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

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

      Hillsborough counties. Covering approximately 800 square miles, it ranges in general elevation from 400 to 1200 feet  

      above sea level. Numerous peaks exceed 1400 feet, the highest of which,  Mount Monadnock, rises to 3165 feet. 

 

 

                                    

                                                   "The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough."  ... R. Tagore                                         

                                     

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                

  MONADNOCK NATURE NOTES........ JULY 2015

 

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

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

                                        Please include name and town.

 

  

      July, ............           "....  Dusk comes somewhat earlier now, the Summer Solstice already a month behind us and the 

                                       daylight slowly diminishing. Time's dimensions are unchanged, but the landmarks shift even as the 

                                       familiar star patterns shift in the night skies.  Summer passes. You see the change in the way the

                                       shadows fall. You see it in the trees, the subtle difference in the color of their leaves, in the ripening

                                       seed heads of the wild grasses, in young acorns on the oaks. Pasture roses fade, Black-eyed Susan

                                       and Bouncing Bet flourish at the roadside. Queen Anne's Lace is frothy white where daisies frosted the

                                       fence row a few weeks ago. Milkweed blossoms fade. You hear the change in the bird calls, with fewer

                                       songs of ecstasy and more parental scoldings. You hear it most distinctively, when you pause to listen,

                                       in the insect sounds, for time has special dimensions for chitin-clad life  that is granted only one Summer's

                                       duration. And in the dusk, when sphinx moths haunt the flower garden, crickets stridulate, mosquitoes

                                       hum. late lunas and other light-mad moths bang the window screens.  August and katydids are just over

                                       the horizon, and Autumn is not far behind them. The shadow of time moves slowly but surely across the

                                       sundial of the seasons."   ..... Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons

 

      July 2, ............       During yesterday's afternoon thunderstorms I was intrigued by the nature of the sounds of the thunder

                                      which lasted for an hour or so.  Usually if the lightning causing the thunder is fairly close, you will see 

                                      he flash of lightning and then a second, or two, or three, later you will hear the clap of thunder.  The

                                      difference between seeing the flash of lightning and the noise of the thunder giving you an approximate

                                      distance to the lightning. Yesterday, however,  the thunder was quite different. The storm occurred during

                                      the day and no lightning flashes were visible, but the thunder was almost continuous.  No sharp claps,

                                      just an almost continuous low "rolling" sound with brief intervals between. Each period of thunder would

                                      seemingly continue for minutes on end.  ..... Mike Walsh, Hillsborough

                                           Thunder can be simply explained or can be quite complex. The noise is generated by the rapid

                                       expansion of air around the extremely high temperatures generated by the cloud to ground, or cloud

                                       to cloud lightning bolt.  A relatively close lightning strike produces a shock wave in the air which

                                       travels outward at the speed of sound (about 770 mph -  1,100 fps) roughly perpendicular to the ground

                                       and the observer. When it arrives and passes we hear it as a sharp "clap" of thunder which lasts a 

                                       second or two. Distant cloud to cloud thunder produces the prolonged "rumbling" thunder that Mike

                                       seems to be describing here. That type of sound is a function of a wide variety of factors which include:

                                       the orientation and length of the original lightning bolt(s),( parallel to the observer of pointing away from                                        

                                       the observer), echoes and reverberations caused by reflections from the cloud base and the ground

                                       traveling over longer distances. This type of "rumbling or rolling" thunder sound can last for 20 - 30                                         

                                       seconds and can overlap making them seem even longer in duration. For more detailed Info. access:

                                         (www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/elements/thunder2.htm)   .....  CS

                                                                                                        

      July 4 , ...........       Yesterday a neighbor showed me a colony of little brown bats in an old barn. He told me that in the past

                                       several years there had only been a few bats there, but now he estimates there to be a least 50 or 60, in

                                       addition to pups (young). Hope for the  population recovering after being hit so hard by White Nose

                                       Syndrome.    .....  Al Stoops, Nelson

 

      July 6, .............       Earth at Aphelion Today -  At 3:31 PM today the earth reached it greatest distance from the sun in its

                                       yearly trek around our parent star.  Although this 3% variation in distance in the farthest  and closest

                                       points in our elliptical orbit has nothing to do with our seasonal variation in temperature (axial inclination 

                                       is the culprit here), Johannes Kepler back in the 17th century explained in his Laws of Planetary Motion,

                                       that as we increase our distance from the sun our orbital velocity slows.  This means that today we are

                                       traveling at our slowest orbital speed. Interestingly,  this causes a variation in the calendar "length" of

                                       the seasons.  Summer is our longest season, some five days longer than winter, our shortest,  when we 

                                       are traveling faster in our orbit.   ......  CS                                                         

 

      July 7, .............       In some states drivers hit nearly 30,000 deer annually, mostly at night. They would certainly hit many

                                       more if it weren't for the reflective nature of a deer's eyes.  Why do the eyes of a deer and other

                                       nocturnal animals reflect light at night ? A night animal has a kind of mirror behind its retina, called

                                       the tapetum, which aids in night vision. All incoming light is reflected outward again by the tapetum,

                                       in effect allowing the light to be sensed a second time. If the eyes of nocturnal animals did not reflect

                                       light, cats, coyotes, raccoons, mice and others would be nearly invisible to us at night. Nocturnal

                                       animals also perceive more light because they are unable to see color. While human eyes contain

                                       cone cells to help us perceive colors, nearly all cells in the eyes of night animals are rods, responsive

                                       to light but not color. The colors most mammals see are black, gray and white.  According to research

                                       the nose of a coyote or a bobcat is also nearly 58 times as sensitive as a human nose. Smell serves

                                       as a language for these animals, not unlike our oral language. Tone, mood, and implication are written

                                       between the lines. Predators have to find a meal without alerting prey to their presence. In darkness,

                                       they have to hunt with efficiency, power, and acuity. When you think about it, it's an extraordinary

                                       ability.     ..... John Bates, "A Northwood's Companion"

                                      

      July 8, .............       One of the many and pleasures of becoming a regular viewer of the NH Garden Solutions website/blog

                                       is the frequent descriptions of the locations of new and previously visited locations by Allen

                                       Norcross during his natural history field trips in the Monadnock Region (see July 22nd item). This

                                       early July post describes a visit to Dickinson Memorial Forest in Swanzey.  .....  CS

 

                                         I have readers of this blog that pass along tips about places that might be worth a visit. One of the 

                                       places mentioned recently was Dickinson Memorial Forest in Swanzey which was once owned by a

                                       prominent local family.  After entering you have a choice to make; you can turn right and follow the trail

                                       into the forest or you can follow this old road into Muster Field, so named because volunteer firemen

                                       used to muster and train there. I chose the old road because it follows the Ashuelot River. Old friends

                                       like striped wintergreen (Chimaphila maculata) told me that this land has been this way without being

                                       disturbed for a very long time. I've read that this plant won't grow on land that has been disturbed in

                                       the last century. It grows either in the woods or just at their edges, places where the plow wouldn't

                                       have gone. I rarely see it and I think this is only the third or fourth place that I've found it. Shinleaf

                                       (Pyrolla elliptica), another of our native wintergreens, grew in a large colony here. This plant's common

                                       name comes from the way Native Americans used it as a poultice to heal wounds; especially shin

                                       wounds, apparently, it contains compounds similar to those found in aspirin and a tea made from it

                                       was used for many of the same ailments. The nodding white, waxy flowers are fragrant and very hard

                                       to get a good photo of.  The reason I drove out here that day was because I was short of time and I

                                       wanted to see if the Canada lilies (Lilium canadense) that I saw on a previous visit were blooming. I

                                       think that these plants succeed so well because they get tall enough to rise above the surrounding

                                       vegetation to where the sunshine is. They soar to 7 feet tall and remind me of chandeliers at this stage.

                                       In 1857 Henry David Thoreau was told by a native American guide how the bulbs of this plant were

                                       cooked with meat in soups and stews to thicken them, much like flour does. Henry dug some and ate

                                       them raw, finding that they tasted somewhat like "raw green corn on the ear". I've always been told

                                       that lilies were toxic when eaten so I'd say Henry was a lucky man.  Cooking must remove the

                                       toxicity, which would explain why natives ate them so regularly.  ......  Allen Norcross, Jaffrey

                                          Access Allen's blog to read the rest of the description of this interesting site and to view his, always

                                       beautiful,  accompanying photography. See July 22nd  link.   ..... CS   

 

      July 10, ...........      It seems that New Hampshire's already dwindling moose population is about to become even smaller.

                                      Scientists say that winter ticks were responsible for the deaths of 74% of all collared moose calves last

                                      year, which is indicative of the wider population as a whole. Despite the alarmingly high rate of mortality,

                                      experts said they are not surprised.  New Hampshire's  moose population has declined slowly from 7,000

                                      in 1999 to about 4,000 animals today. The winter tick is becoming a chronic problem, leading to reduced 

                                      productivity and increased mortality. The future of the iconic species is uncertain. The ticks are more

                                      formidable than they seem, feeding on blood, they can literally drain the blood from a moose calf,

                                      forcing it to cannibalize its own fat - and muscle - to survive. A single moose is capable of harboring

                                      thousands of the ticks, which feed until they drop off and reproduce. Biologists are hoping that this

                                      year's heavy and lingering snowfall will have killed a larger number of ticks than usual, therefore

                                      reducing the moose mortality rate.    .....  Hawkeye, July 2015 

                                      

      July 11, ...........      The little square suet feeder hanging in a branch just outside our kitchen door gave us a rare treat

                                       recently. A mother red-bellied Woodpecker was filling her beak with suet and going out on the branch

                                       to feed a young bird that was as big as the mother.  A short time later there was a hairy Woodpecker

                                       doing the same thing. We do take the feeder down each night, not to escape a bear, but a problem

                                       raccoon.     .....  Jane Allen, Spofford

 

      July 13, ............      Birds have a very efficient breathing system which makes use of their lungs, but also utilizes air

                                       sacs (7 - 12 depending upon the species) within the bird's body. Common loons use their air sacs for

                                       more than respiration, however. By changing the amount of air in the sacs, loons can vary their depth

                                       while resting in water. A deep breath fills the sacs with air and produces high flotation. During dives,

                                       in addition to compressing their feathers (which forces air out from beneath them), loons decrease

                                       the amount of air in their air  sacs by exhaling.  The ability to deflate the air sacs also allows loons to

                                       quietly sink below the water's surface in order to make it easier for their young chicks to climb aboard.

                                          .......  Mary Holland, Hartland, Vt

                                            Access Mary's award winning website/blog for her ongoing posts of regional natural history topics

                                        and her beautiful photography (https://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com/page/2/)

 

      July 14, ............      As I ambled into the village at about 8:30 this morning (as is my wont), a large snapping turtle suddenly

                                       loomed to my immediate left. Apparently trying to lay, she faced me and the road, in a small pull-off area.

                                       I kept on slowly, ten feet away in passing, and was surprised when she turned around and lumbered

                                       back toward Norway Pond. Her carapace alone was about 16 inches long. She was probably the second

                                       largest snapper I've ever had the pleasure to see. Thoughts at the time ?  Mainly of "Jurassic park."

                                          ..... Neal Clark, Hancock

 

      July 18, .........       "Tis moonlight, summer moonlight,                      

                                       All soft and still and fair;

                                       The solemn hour of midnight

                                       Breathes sweet thoughts everywhere,

                                       But most where trees are sending

                                       Their breezy boughs on high                                          

                                       Or stooping low are lending           

                                       A shelter from the sky.

                                       And there in those wild bowers

                                       A lovely form is laid;

                                       Green grass and dew steeped flowers

                                        Wave gently round her head."

                                            ..... Emily Bronte, Moonlight, Summer Moonlight

                                            ..... Submitted by Ellen Taylor, Rindge

 

      July 20, ............      Woke up to two hens and 14 pigeon sized babies running around the yard. Four weeks ago I startled

                                        them when I walked around the corner of the shed. The babies looked like leaves in the grass when

                                        they ducked down and tried to hide. Momma chased me all over the yard !!!  ....  Sue Moran

 

       July 20, ............      I spent a few hours yesterday wading the shore of Gregg Lake near our camp. The weather was hot,

                                        sunny and breezy. Although there were a few dragonflies in flight over the water, I saw only damselflies

                                        along the edge of the lake. The most common damsels were variable dancers. There were mostly males

                                        present; probably two or three dozen along the roughly hundred feet of lake shore I wandered. However,

                                        I also observed four or five tandem pairs ovipositing. I also saw two male eastern forktails and either one

                                        or two (it could have been the same individual twice) male swamp spreadwings. I do not remember

                                        seeing swamp spreadwings on the lake before. The highlight of the day (for both the spider and myself,

                                        not so much for the damselfly) was watching a spider feeding on a variable dancer trapped in a web.

                                           ..... Frank Gorga, Antrim   

                                               Access Frank's site "Photographs by Frank" to view his beautiful accompanying photography

                                         for this post and many other fascinating posts also with his great photos.  www.gorga.org/blog/  ..... CS

 

       July 22, ............      Many people have hummingbird feeders, and that's fine, but I wish more people would plant flowers

                                         which appeal to these birds. I have several clumps of bee balm (Monarda didyma) which I started

                                         with just a plant or two; they have spread by themselves. I don't have to refill them. I can look out

                                         almost every day now and see a hummingbird moving from one tubular flower to another; each plant

                                         has several flowers. Somehow the birds locate suitable plants and add them to their daily circuit. I

                                         would like to start some trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), although some consider it invasive. As far 

                                         as I am concerned, you can't have too many hummingbirds.   ..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey 

 

      July 22, .............      Distant Hill Gardens - Walpole -  The MNA has been listing the regularly scheduled natural history

                                        programs offered by Distant Hill Gardens in Walpole for some time now.  Just this month Allen

                                        Norcross has posted summaries of two visits to the facility on his blog "NH Garden Solutions". Take

                                        a look at Allen's extensive description of this facility and his beautiful accompanying photography,

                                        and I guarantee that you will be scheduling a trip to the Gardens ASAP ! The summaries of his visits

                                        are recorded in Distant Hill gardens - Part One and Distant Hill Gardens - Part Two in his July postings.

                                        (https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2015/07/) The next Distant Hill gardens program is listed

                                        in the MNA's Activity Calendar for August 2.   A visit,  even if there is no special program scheduled,  

                                        is a must.    .....   Chuck Schmidt, Hancock

 

      July 23, .............     Two recent Francie Von Merten columns in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript are well worth tracking

                                        down.  Francie's regular, every other week "Backyard Birder" Column is one of the main reasons for

                                        my mail subscription to the paper.                          

 

                                           - "Hooray, the gangs all here" -  July 9 -  a description of a walk up and down the auto road at Pack

                                               Monadnock State Park.

 

                                           -   A Plea for vigilance: the dog-strangling vine is here" - July 23  - an addendum to the previous

                                               column and a description of one of our invasive plant species black swallow-wort.

 

                                         These columns are available at the newspaper section of your local library, or better yet, consider

                                          a mail subscription, and never miss a column.   ......   CS

 

      July 24, .............       For many years one hollyhock in my yard has produced pink blossoms. This year the blossoms are

                                          pure white. I wonder what happened ?    ..... Terry McMahon,Stoddard

                                                The color of some garden flowers are dependent upon soil pH. The best known case of this is

                                          the hydrangea which can exhibit blue or pink flower blossoms depending upon soil pH. I have never

                                          heard of this being the case with hollyhocks, but its a possibility due to a change in the soil conditions. 

                                          A different fertilizer ?  I think hollyhocks are also biennial, so maybe this is a completely different plant

                                          blooming in the same spot ?  ..... CS

 

      July 24, ..............      While my wife was doing her thing in Bed Bath & Beyond, I took the opportunity to take a look at 

                                         the wildflower offerings at the eastern end of the  parking area where it borders up against a large

                                         undeveloped wet area between there and the Rt 9 bypass.  The most noticeable change since my

                                         last visit was the take-over of the fuzzy grayish-pink Rabbits-foot Clover  (Trifolium arvense) along

                                         the curb edge from the Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) which has dominated that area since

                                         early June.  This clover has become prominent along many of the curb edges throughout the Keene

                                         region. The other major change was the full blooming of Early Goldenrod (Soligago juncea) in all of

                                         the drier areas.   ..... Larry Kennedy, Keene

 

      July 25, ..............      At 11:00 this morning a kingfisher sat on the (never used) duck nest box in my pond. whacking a fish

                                          against the top of the box. I think the fish was a horned pout. That would explain the difficulty the bird

                                          had in killing it, and the reason it needed to, the spines on the pectoral fins extending too far to be

                                          swallowed if the fish is alive. The kingfisher held the pout by the head, which made the whacking

                                          ineffective. After a bit I went to get my camera to try to photograph it, but the kingfisher flew just as I

                                          was opening the window. I don't know whether it swallowed the pout or released it.  Early this spring

                                          I watched a blue heron go through the same procedure on the shore of the pond, with what looked like

                                          a larger horned pout. The heron did finally swallow it, but with difficulty, and I didn't see a heron on the

                                          pond again for a long time.  An hour later, a pair of kingfishers returned.  Again one of them caught a 

                                          horned pout, and again it flew just as I readied my camera. This time I am pretty sure it swallowed

                                          the fish.  .....  Terry McMahon, Stoddard                                        

\

      July 27, ..............      The Lowdown on Wild Turkey Disease -  LPDV is something that many naturalists have heard of by

                                          now but many of us struggle to pronounce it beyond the acronym. Lymphoproliferative Disease Virus                                       

                                          is the full name and can cause lesions on wild turkeys that are infected with it, some so severe that

                                          they  die.  Historically, LPVD was known to occur in Europe and Israel. It was first reported in the U.S.  

                                          in  2009 in an adult wild turkey from Arkansas. Shortly thereafter, further testing revealed it to be

                                          present in 17 additional states.  Testing revealed that 47 % of the turkeys surveyed had the disease.

                                          Regionally, the northeast had the highest prevalence followed by the Mid-Atlantic  and southeastern

                                          states.  LPDV presence by state ranged from Oklahoma,  the lowest with 26 %,  to  New Hampshire the

                                          highest with 83%. Previous research in domestic turkeys showed that LPDV targets lymphoid tissue.

                                          It replicates first in bone marrow and spreads out to other parts of the body such as the spleen.

                                          No human risks are known from LPVD despite it being so widespread in the U.S. ......  Allison Keating

 

      July 31, ..............      Some recent New Hampshire natural history related articles well worth the effort of tracking down

                                          this month:

 

                                            -  Forest Notes - Summer 2015 - Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests Magazine:

 

                                                  - Open Air Museums of N.H. History : Our Woods are Full of Hidden Stories Written in Stone

                                                     and Steel - Dave Anderson

                                                   - Reading the Past at a Wooded Cellar Hole  -  Dave Anderson

 

                                             -  New Hampshire Wildlife Journal - July/August - NH Fish and Game Department Magazine 

 

                                                    - Something's Bruin in New Hampshire - Andrew Timmins

                                                    - Marsh Hawks of Creampoke - Chris Martin

                                                    - Hail the Humble Bumblebee - Lindsay Welch

 

 

 

         MONADNOCK MUSINGS                            

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                       

                                                                                          Go Take A Hike At Night - Eric Orff

 

 

                                               I just love to be in the woods, day or night. Yes, I have hiked and worked in the woods at night

                                           much of my life. I think nighttime is the best time to really get to know the woods and you ability to

                                           sense things.  99% of what we sense during a daytime hike is with our eyes; we really limit the use

                                           of our senses with a day hike. I liken it to the difference of learning a pond by taking a canoe paddle

                                           across the water or diving in and swimming across to see how it feels. Yes, night hiking frees up

                                           all your senses and gets your blood flowing to hear, feel and smell your surroundings.  It's amazing

                                           how acute your sense of feel becomes in the dark. Now you can sense each step as you walk along

                                           and the sense of feel blossoms across your body - you can actually feel a slight breeze on your face

                                           or other exposed skin.

                                            

                                                 And do your ears perk up to the slightest change in sound ? It's like you can sense the woods

                                            around you, how close to vegetation  you are hearing it as you approach, yet alone distant sounds

                                            that are amplified in the dew-filled night air.  Sounds abound at night.

 

                                                   Lets not forget your sense of smell, now more acute in the dark.  Yes, your nose actually can be

                                            used to your advantage. I have picked up the smell of moose, deer, bear and fisher in the woods

                                            once I "learned" what they smell like.  I have had the advantage of being a wildlife biologist and

                                            have learned these fragrances while handling live animals. For example,  Fisher have a very 

                                            distinctive sweet, musky smell that is easy to learn.

 

                                                   To take a hike at night I don't suggest you blunder into the wilds without a flashlight; by all means

                                            have one along.  A compass and map should also be handy just in case. And, yes, the night woods

                                            can be very confusing. I suggest you start out in woods you are very familiar with and stick to main

                                            woods roads and trails.

 

                                                    I have found myself in some of the most wild New Hampshire woods at night while working as a

                                             wildlife biologist for Fish and Game. I am very comfortable in the dark pretty much anywhere and you

                                             can too, so get out at night for a hike. To be on the safe side, let someone know where you will be and

                                             when you plan to return.  Nothing trains your senses like a night hike.

 

                                                           Excerpted, with permission,  from a 2014 article by Eric Orff, a Wildlife Biologist with the National Wildlife

                                                           Federation, He retired from the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department in 2007 after a 31 year career.

                                                        

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

    MONADNOCK SKIES -  For AUGUST 2015 

 

           

        August, ...........       August -  Summer Skies -   By early evening in the first weeks of August the brightest stars and

                                           most prominent summer constellations are high in Monadnock Region skies.  By 9 PM at mid-month

                                           the constellations Cygnus, Aquilla and Lyra, with their prominent "alpha" stars  Deneb, Altair and 

                                           Vega,  are found near the zenith.  These three stars make up the "asterism" The Summer Triangle. A

                                           precursor to the fall constellations, Pegasus with its asterism The Great Square, is rising in the east 

                                           at about the same time.  August also provides Monadnock skywatchers with the best time to explore 

                                           summer Milky Way arching overhead from the constellation Cassiopeia in the north, through Cygnus

                                           overhead, down to Sagittarius near the southern horizon. A good pair of binoculars is instrument

                                           enough to provide views of this, the star rich center and edge of our Milky Way Galaxy.  Even more 

                                           spectacular views are provided by any relatively modest,  low power, wide aperture telescope. Check

                                           with your local library.  Many New Hampshire libraries have such instruments available for free loan   

                                           to their patrons through a program of the New Hampshire Amateur Astronomy Association. An

                                           excellent and inexpensive guide to summer skies for the novice observer is the Edmund Mag 5 Star

                                           Atlas, available online from the Edmund Scientific Company.  This guide, along with the Edmund Star

                                           and Planet Finder (also inexpensive) are two indispensable aids to familiarizing yourself with the stars

                                           and constellations throughout the year.  They also make wonderful "life-long learning" gifts for young

                                           children.  Pick them up and spend some invaluable hours outside on a few summer evenings exposing

                                           a youngster to the wonders of the night sky.

 

        August, ............       The Planets This MonthSaturn is the only planet easily visible in the evening skies during August.

                                            Look for the planet in the SSW after sunset early in the month. The star Antares in the constellation

                                            Scorpius is visible to the left and slightly below Saturn. The first quarter moon is near Saturn on 

                                            the 22nd of the month. The ring plane of the planet is tilted about 24 degrees as seen from earth, giving

                                            observers with even small telescopes a nice view.  In the morning sky , Mars is the lone naked eye

                                            planet through most of August until Venus appears late in the month. Mars is on the far side of its

                                            orbit some 237 million miles from the earth and is not too bright an object. Over the next nine months,

                                            Mars will be increasing in brightness as it moves closer to the earth.

 

        August 2, .........       Bright International Space Station Passage - This evening, weather permitting, Monadnock Sky

                                           watchers have an opportunity to view a nice,  bright, nearly overhead,  passage of the ISS.  Begin your

                                           viewing a couple of minutes before the 9:15:19 PM scheduled appearance of the ISS at about 10 

                                           degrees above the horizon in the WSW. The ISS will appear as a bright starlike object and will climb

                                           slowly toward the zenith, passing  near Arcturus about a third of the way up. At its maximum elevation

                                           (80 degrees) at 9:18:34 PM it will reach its greatest brightness (magnitude - 3.2).  The Space Station 

                                           will then  move slowly downward toward the NE before disappearing near the horizon at about 

                                           9:22:51 PM.     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

        August 6, .........       Last Quarter Moon  .                    

 

        August 12-13, ...      Perseid Meteor Shower -  This year the Perseid Shower will most likely be best seen late on

                                            the evening of August 12th and into the early morning hours of the 13th.  Fortunately,  this year the

                                            slender waning crescent moon will not interfere with viewing. This shower, usually the best in the

                                            northern hemisphere, builds gradually to a peak at which time observers may see between 50 to

                                            100 meteors per hour in morning hours before dawn. Typically these are bright. fast meteors which

                                            often leave "trails". Hopefully the weather will cooperate and this will be a good observing year for

                                            this highly anticipated shower.

 

        August 14, , .......     New Moon                                         

 

       August 21, .........      First Quarter Moon

 

        August 29, ........      Full Moon - The Sturgeon Moon - The Sturgeon, a large fish common to the Great lakes and 

                                            other nearby bodies of water, is most easily caught during this month.  The fishing tribes of this

                                            region are given credit for attaching this nickname to the August full moon. Several other tribes 

                                            knew the August full moon as the Full Red Moon since the humidity and sultry haze during this

                                            time of year gave the moon a reddish hue as it rose near the horizon.  It was also sometimes 

                                            called the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon.            

 

 

 

 

   MONADNOCK REGION NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS CALENDAR -  AUGUST  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.

 

     August 1, ..........    "Treasured Places" Hike at Calhoun Family Forest - The Monadnock Conservancy and the 

                                       Historical Society of Cheshire County are hosting a plein air day on Saturday August 1 from 10 AM

                                       to 4 PM at the Calhoun Family Forest in Gilsum.  Several plein air  artists will be painting outdoors at

                                       locations along the trail. The 308 acre Forest was donated to the Monadnock Conservancy in 2011.

                                       It includes rich forest habitat and extensive frontage on White Brook and the Ashuelot River. The

                                       trailhead is at the end of White Brook Road which heads east from Rt 10 near Gilsum Center.  All

                                       visitors should drive to the locked gate at the end of White Brook Road where there is a small

                                       parking area. The hike will start there.

 

      August 2, ..........    Native Tree and Exotic Invasive Identification - Join Steve Robege, Forester with the Cheshire

                                       County UNH Cooperative Extension and learn tips on how to identify many of the 30 species of

                                       native trees found on the Distant Hill Gardens property. Steve will also discuss invasive plant ID and

                                       control.  10 AM to noon at Distant Hill Gardens,  507 March Hill Road, Walpole. A suggested donation

                                       of $5 for the program. For more information  www.distanrhillgardens.org  

 

      August 5, ..........    Nature on Tap: The Bald Eagles of Nubanusit Lake -  Bald eagles have been nesting on

                                       Nubanusit Lake for almost 20 years, making this the second longest occupied eagle nest territory in

                                       NH in the post-DDT era.  For just as long, NH Audubon's Chris Martin and local volunteers have 

                                       recorded nesting successes and failures, and managed the nest area to support the eagles and their

                                       offspring. Join Chris for an enriching happy hour of stories, photos and "Nubi" eagle trivia. Drinks on

                                       you. Conversation on us. 5:30- to 6:30 PM at the Hancock Inn, 33 Main St in Hancock.  Reservations are

                                       required since space is limited. To reserve a seat, please contact Sara LeFebvre at (603) 525-3394 or

                                       lefebvre@harriscenter.org  Harris Center program.

          

     August 7, ..........    Easy Going Hike on the Fitzwilliam Rail Trail - Join Ollie Mutch and Lee Baker for a trip to scenic

                                       Rockwood Pond in Fitzwilliam. All ages and abilities welcome on this easy 4 mile roundtrip hike along a

                                       rail trail. Bring water and lunch and meet at 10 AM in the parking lot beside Ocean State Job Lot (at the

                                       intersection of Rts 101 and 202) in Peterborough. Back by 3 PM.  For more information, contact Ollie at

                                       978-386-5318 (wapack@peoplepc.com) or Lee at 603-525-5262 (snowman3137@gmail.com) Harris

                                       Center program.

 

      August 7, ...........   The Bear Man Program -  Ben Kilham, also known as the "Bear Man" will speak at the Stoddard

                                       Town Hall at 6:30 PM.  Kilham is a wildlife biologist based in Lyme. His love of and devotion to black

                                        bears has enabled him to study their habits and interact with them for more than two decades. He

                                        and his wife Debra have accepted bear cubs into their home and enabled them to successfully

                                        return to the wild. Kilham has been the focus of numerous news articles  and nature documentaries.

                                        The Town Hall is located at 1450 Rt 123 N. This program is sponsored by Friends of the Davis Library.

 

     August 13-16, ....  Annual Stellafane Convention - Springfield, Vermont -  Started in 1926, the Stellafane Convention

                                       a gathering of amateur telescope makers and amateur astronomers from all over New England and the

                                       US. All telescopes are welcome and are set up in a field near the Stellafane clubhouse for evening viewing.

                                       A great selection of speakers, workshops, demonstrations and events for every level, children, teens,

                                       beginners,  intermediate and advanced amateur astronomers. A highly anticipated event. For complete

                                       information on activities directions, facilities and registration; stellafane.org/conventio/2015/index/html

 

     August 15, .........   Nubanusit and Spoonwood Paddle -  Canoe or kayak with Russ Daigle and Brian Bishoff on

                                       Nubanusit Lake and Spoonwood Pond, with good prospects for spotting eagles and loons. The route

                                       will involve two portages, one very short, the other about 600 feet. Bring your own boat, water and lunch

                                       for a picnic on Elephant Rock. 10 AM to 2:30 PM. meet at 10 AM at the public boat landing at Nubanusit

                                       Lake, at the end of King's Highway in Hancock. For more information, please contact Russ at 603-477-

                                       7506 or Brian at 603-899-5770 or bjbeam2@myfairpoint.net   Harris Center program.

 

     August 15, ..........  Propagating Native Wildflowers from Seed - Join Kate Strafford, Nursery Operations Manager and

                                       propagator at the New England Wildflower Society's Nasami Farm in Whately, Mass, for a workshop on

                                       propagating native wildflowers from seed. She will be focusing on a number of the best pollinator friendly

                                       species, and will also discuss how to collect, save and store the seed. 10 AM to noon. Suggested donation

                                        for this special workshop is $10.  To register: (603) 756-4179 or distanthillgardens@gmail.com  Distant Hill

                                       Gardens, 507 march Hill Road, Walpole.

 

      August 26, .........   Birding the Nighthawk Migration - Join Cliff Seifer to observe on of the under-appreciated spectacles

                                       of fall migration, the annual flight of nighthawks over the Monadnock Region.  If its an "average" night,

                                       we'll get great looks at a handful of these incredible birds. If it's a "good" night, we'll see hundreds of

                                       acrobatic Nighthawks feeding in giant flocks. Meet at Surry Mountain Dam in Surry at 6 PM. Done by 7:30.

                                       For more information, contact Cliff at clifdisc@gmail.com  Cosponsored by the Harris Center and the NH 

                                       Audubon Society.                                

 

     August 29, .........  Trail Clearing on the Channing Trail - Jim Orr will lead a morning of moderately easy trail work clearing

                                       brush and small blow downs along Hasely Brook. All ages and abilities are welcome. Bring gloves and

                                       loppers or use the Harris Center's tools. 9 AM to 12 noon. Meet at 9 AM at the Harris Center. For more Info.

                                       please contact Jim at 603-924-6934 or trailchief@gmail.com

                            

 

 

 

    MONADNOCK NATURAL HISTORY RESOURCES  

 

          .

                         .........      A Field Guide to the Ants of New England - Gary D. Alpert (2012)  -  The first user-friendly

                                        regional guide devoted to ants. Illustrated with more than 500 line drawings, over 300 photos,

                                        and regional distribution maps for every species. This guide will introduce amateur and 

                                        professional naturalists and biologists, teachers and students, and environmental managers 

                                        to more than 140 ant species found in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.

                                        The detailed drawings and species descriptions, together with the high magnification

                                        photographs, will allow anyone to identify and learn about ants and their diversity , ecology

                                        and life history.

 

                         ..........     Southern New Hampshire Trail Guide - Appalachian Mountain Club - Steven D, Smith -

                                        The latest edition (2015) of this comprehensive guide details more than 200 trails in southern

                                         New Hampshire's beautiful mountains, parks and nature areas. Compiled by the same editor

                                         of the AMC's White Mountain Guide, this new edition describes there most hike-worthy routes

                                         through the region. Plan routes easily with 20 all new, detailed interior trail maps and the full-

                                         color, GPS rendered, pull-out paper map which now covers Mount Monadnock, Mount Cardigan,

                                         Mount Sunapee, Pillsbury State Park, and the Belknap Range. A must have for every hiker who

                                         sets out to explore the southern part of the Granite State.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                          .........    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."

                                        (www.northernwoodlands.org)                                     

                                                                

                               ........ New Hampshire Wildlife Journal - Published bi-monthly by the New Hampshire Fish and

                                        Game Department.  Dedicated to creating an awareness and appreciation for the state's fish and

                                        wildlife and the habitats upon which they depend.  Always contains interesting and informative

                                        articles on regional flora and fauna and environmental issues. (www.WildNH.com)

 

                               ......... Forest Notes - The quarterly magazine of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire

                                         Forests. The magazine includes selections dealing with Society properties, events, land  

                                         acquisition projects and frequently features articles on regional natural history.  Subscription is

                                         available with Society membership. Regularly features Dave Anderson's Natures View column.

                                         Dave, 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

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

                                    

                                ........ 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:

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

 

                                                                                             

 

                                                     

  REGIONAL NATURAL HISTORY , RECREATIONAL, EDUCATIONAL, AND CONSERVATION ORGANIZATIONS

 

 

                                .......    Harris Center for Conservation Education.   Education, school programs, land

                                            and wildlife preservation, programs, hiking, weekend events.  Open year round.

                                            Mon.-Fri.  83 Kings Highway, Hancock, NH 03449.    www.Harris.org

 

                                 .......    New Hampshire Audubon Society.  A statewide organization, dedicated to the

                                            conservation of wildlife habitat . Programs in wildlife conservation, land protection,

                                            environmental policy, and environmental education.

                                            84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH.  www.nhaudubon.org

 

                                  .......  The Nature Conservancy.  A leading conservation organization working to protect

                                            ecologically important lands and waters in New Hampshire.  22 Bridge St., Concord,

                                            NH 03301  www.nature.org

 

                                   .......  Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.  A leading statewide

                                            land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the state's most important

                                            landscapes while promoting  wise use of its renewable natural resources. www.spnhf.org

 

                                   ........ Monadnock Conservancy.  The Monadnock Conservancy's mission is to work with

                                            communities and landowners to conserve the natural resources, wild and working lands,

                                            rural character and scenic beauty of the Monadnock region.  Visit their website:                                        

                                    (www.monadnockconservancy.org)

 

                                   ........ New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.  Conserves, manages and protects

                                            New Hampshire's fish, wildlife, and marine resources. www.WildNH.com

 

                                    ....... Friends of Pisgah - A volunteer organization dedicated to assisting in the preservation

                                            of Pisgah State Park located in southwestern Cheshire County. The organization has been

                                            involved in the development and maintenance of the park's trail system for many years.

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

                                   

                                    ........Friends of the Wapack - an independent, non-profit organization composed of hikers,

                                            volunteers, and landowners dedicated to the preservation of the 21 mile long trail from Mt.

                                            Watatic in northern Mass. to North Pack here in New Hampshire. 

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

 

                                   ........ Brattleboro Outing Club - The BOC offers an opportunity to participate in year-round

                                            outdoor activities including kayaking, canoe trips and cross country skiing. For additional

                                             information: (http://brattleborooutingclub.org)

    

                                   ........ Keene Mineral Club - Founded in 1948 the Keene Mineral Club is an active group of

                                            collectors of 100 or so members whose interests cover the full spectrum of mineral related

                                            topics: crystals, minerals, gems, lapidary, micromounts, fossils and more.  The club holds

                                            regular monthly meetings, publishes an award winning newsletter and sponsors frequent

                                            local and regional field trips.  Membership is encouraged for all ages and levels of interest.

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

 

                                   ....... Keene Amateur Astronomers Club -  Founded in 1957, the club has a goal of enhancement

                                            of Amateur Astronomy through fellowship, sharing knowledge and enjoyment of the hobby. The

                                            KAA holds monthly meetings, provides outreach programs, and holds regular viewing sessions

                                            at their own observatory. Membership is open to students, parents, beginners, backyard

                                            amateurs and experienced professionals. Meetings and observing sessions are open to all.

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

 

 

 

                                         

  MONADNOCK LINKS

 

 

                         ..........  NOAA National Weather Service Website - The NOAA Weather service website is by far the

                                     most detailed and informative source of local and regional weather information. Almost all of the

                                     other online weather websites and media outlets get their basic information from this source. 

                                     (http://www.nova.go)

 

                          ..........  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.

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

 

                           .........   Rare Bird Alert - New Hampshire - A weekly listing of rare bird sightings throughout the

                                       state. Compiled each week by Mark Suomala.  The RBA is available in each Friday's edition of

                                       the Union Leader newspaper, as a phone recording (603) 224-9909, or from the New Hampshire  

                                       Audubon's website:  (http://www.nhaudubon.org/birding/rare-bird-alerts)

 

                            .........  New Hampshire Lightning Detection/Tracking System  -  This site provides a real-time

                                       radar map of lightning strikes occurring in the northeastern states. The map is refreshed every 

                                        5 minutes. The site also provides a wealth of other useful and interesting meteorological 

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

                                              

                             .........  Heavens Above -  A treasure trove of observational astronomy information. After registering

                                        and inputting your latitude and longitude, the site provides you with exact times, locations, and

                                        magnitudes of various satellites visible at your location. (http://www.heavens-above.com/)

 

                             .......... Google Earth - a free program which allows the viewer to travel anywhere on earth and view

                                        aerial and satellite imagery from great elevations to street level.  Many locations provide three

                                        dimensional, 360 degree opportunities for viewing. A must for the regional naturalist to view

                                        natural areas and to preview hiking trails, etc. (http://www.google.com/earth/index.html)

 

                             ........... Spaceweather.com - A worthwhile site for all sorts of astronomy related information,

                                         including auroral displays and alerts, solar activity (sunspots, flares, etc), planetary Info.,

                                         meteor showers. The site provides a sign-up option for a free e-mail Spaceweather Alert

                                         when something significant is occurring. (http://www.spaceweather.com/

 

                        ...........The Old Farmer's Almanac - Another general reference site for  regional weather, birding,

                                         fishing, astronomy and outdoor information. Provides an excellent table for the rising and setting

                                         times for the sun, moon and planets which may be selected for your particular town or village.

                                         (http://www.almanac,com

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

                                          Tom. (http://mindatnh.org)

 

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

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

 

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

                                           interest blog maintained by Allen Norcross in Swanzey. Always interesting and informative. Well

                                           worth a regular visit to read Allen's comments on regional natural history and his wonderful

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

             note, the MNA is formatted to display on a full screen computer e-mail window. All e-mail addresses are secured

             and held completely confidential.  Past  issues of the Monadnock Nature Almanac (from September 2010) are 

             available upon request.