gemini. Pollux is
closest to Venus with Castor just to the right. Jupiter is in the same region about 20 degrees to the upper
left of Venus. Jupiter shines brightly at magnitude - 1.9. Jupiter will be drawing closer and closer to Venus
as the month progresses. On June 30th they will only be one third of a degree apart.
June 2, ........ Bright International Space Station Passage - Tonight, weather permitting, Monadnock skywatchers
will have an opportunity to observe a bright passage of the International Space Station (ISS) across our
early evening skies. The ISS will appear low in the WSW at about 9:49 PM. The satellite, appearing as a
bright starlike object, will move higher in the sky, reaching its greatest altitude of 60 degrees in the NNW.
As it climbs higher in the sky, it will pass between the bright planet Jupiter and the "Sickle" of the
constellation Leo the Lion. It will shine with a magnitude of - 2.7 when it reaches its highest point at about
9:52 PM. It will then move downward, passing just to the NW of the "bowl" of the Big Dipper before
being lost from view near the horizon at 9:55 PM.
June 3, .......... Second Bright International Space Station Passage - To view this passage, weather permitting,
face the SW a minute or two before the ISS scheduled appearance at 8:56 PM. The ISS will appear as a
starlike object moving upward in the sky, It will pass near the tail of Leo the Lion as it moves toward its
highest point of 77 degrees above the horizon in the SE at about 8:59 PM. At that point it will be shining at
a magnitude of - 3.4, about a bright as the ISS ever appears. It will pass very near the star Vega before
moving lower in the sky and disappearing from view in the ENE at about 9:02 PM.
June 2, .......... Full Moon - The Flower Moon - An obvious choice for the nickname of the May Full Moon. Also
known as the "Corn Planting Moon" and the "Milk Moon".
June 9, ........ Last Quarter Moon
June 16, ....... New Moon
June 17, ........ Very Young Crescent Moon - Try and spot the 1 day old new crescent moon very close to the horizon
in the WNW. To make this observation with binoculars you need a very clear sky and an unobstructed
view of the horizon. Not an easy task. This is the earliest one can spot the cresent . Easier tomorrow
June 21, ....... The Summer Solstice - Today marks the official start of Summer in the northern hemisphere as the sun
reaches its elevation in the noontime sky. Officially at 12:29 PM EDT. At this point it "pauses" before
beginning is southward trip, lowering its noontime elevation each day until it reaches its lowest elevation
in December at the Winter Solstice. The word Solstice is derived from two Latin words, "sol" (sun) and
and "stitium" (to stop), reflecting the "pause" in the northward migration at noon today.
June 24, ....... First Quarter Moon
June 30, ....... Spectacular Pairing of Venus and Jupiter in the Western Twilight Sky - See "The Planets This
MONADNOCK REGION NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS CALENDAR - June 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.
June 3, .......... Invasive Plant Species Talk - The Chamberlin Free Public Library, Greenville, hosts a presentaion on
invasive upland species by Douglas Cygan of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture on Wed. at
7 PM. Learn about the various issues: NH rules and regulations; identifying features, characteristics, and
control measures of some of the more aggressive, non-native plants in the Granite State.
June 4, .......... Tour of New England Wood Pellet - The Harris Center manages almost 8,500 acres of wildlife, people,
and forest prducts. The latter may include the pellets that fuel your wood stove, Join us for a tour of
New England Wood Pellet, New England's oldest and largest manufacturer of wood pellets. This tour of
their Jaffrey facility is limited to the first 15 individuals to register. Meet at the Harris Center at 9:30 AM to
carpool. Back by noon. For more information, contact Eric Masterson (603) 525-3394
June 5, .......... Easy Going Hike to Converse Meadow - An easy, 3 mile hike through the hemlock and hardwood
groves of Converse Meadow in Rindge. Protected by a conservation easement held by the Monadnock
Conservancy, Converse Meadow lies in the path of the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline. Bring water and
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 (603) 5215-5262, Ollie Mutch (978) 386-5318, or Ryan
Owens (603) 357-0600. Harris Center Program.
June 5, .......... Nature's Play - Session One - Join Harris Center naturalist Susie Spikol Farber and folk heritage
musician Mary DeRosiers for three Fridays in June to explore the secret nooks and crannies of the Harris
Center's grounds. We'll sing, dance and share stories of the animals and plants we'll find. These afternoons
will be child-led, and all about free play in the outdoors, regardless of the weather. Make a mud pie, dance
a reel, peel a walking stick, sing a song, catch a frog, make some music, and hum to a snail. Parents can
stay and play. too. Fridays, June 5, 12, and 19, from 3:30 to 5 PM at the Harris Center. for children from 4
through 7. $30 Harris Center members/ $50 for nonmembers. Preregistration is required. Contact Sara
Lefebvre at (603) 525-3394 or firstname.lastname@example.org
June 5, .......... Froggie Went A'Courtin' Family Campfire - For families of all ages. Join folk heritage musician Mary
DeRosiers and naturalist Susie Spikol Farber for a night around the campfire as we sing and share stories
of frogs and their froggie ways. If weather permits, we'll have a real campfire in the parking lot of the
Hancock Town Library, If it's raining like frogs and toads, we'll meet in the Daniels Room for our evening's
entertainment. From 7- 8 PM at the Hancock Town Library. No charge. To register, contact Sara LeFebvre.
Cosponsored by the Harris Center and the Hancock Town Library.
June 6, .......... Bird Watching Program - Distant Hill Gardens - Expert birder Wendy Ward will lead a leisurely walk
through the forests and fields of Distant Hill Gardens in search of our avian friends. We will be looking for
interesting species as well as learning how to identify some of the birds by their songs. 8 AM to 10 AM at
Distant Hill Gardens, 507 March Hill Road, Walpole, A $5 per person fee is requested. For a description of
other Distant Hill Gardens programs this summer: www.distanthillgardens.org/2015-events/
June 6, .......... Invasive Plant Workday at the Harris Center - Join UNH Cooperative extension Forestry Specialist
Karen Bennett for a morning of hands-on learning about invasive plants. After a brief introduction to
Invasive plant management, we'll get to work cutting and pulling the invasives that plague the Harris
Center's back field - primarily Oriental Bittersweet and Autumn Olive. Bring work gloves an loppers, or
use the Harris Center's tools. 10 AM to noon at the Harris Center. For more information cantact Brett Amy
Thelen (603) 358-2065. Cosponsored with UNH Cooperative Extension.
June 10, .......... Fish Survey at Falls Brook - A new, fish-friendly culvert on Hale Road in Swanzey will soon re-connect
more than 20 miles of stream habitat for wild brook trout, dace, and other aquatic wildlife. Join John Magee,
Fish Habitat Biologist with NH Fish and game, to learn more about this exciting restoration project during
a pre-construction fish survey at the restoration site. 3:30 to 5 PM at Falls Brook in Swanzey. (Rain date is
June 11) Space is limited and pre-registration is required. For more information or to register, contact
Brett Amy Thelen. Cosponsored by the Harris Center, Cheshire Conservation District, Trout Unlimited,
NHF&G, and the Town of Swanzey.
June 10, ......... Nubanusit Lake and Spoonwood Pond Paddle - Hancock and Nelson, NH. Spoonwood Pond is
about as good as it gets, quiet, secluded, inaccessible by car and off-limits to motorboats. With cool, clear
waters and granite slab shoreline it's a great place to paddle, picnic and swim. We access Spoonwood
Pond by launching in to Nubanusit Lake and paddle a short distance to a short carry into Spoonwood.
Nubanusit traffic can be heavy, even during the week, so we'll spend very little time on the lake. Eagle
sightings are common on this trip. We'll meet at 9 AM in the Hannaford's parking lot on Putney Road in
Brattleboro to carpool. Parking space is very limited at the lake put-in. Paddlers coming from NH are
welcome to meet us at the Nubanusit Lake put-in in Hancock at 10 AM. Brattleboro Outing Club. Learn
more about the club and its many other outings scheduled for the upcoming summer and fall paddling
June 10, .......... Beaver Workshop - Matt Tarr, Wildlife Specialist with the UNH Cooperative Extension, will lead this field
workshop on beaver ecology, biology, and habitat requirements. We'll visit a local beaver impoundment,
and discuss flood control options. Departs from the Harris Center at 7 PM sharp. Back by 9 PM. For more
information, contact Eric Masterson at (603) 525-3394.
June 12, ........... Evening Paddle on Howe Reservoir - Tom Warren will lead an easy evening paddle on Howe
Reservoir, with a focus on birds. We'll look for Loons as we enjoy the evening vespers of our most
beautiful songsters, including the Veery and Wood Thrush. Bring your own boat and meet at the Route
101 parking area opposite Howe reservoir in Dublin. Back by 9 PM. Pre-registration is required. To
register, contact Tom at (603) 563-7190.
June 13, ........... Trail Maintenance on the Harriskat Trail - Join trail chief Jim Orr for a morning of moderately easy
trail work, clearing branches and small blow downs from the Harriskat Trail. All ages and abilities are
welcome. Bring gloves and loppers, or use the Harris Center's tools. Meet at 9 AM at the Harris Center,
Back by noon. For more information, contact Jim (603) 924-6934. Harris Center program.
June 13, ............ Biking the Rail Trail from Fitzwilliam to Winchendon - Join Russ Daigle and Brian Bishoff for a
moderately easy 25 mile roundtrip bike ride along the Cheshire Rail Trail from Fitzwilliam to Winchendon
and back. Bring water and lunch for a picnic on Winchendon Common. Meet at 10 AM at the Fitzwilliam
Depot on Route 119. Back by 3 PM. For more information, contact Russ (603) 477-7506 or Brian (603)
899-5770. Harris Center program.
June 13, ............ Poetry on the Trail with Poet and Forester Swift Corwin - Join us for an early morning hike
through the Welch Farm Forest off Route 123 in Hancock. We'll take a slow and easy ramble with a
number of stops along the way. At each stop, Swift Corwin will read poetry in the spirit of the day. We'll
travel a long way, but maybe not very far in actual distance. Bring water, and meet at 10 AM at the Welch
Farm trailhead on Route 123 in Hancock. Back by 11 AM. For more information, contact Swift (603) 562-
5620. Cosponsored by the Harris Center and the Hancock Town Library.
June 14, ............ Hiroshi Land Celebration - Last May, the Harris Center and the Peterborough Conservation
Commission protected more than 100 acres of land adjacent to Nubanusit Brook. Join us for a
celebration of the project, followed by a walk along Nubanusit Brook on the Harris Center's newest
trail. Bring water, and meet at 10 AM at the Hiroshi land, 2,1 miles north of Carr's Store on the east side
of Route 137.Back by 1 PM. For more information, contact Eric Masterson (603) 525-3394. Harris Center
June 16, ............ Mountain Laurel Walk - Naturalist Roger Haydock will guide a walk through Madame Sherri Forest
in New Hampshire to Indian Pond which is ringed with mountain laurel. Directions from Brattleboro:
cross into NH on Route 9. take the first right (Mountain Road) then the first left (Gulf Road). The parking
area will be about 2 miles on the right. There's also a Kiosk for Madame Sherri Forest. Meet there at
6 PM. Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society program.
June 17, ............ Vermont's Rattlesnakes - Doug Blodgett, Wildlife Biologist with the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Dept.
Doug has worked extensively on game and non-game management programs. He was the leader of the
Wild Turkey Project team and assisted on the deer, black bear, moose, fur-bearer, and peregrine falcon
research projects. Most recently, Doug's professional interest has focused on reptiles, and specifically,
rare snake research in Vermont. Program at 7 PM at the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, Vt.
Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society program.
June 20, ............ StoryWalk on the Cranberry Meadow Pond Trail in Peterborough - Come walk along a short
section of this town-to-mountaintop trail as it winds its way through meadowland. Pages from the story
"Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow," written by Joyce Sinclair, and illustrated by award
winning Peterborough artist Beth Krommes, will be laid out along the self-guided trail for you to read as
you go. Join the walk anytime between 10 AM and 2 PM on Saturday, June 20, Cosponsored by the Harris
Harris Center and the Monadnock Conservancy. For more information, contact Susie Spikol Farber
(603) 525-3394. Harris Center program.
June 21, .......... Hike to Royalston Falls - Join Denny Wheeler and Russ Daigle for a moderately easy, 4 mile round
trip hike on the Monadnock-Metacomet Trail along Tully Brook, ending at scenic Royalston Falls. Bring
water and lunch, and meet at 9 AM at Richmond Four Corners (at the intersection of Routes 32 and 119
in Richmond) to carpool. Back by 1 PM. For more information, contact Denny (6030 313-0350 or Russ
(603) 477-7506. Harris Center program.
June 27-28, ...... Gilsum Rock Swap and Mineral Show - 50th Annual Show to be held rain or shine. More than 65
dealers and swappers, with gems, jewelry and minerals for sale or trade in a scenic southwestern NH
setting. Pan for minerals, enjoy an old fashioned New England ham and bean dinner with homemade
pies. Sit down for a chicken barbeque lunch and more. Special presentations: Rock Hounding in New
England, Nancy Swing. Hours: 8 AM to 6 PM Saturday, June 27, 8 AM to 4 PM Sunday, June 28. At the
Gilsum Elementary School and Community Center, 640 Route 10 in Gilsum. Check out all of the
information about the event and associated activities at www.gilsum.org/rockswap
MONADNOCK NATURAL HISTORY RESOURCES
............. Guide to the Wapack Trail - Friends of the Wapack Trail (2015). A comprehensive guide to
the entire Wapack Trail, Side Trail and it's Environs. The Wapack Trail is a 21 mile long skyline
footpath from Mount Watatic an Ashburnham, Massachusets to Pack Monadnock in Greenfield.
New Hampshire. Completed in 1927, it is the oldest interstate trail in the northeast. This brand
new guide contains an up to date trail description, a durable full-color trail map, dozens of
maps of suggested hikes and an extensive history of the trail. Available at the Toadstool Book
Stores in Keene and Peterborough.
........... Lichens of the North Woods - Joe Walewaki, (2007) Lichens are the unsung superheroes
of the northern wilds: they are tiny organisms that have the capability to dissolve solid granite.
Lichens are surprisingly colorful; blazing oranges, radiant yellow, pastel greens, rich blacks
and bright whites adorn tree trunks, bedrock and even gravestones. One hundred and twenty
species are shown in beautiful color photos. 160 pages, loaded with informative natural history
.......... 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:
........ 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
REGIONAL NATURAL HISTORY , RECREATIONAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS
....... Harris Center for Conservation Education. Education, school programs, land
and wildlife preservation, programs, hiking, weekend events. Open year round.
Mon.-Fri. 83 Kings Highway, Hancock, NH 03449. www.Harris.org
....... New Hampshire Audubon Society. A statewide organization, dedicated to the
conservation of wildlife habitat . Programs in wildlife conservation, land protection,
environmental policy, and environmental education.
84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH. www.nhaudubon.org
....... The Nature Conservancy. A leading conservation organization working to protect
ecologically important lands and waters in New Hampshire. 22 Bridge St., Concord,
NH 03301 www.nature.org
....... Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. A leading statewide
land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the state's most important
landscapes while promoting wise use of its renewable natural resources. www.spnhf.org
........ Monadnock Conservancy. The Monadnock Conservancy's mission is to work with
communities and landowners to conserve the natural resources, wild and working lands,
rural character and scenic beauty of the Monadnock region. Visit their website:
........ New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. Conserves, manages and protects
New Hampshire's fish, wildlife, and marine resources. www.WildNH.com
....... Friends of Pisgah - A volunteer organization dedicated to assisting in the preservation
of Pisgah State Park located in southwestern Cheshire County. The organization has been
involved in the development and maintenance of the park's trail system for many years.
........Friends of the Wapack - an independent, non-profit organization composed of hikers,
volunteers, and landowners dedicated to the preservation of the 21 mile long trail from Mt.
Watatic in northern Mass. to North Pack here in New Hampshire.
........ Brattleboro Outing Club - The BOC offers an opportunity to participate in year-round
outdoor activities including kayaking, canoe trips and cross country skiing. For additional
........ Keene Mineral Club - Founded in 1948 the Keene Mineral Club is an active group of
collectors of 100 or so members whose interests cover the full spectrum of mineral related
topics: crystals, minerals, gems, lapidary, micromounts, fossils and more. The club holds
regular monthly meetings, publishes an award winning newsletter and sponsors frequent
local and regional field trips. Membership is encouraged for all ages and levels of interest.
....... Keene Amateur Astronomers Club - Founded in 1957, the club has a goal of enhancement
of Amateur Astronomy through fellowship, sharing knowledge and enjoyment of the hobby. The
KAA holds monthly meetings, provides outreach programs, and holds regular viewing sessions
at their own observatory. Membership is open to students, parents, beginners, backyard
amateurs and experienced professionals. Meetings and observing sessions are open to all.
.......... 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.
.......... Latitude and Longitude - To determine the exact Latitude and Longitude of a specific location,
visit the website (http://touchpad.com/ladling.html). For a more detailed description of the
information available on this website, see the January 2011 MAN.
.......... 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.
top birders. (http://birdingonthe.net/mailing/NUB.html)
......... New Hampshire Mountain Lions - John Ranta of Hancock, NH maintains a running blog which
shares information on mountain lions in New Hampshire and reports sightings in the Granite State.
......... Rare Bird Alert - New Hampshire - A weekly listing of rare bird sightings throughout the
state. Compiled each week by Mark Suomala. The RBA is available in each Friday's edition of
the Union Leader newspaper, as a phone recording (603) 224-9909, or from the New Hampshire
Audubon's website: (http://www.nhaudubon.org/birding/rare-bird-alerts)
......... New Hampshire Lightning Detection/Tracking System - This site provides a real-time
radar map of lightning strikes occurring in the northeastern states. The map is refreshed every
5 minutes. The site also provides a wealth of other useful and interesting meteorological
......... Heavens Above - A treasure trove of observational astronomy information. After registering
and inputting your latitude and longitude, the site provides you with exact times, locations, and
magnitudes of various satellites visible at your location. (http://www.heavens-above.com/)
.......... Google Earth - a free program which allows the viewer to travel anywhere on earth and view
aerial and satellite imagery from great elevations to street level. Many locations provide three
dimensional, 360 degree opportunities for viewing. A must for the regional naturalist to view
natural areas and to preview hiking trails, etc. (http://www.google.com/earth/index.html)
........... Spaceweather.com - A worthwhile site for all sorts of astronomy related information,
including auroral displays and alerts, solar activity (sunspots, flares, etc), planetary Info.,
meteor showers. The site provides a sign-up option for a free e-mail Spaceweather Alert
when something significant is occurring. (http://www.spaceweather.com/)
...........The Old Farmer's Almanac - Another general reference site for regional weather, birding,
fishing, astronomy and outdoor information. Provides an excellent table for the rising and setting
times for the sun, moon and planets which may be selected for your particular town or village.
.......... Naturally Curious with Mary Holland - Follow the regional natural history scene throughout
the year through the comments, images and insights of one of New England's premier naturalists.
Mary's blog site should be a shortcut on the computer desktop of anyone interested in our natural
.......... 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
.......... 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
Monadnock Nature Almanac is compiled and edited by Chuck Schmidt,
observations or subscribe (or unsubscribe) to the free e-mail, contact email@example.com . Please
note, the MNA is formatted to display on a full screen computer e-mail window. All e-mail addresses are secured
and held completely confidential. Past issues of the Monadnock Nature Almanac (from September 2010) are
available upon request.