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The Monadnock Nature Almanac is a monthly bulletin board of natural history activity in the southern New Hampshire
Monadnock region, a mixed transitional forest upland of gentle hills, rivers, streams, and lakes located in Cheshire and
Hillsborough counties. Covering approximately 800 square miles, it ranges in general elevation from 400 to 1200 feet
above sea level. Numerous peaks exceed 1400 feet, the highest of which, Mount Monadnock, rises to 3165 feet.
"Only those within whose own consciousness the sun rise and set, the leaves burgeon
and wither, can be said to be aware of what living is." ..... Joseph Wood Krutch
MONADNOCK NATURE NOTES........ November 2014
Subscribers are encouraged to submit their sightings, observations, and comments for inclusion
in the Monadnock Nature Almanac's Nature Notes. Submit to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include name and town.
November, .......... "It is not yet four thirty and the sun is setting behind the low ridge to the west. The last, long light
climbs from the valley's frosted pasture grass up the gray trunks of the naked maples and seems
to pause on the hilltops to the east. Then it is gone. Twilight, the glow of November evening,
possesses the day. At first there is a bright shadowless light, a sunless daylight. Then the glow
comes, a rosy suffusion so subtle. The air seems to thin and brighten, and the chill diminishes
distances. The glow fades, Dusk creeps in, unhurried but insistent, and the clarity of vision dims.
And time somehow has lost its dimensions. It is evening and it is autumn. Sunset, twilight, dusk,
darkness, all by six on a mid-November evening, fall's summary of serenity." ..... Hal Borland, Twelve
Moons of the Year
November 1, ........ An overlooked observation item from last month (mea culpa, mea culpa....) Driveway report from
Hillsborough... This year's mast production of acorns is the largest we've seen since 2002. We
don't go out without hats on lest we get a knock on the noggin. We hear from fiends that beechnuts
are abundant in Hopkinton but we haven't seen evidence of them here. ..... E. Anne Poole, Hillsborough
Anne's observation reminds me of the fall several years ago when I had to move my aluminum
canoe out from under a large oak due to the incessant, and annoying, racket the falling acorns were
making .... CS
November 1, ........ I was just reading all the paragraphs on the various foliage over the past month It has been
interesting to observe. The one I found interesting, in my own front yard, is the red maple that has
just recently started to really drop leaves. It started out as a very deep red/maroon color followed
in the past two weeks with a more green on the inner leaves and the rest have turned a beautiful
bronze/gold. The Ash and other maples have long since lost all their leaves but this red one insists
on keeping my lawn covered. many of the leaves are very large, seemingly larger than in past years.
Is this normal or am I just catching up with it ? ..... Barbara Caverly, Hancock
When it comes to fall foliage colors, you think you have the science (as complex as it is) down
pat, and then Ma Nature keeps you humble with an inexplicable "curve ball". I've long since
stopped trying to figure out all the fall foliage anomalies. ..... CS
November 4, ....... Suddenly, while facing Norway Pond from my usual perch, titmice came streaming by, in twos and
threes. There were at least a dozen (And to think that 40 years ago the species was uncommon
around here). At about the same time, a couple of downy woodpeckers, chickadees, and a white-
breasted nuthatch dropped in, while 20 or more Canada geese paddled afar. A chipmunk hesitated
with an acorn in its mouth, yet eventually crossed three feet in front of me. It's no wonder that I sit
here virtually every day; graveyards and wildlife are often winning combinations. ... Neal Clark, Hancock
November 7,........ Low clouds and fog wrapped their ghostly fingers around Pack, though it managed to slip away
from their grasp time and time again to steal glimpses of Crotched Mountain and beyond. Snow
flurries blew in on the NW wind, accumulating in the nooks and crannies of one's scope and dusting
the watchers with white. The temperature began not far above freezing, and gradually fell as the day
Red-tailed Hawks once again nearly swept the count. Diversity came early on golden wings
soaring to bridge the gap between earth and cloud. An immature Bald Eagle swooped in from
above, flaunting its bare legs to the Golden Eagle's feathered. The Ravens strove to get in on the
action, and within minutes the eagles went their separate ways.
..... Katrina Fenton, Audubon Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough
November 8, ...... " I like spring, but it is too young.
I like summer, but it is too proud.
So I like best of all Autumn
because its tone is mellower,
its colors are richer.
and it is tinged with a little sorrow.
Its golden richness speaks
not of the innocence of spring,
nor the power of summer,
but of the mellowness
and kindly wisdom of approaching age.
It knows the limitations of life and its content."
Lin Yutang, ... submitted by Ellen Taylor, Rindge
November 10, ...... As I look out my window, I can see the wind in swirling gusts blow the fallen leaves crazily over the
ground. Only yesterday, or so it seems, they were resplendent in yellows and golds, russets and
reds. Now, tattered and torn, they lie scattered about, the playthings of every willful breeze, a poignant
reminder that the winter season is just ahead. Only the rosy glow in the sky as the sun disappears
below the horizon remains as the essence of October's brilliance. Traditionally November is bleak
and cheerless, but actually it is as capricious as March, rather a struggling mixture of summer and
winter, its moods changing with the varying winds. For there are days when the sun shines brightly
and the air is warm and soft as that of May. Sometimes you can walk in the woods and see moths
flying about like so many tiny ghosts, or the caps of the Pholiota gleaming like unset jewels on a
decrepit log. You can walk along a country road and see golden dandelions and the purple asters,
or hear the singing of one last snatch of birdsong before the singer sets out on his southward
journey. But then tomorrow the skies may grow leaden and heavy with the threat that legions of
cold may sweep down from Canada and bring a snowstorm with them. ..... Richard Headstrom, Nature
November 11, ...... The sky was full of shifting patterns of aquamarine, dove gray, and milky white laced with salmon.
Partly cloudy skies grew overcast, then cleared, then filled again with a veil of clouds that couldn't
quite hide the sun.The wind was out of the west, just strong enough to gently play a rustling melody
on the oak leaves. temperatures reached the mid 40s.
A Northern Goshawk has been spending much of the week patrolling North Pack, harassing
Ravens and dive bombing migrants. A Merlin couldn't resist perching at the summit towards the end
of the day, its plumage a rich molten chocolate laced with cream in the afternoon light. Nearly half
the migrants came in the 10 AM hour when the sun pulled them up towards the heavens. Clouds
thickened a little while later, shutting down thermals and keeping most birds too low to be observed.
..... Katrina Fenton, Audubon pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough
November 12, ..... Another Mountain Lion Sighting ? - I have received multiple reports of a second mountain lion
sighting in the Route 123 area about a half mile south of Hancock Village. The, apparently very
reliable, sighting was made in almost the same area as Anne Luker's July 7th sighting as reported
in the august MNA.... near Pickering Farm Road off Peterborough Road (Rt 123). I have been
attempting to contact the observer for more details. Will update with any additional information that
I receive. .... CS
November 12, ..... The autumn woods smell wonderful into early to mid November, if the snows haven't arrived. The
cornucopia of wet leaves is the apparent source of the smell. It's odd how few words we have to
describe smells; I can't find the right ones now to capture the aroma of an autumn woods. In her
book A Natural History of the Senses, Diane Ackerman says we can detect 10,000 different odors,
but "smell is the mute sense, the one without words." Our lack of vocabulary is all the more
remarkable given the fact that we breathe some 23,000 times a day: each inhalation brings in a
constellation of smells, and each exhalation changes the air around us. We do have deep and
poignant memories of smells - links that shoot us back in time to a moment in a kitchen, a walk
in the woods, a new car, or a member of the opposite sex. As Ackerman says. "Hit a tripwire of
smell, and memories explode all at once." Most animals are far better at detecting scents than we
are. Salmon can smell their original spawning waters and return home over hundreds of miles.
From over two miles away, male moths can smell the pheromones of a female seeking a relationship,
And all kinds of mammals leave their scent on just about every standing object, their calling cards
as clear as messages on our answering machines. :At the sound of the beep, just urinate here."
My point, you ask ? Breathe deeply, draw in the northwoods and all its aromas while you can,
because the snow is coming. ..... John Bates, Naturally Curious: Fall and Winter
November 12, ..... My husband and I were heading into Brattleboro this morning when we noticed two coyotes
walking across a field just off the road. They were about a hundred yards away and did not seem
to be disturbed by the passage of the car. We stopped to watch them for about five minutes.
They were moving slowly, both looking down toward the ground. I guess they were looking for
mice or voles. This is the same area where I saw a red fox "pouncing" through the snow cover
attempting to capture similar prey during the winter a year or two back. ..... Maureen Pratt, Brattleboro
November 13, ..... Yesterday's cold front brought a hint of winter to the air with temperatures sitting at freezing for the
start of the count and only warming to 40 degrees. The west wind grew bored gradually bored with
blowing and eventually did little more than push around a column of smoke rising to the east. The
sky was a painter's pallet grown messy with streaks of color blended with white and gray, eventually
the blue was used up and sooty slate applied instead. The snowy crown of Mount Washington
glinted through the haze for a couple of hours in the afternoon.
This late in the season its always a good sign if you have your first bird before 10 AM. Today, the
first Red-tailed hawk was testing the air at 9:25 AM, followed not long after by a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Bald Eagles came fast and furious over the next 80 minutes or so, two immatures followed by a
couple of adults with a young bird joining them and another sub-adult trailing a short time behind.
Most birds were distant, though a Red-shouldered Hawk swirled into view right in front of the
mountain in a dizzying array of jasper, quartz and onyx.
..... Katrina Fenton, Audubon pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough
November 15, ..... Morning found pack coated in a couple of inches of fresh powder. Every Spruce and Fir was wrapped
in white, releasing smoke-plumes of glittering confetti with each puff of the wind. The sky was a patch-
work of fluffy cumulus and clear blue in ever shifting patterns. It was around noon before the first
raptor was spotted, a red-tailed gliding low through the valley. The volume of migrants increased over
the next couple of hours, then ended with an immature northern goshawk wich called as it flew below
the summit. ...... Katrina Fenton, Audubon Pack Monadnock Raptor Migration Observatory, Peterborough
As the observing and counting season draws to a close, here are some of the count totals for 2014.
(Season count total 13,523, Turkey Vulture 99, Osprey 213, Bald Eagle 119, Northern harrier 85, Sharp-
shinned Hawk 1093, Cooper's Hawk 126, Northern Goshawk 22, Red-shouldered hawk 126, Broad-
winged Hawk 11,043, Red-tailed Hawk 309, Golden Eagle 7, American Kestrel 112, Merlin 80,
Peregrine Falcon 39) ..... A word of thanks and appreciation for Katrina Fenton and all of the other
observers and reporters at the Observatory during the 2014 season. ..... CS
November 18, ....... Francestown residents now have a new hiking trail, and they commemorated the opening day with
a walk in the woods on Sunday 11/14. Eight Francestown residents joined Francestown Land Trust
Head Ben Haubrich and frequent Harris Center Field Trip leader, to explore a new 3/4 mile stretch
that connects the Shattuck Pond Trail and the Dismore Brook Trail. Haubrich stopped often along
the hike for landmarks, at one point pointing out a patch of dirt that a buck had created by dragging
his antlers through the grass. Haubrich also pointed out a grid of shallow holes in a maple tree left
by a yellow-bellied sapsucker. He noted that he often sees hummingbirds coming to feed on the
tree's sap thanks to the sapsucker's holes. The trail still needs some work for humans to be fully
safe on it. The project is planned to be completed in the spring, and maybe even earlier if the winter
is not too cold and if there is not too much snow. ...... Excerpted David Blumenthal's article in the 11/18,
Monadnock Ledger-Transcript ...... CS
November 19, ...... The United States received a remarkable invasion of Snowy Owls last winter, with individuals making
it south to Florida and Bermuda. It was perhaps the greatest incursion of the species into the north-
eastern United States since the winter 0f 1926/27, when 1,000 birds were recorded in New England,
with 294 in Massachusetts alone. I observed a Snowy last week on Star Island. It is too early to tell,
but perhaps it marks the beginning of an echo flight, a wonderful term that describes a reduced, but
still elevated migration that occasionally follows massive flight years. Doubtless the population of
Snowy Owls in Quebec has returned closer to normal since the high point of late fall 2013, but unless
all of the extra owls have died, then it stands to reason that we might see more than usual again this
winter, though nothing like last year. ..... Eric Masterson, excerpted from his "Beyond Birding" Column in
the 11/19 Monadnock Shopper News
November 21, ..... I was driving towards Walpole on Rt 12 north of Keene yesterday. I was surprised to spot a Great
Blue heron standing in a flooded swampy area to the left (west) of the roadway. Given the low
temperatures of the last couple of weeks, I would have assumed that these birds had taken off by
now for warmer regions to our south. ..... Ed Mankowski, Keene
It is not uncommon for Great Blues to hang around until their shallow water feeding areas have
become completely frozen over. Sometimes, in unusually warm weather, they can even be seen in
December. Interesting, since many avian migratory instincts are triggered by ingrained factors other
than available food sources. .... CS
November 22, ..... I visited Fremont Fields in Peterborough and heard something so interesting I walked a few hundred
feet back to the car to get the binoculars. There was a whole flock of Eastern Bluebirds twittering
and flying around. At least 10 and probably 20 ore more. I've never encountered a flock of Bluebirds
so large that their calls made a continuous sound, as would commonly occur with blackbirds. I
watched four dining on berries in a single Winterberry Holly bush, and the view of the blue plumage
and orange-red fruit, amidst a setting otherwise all dull shades of brown, was strikingly beautiful.
..... Bruce Boyer, Jaffrey
November 24, ..... A suet whodunit - With the cold snap and a noticeable turn towards winter in the weather, I decided a
couple weeks ago, to begin filling my one suet feeder cage, The cage is a standard 5" x 5" x 1" wire
one. Within a few days I had the usual birds putting in an appearance (blue jays, downy and hairy
woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, nuthatches, etc.) Normally it takes these guys anywhere
from four or five days to a week to whittle the suet cake down to a nub, requiring a refill. However, on
several occasions I would look out in the morning the day after I had put out a new suet cake, and
lo and behold the cake was gone ! I assumed something came in overnight and ate the whole cake.
I have a motion detector-security light which covers that area, and whenever it came on over the
next few weeks, I would look out and see nothing near the suet. I came up with several possibilities.
Maybe this brand of suet was more soluble than usual and dissolved overnight in a steady rain. That
wasn't the case since I watched the suet when we had a steady daytime rain and it held up just
fine. Once in a while I see squirrels at the suet in the daytime, but they seem to nibble a bit and leave,
so that didn't seem like the answer. I thought possibly raccoons, but they should set off the motion
detector, and when it did go off, I didn't see any in the vicinity. Flying squirrels possibly ? They are
nocturnal, but they should set off the security light. So, I am still trying to figure it out and will
keep on observing and making a note of how often it happens. .... Steve Harris, Hillsborough
A suet observation - Every couple of years I find myself in Ocean State Job Lot purchasing an
inexpensive ($8 - on sale) cage type birdseed feeder. The green, cylindrical, heavy wire cage is
advertised as "squirrel proof"...... sure ..... anyway..... the squirrels, and more often the raccoons,
invariably throw the feeder to the ground where the interior plastic seed holding cylinder shatters
due to the brittleness of the plastic in the extreme cold of a typical Monadnock Region January.
A season or two (and several feet of duct tape) later, I find myself back at Ocean State buying another
feeder. This means that over the years, I have accumulated a collection of the cylindrical wire
cylindrical frames, sans the shattered interior plastic seed holders. A couple of years back, I began
using these frames to hold suet. Now, I regularly purchase inexpensive beef suet at the local
supermarket and fill these empty wire frames with it. The suet lasts for weeks, needing only an
occasional partial rotation to present a fresh surface to my avian visitors. Works great ..... CS
November 25, ..... Some Current Reading Selections Well Worth Tracking Down -
- Raptors Mate for Life, but Rarely Grieve, Chris Martin, NH Audubon Afield (Fall 2014)
- What's Bugging Our Moose ?, Kristine Rines, NH Wildlife Journal (Nov-Dec 2014)
- On the Front Lines of the Bug Battle, George F. Frame, SPNHF Forest Notes (Autumn 2014)
...and, as usual, a variety of offerings from Northern Woodlands Magazine (Aurumn 20214)
- Soft Serve:Autumn's Unheralded Mast Species, Susan C. Morse
- The Rockin Robin, Bryan Pfeiffer
- Going Big: Big Trees of New Hampshire, Patrick White
- The Outside Story: Meat Eating Trees ?, Kent Mcfarland
- The Overstory: Pin Cherry, Virginia Barlow
November 28, ..... Today marks the opening of a month long exhibit and sale of Dr. Robert Sargent Fay's nature
photography at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough. Dr Fay, who passed away in May of last
year in Hancock, rarely made his work available for sale. The exhibit in the Member's Gallery will be
the widest variety of his work ever shown. Dr Fay became the first Professor Emeritus of Landmark
College in Putney, Vt. where he was a teacher, tutor and photographer. Dr Fay's longest teaching
tenure was at Conval High School where he taught English for 25 years and served as the Chair
of the English Department. Dr Fay's life became focused on following in the footsteps of Henry
David Thoreau, who spent significant time in New England. The exhibit: Creative Places will run
from November 28th through December 24, Gallery hours are Monday - Saturday from 11 AM to
4 PM. For more information: http://www,sharonarts.org/exhibitions/creativeplaces or the Center at
(603 924-7676 .... CS
American Beaver - Readying for Winter - Mary Holland
Picture a beaver silently gliding across a pond, head tilted ever so slightly upward as it cuts a
smooth path through the water. A beaver's sense organs are aligned in a row so that it swims with
only its nostrils, eyes and ears above the waterline, allowing it to escape detection by predators.
Something on shore startles it, and immediately the beaver brings its tail up, slaps it down on the
water, and dives below the surface. As soon as its nose hits the water its body automatically adapts
and adjusts to the new environment below the surface. Valves in the beaver's nose and ears close
instantly, sealing out all water. A transparent third eyelid, a nictitating membrane, slide across both
eyes, providing protection from debris. Loose upper lips close behind the beaver's four front incisors
permitting underwater gnawing without water or splinters entering its mouth. The beaver's
large, webbed hind feet propel it forward at speeds up to 5 miles per hour. Its smaller and more
dexterous forefeet, which aren't webbed, are balled up against its chest while swimming (above the
surface they are used to carry mud and sticks, dig burrows, handle food, and comb fur), The broad,
flat scaly tail regulates the beaver's temperature, stores fat, and performs as a rudder, helping the
beaver swim in a desired direction. It also is used to deliver a warning signal when it is slapped
against the water.
This time of year is when beavers must prepare for the coming winter months, as their movement
will soon be restricted to the water below the ice that forms on the ponds surface. While the pond is
frozen, the only food available will be that which they have stored. Beavers eat two pounds of bark a
day and there can be up to 10 beavers occupying a lodge over the winter so an ample supply of
food is essential to their survival. In November beavers cut and store a large pile of branches on the
bottom of the pond, near their lodge. After felling a tree beavers remove the branches that are within
reach. Usually they select branches that are 5 inches or less in diameter and then cut them into shorter
lengths for easier transport. Their storage pile is usually visible,as it rises above the water level, and
is often weighted down with larger limbs. The presence or absence of such a pile is a good indication
of whether or not the lodge is active.
In addition to gathering a winter food supply and transporting it to the pond, beavers must also
make any necessary repairs to their lodge and dam (and build both is establishing a new lodge).
Although beaver lodges can be built on river banks or on the edges of ponds, or even tunneled into a
bank, most are constructed in the middle of a pond, providing the beavers with maximum protection.
A pile of branches is made and then the interior hollowed out with the aid of the beaver's incisors,
providing a sleeping area and a platform on which to feed. Usually there ate two or three underwater
entrances. The pond's depth and the impenetrability of the lodge are both essential to the beaver's
survival. There is so much to do that this normally nocturnal animal is frequently active both day and
night at this time of year.
..... Mary Holland. excerpted, with permission from Mary's "Naturally Curious: A Photographic Field Guide and
Month-by-Month Journey Through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England"
For much more information on the beaver, please check out the November section in Naturally
Curious..... and ..... with the holiday season rapidly approaching, I again remind MNA readers, that
"Naturally Curious" (2010) is arguably (IMHO) the best New England field guide and regional natural
history book published in recent memory and should be on the bookshelf of every Monadnock Region
student of the natural world.
MONADNOCK SKIES - November 2014
December, ....... Winter Constellations - Moving on to center stage into mid-month, are the fall constellations
of Pegasus, Cassiopeia, Andromeda and Perseus. The famous fall asterism, the Great Square, can be
seen approaching the zenith by mid month at around nine to ten o'clock. The easternmost stars of
the Great Square form the body of Pegasus and the northeastern-most star of the grouping is in the
December, ..... The Planets This Month - The red planet Mars stays in the southwest at dusk all month long,
setting about 3 1/2 hours after the sun. By late December, Venus makes an appearance low in the
southwest after its passing behind the sun in October. It slowly climbs higher and higher as the
month nears its end. Jupiter rises in the east before midnight. By dawn it is high overhead. The
ringed planet Saturn rises low in the east-southeast early in the month about an hour before the
sun. By the end of the month it will rise about 3 hours before sunrise. Its rings are tilted about 24
from edgewise and are easily visible in a small telescope.
December 6, ..... Full Moon - The Full Cold Moon - During December the winter cold fastens it's grips and the
nights are at their longest and darkest. The term Long Night Moon is also used and is doubly
appropriate because the moon is above the horizon for such a long time and has a high trajectory
opposite the low daytime sun. As Hal Borland so aptly describes it: "The December full moon is no
summer serenader's moon, no sentimental moon of silvery softness to match the rhyming of the
ballad singer. It is a moon of ice, cold and distance. It is the long winter night in cold splendor, night
wrapped in frost, spangled and sequined and remote as Arcturus."
December 7, ....... Bright Iridium Flare - A very bright Iridium Flare will be visible to viewers in the Keene, Jaffrey, and
Chesterfield region tonight. Viewers should plan to be observing a few minutes before the flare, which
is scheduled for 5:38:18 PM takes place. Times and brightness can change a bit due to the observer's
specific position and the advance time from the prediction. This flare should approach magnitude - 8.4,
as bright as Iridium flares reach. Face the NE and look for the flare about 57 degrees above the horizon,
a bit less than 2/3 of the way up to the zenith near the constellation Cassiopeia. The flare is produced by
sunlight reflecting off the surface of one the many Iridium communication satellites. The reflecting
surface orientation is short-lived and the flare itself lasts only a few seconds. Tonight's flare is caused by
December 8, ...... Second Bright Iridium Flare - Tonight affords skywatchers east of last night's Iridium flare to view a
similar occurrence. This flare will be visible to viewers in the Peterborough, Hancock, Bennington, and
Antrim region. Face the northeast (azimuth 43 degrees). Look about 57 degrees above the horizon
(slightly less than 2/3 of the way up to the zenith). very near the constellation Cassiopeia, a few minutes
before the flare scheduled for 5:32:40 PM. The predicted brightness of this flare is also - 8.4. Flares vary
in time of occurrence based upon the observers specific location and the advance time of the prediction.
Tonight's flare will be caused by Iridium 6 and will also last only a few seconds.
December 9, ....... Bright International Space Station Passage - Weather permitting, tonight offers Monadnock
skywatchers an opportunity to view a bright ISS passage over our region in the early evening.
Begin you viewing a few minutes before 6:13:46 PM when the ISS is scheduled to appear about 10
degrees above the horizon in the WSW. The ISS will climb straight up in the sky reaching an elevation
of about 62 degrees above the horizon, still in the WSW. On its upward climb it will pass between the
planet Mars and the star Altair (in the constellation of Aquilla). At that point, after reaching a magnitude
of -3.0, at about 6:16:34 PM, it will blink out as it enters the earth's shadow. It is always interesting to
remember that the ISS is roughly the size of a football field (with all of its solar array panels). The
central living quarters have roughly the total volume of a 5 bedroom house or two 747s. It orbits at an
average of 220 miles above the earths surface, completing a full orbit in about 90 minutes as it travels
with a velocity of 17,500 mph. An international crew usually numbers 6 during any particular mission.
December 10, ..... Second Bright International Space Station Passage - Tonight give Monadnock skywatchers a
second chance to view a bright ISS passage over the region in the early evening hours. Tonight's ISS
passage is scheduled to begin around 5:23:26 PM. The ISS should appear about 10 degrees above
the horizon in the SW. It will climb steadily to an elevation of about 54 degrees above the SE horizon,
achieving a very bright - 3.0 magnitude. It passes very close to Mars as it climbs upward, passing below
the "Great Square" before disappearing as it enters the earth's shadow. Sky maps and complete details
of ISS and other visible satellite passages over the region are available at the Heavens Above website.
December 13, ..... Geminid Meteor Shower - The Geminid Meteor Shower is usually one of the more reliable meteor
showers of the year. The best viewing will probably be late on the evening of the 13th and into the
early morning hours of the 14th. As like most meteor showers, some meteors may be seen a day or
two before and after the predicted peak. Although the last quarter moonlight will impede viewing, the
brightness and frequency of the meteors shouldn't prevent observers from seeing enough meteors
to make an attempt at viewing worthwhile.
December 14, ..... Last Quarter Moon
December 21, ..... New Moon
December 28, ..... First Quarter Moon
MONADNOCK REGION NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS CALENDAR - December 2014
The Natural History Events Calendar lists activities, walks, classes, and programs in, and within
reasonable driving distance of, the Monadnock region. Organizations are encouraged to list their
events that are open to members and non-members alike. Events must be submitted before the
end of the month preceding the one in which the events are scheduled.
December 2, ........ First Session - Forever Evergreen Homeschool Program - Discover the greens in winter by
getting to know the Monadnock Region's evergreen trees and shrubs. Learn who they are, who eats
them and how they stay green through the whole year. We'll hear stories and myths about these
special plants and learn the science of their staying power. We'll find out how their boughs help
animals survive the winter, and we'll even take a sip and a bite out of these beautiful greens ourselves.
Tuesdays, December 2, 9 ands 16 from 10 to 11:30 AM at the Harris Center in Hancock. For elementary
school age children. $30 for Harris Center members/ $50 for nonmembers. Preregistration required.
Contact Sara at (603) 525-3394 or email@example.com
December 2, ........ US National Park and Wildlife Refuge Slideshow - Andy and Beth Greenwood have spent the last
15 years traveling to approximately 60 National parks and Wildlife refuges throughout the United
States. Their digital presentation, with a focus on wildlife, begins in New Hampshire and ends in
Alaska. 7 - 9 PM at the Harris Center in Hancock. For more information, contact Eric Masterson at 525-
3394 or firstname.lastname@example.org
December 5, ......... Easygoing Hike on Mount Watatic - A moderately easy 4 mile hike around Mount Watatic and
Binney Pond, ending at Ollie Mutch and Jan Miller's house for soup and sandwiches. Bring water,
lunch, and meet at 10 AM in the parking area beside Ocean State Job Lot in Peterborough to carpool.
Back by 3 PM. For more information, contact Lee baker 525-5252 (email@example.com) or
Ollie Mutch 386-5318 (firstname.lastname@example.org), trip leaders. Back by 3 PM.
December 10, ...... The Plight of the Bumble Bee - Several species of bumble bee have disappeared from New
England over the last few decades (three species lost from Vermont), and some have vanished
altogether. Their loss from parts of China is so severe that certain crops are now pollinated by
hand. Sara Zehendra, biologist with the Vermont Bumble Bee Survey led by the Vermont Center
For Ecostudies, will discuss several aspects of bumble bee natural history, including diversity,
distribution, colony cycle, conservation status, and their role as pollinators. 7 to 9 PM at the Harris
Center in Hancock. For more information, contact Eric Masterson (email@example.com)
December 13, ....... Trail Clearing on the Channing Trail - All ages and abilities are welcome to help clear debris
from the Channing Trail. Bring your own tools or use ours, Meet at 9 AM at the Harris Center. Back
by noon. For more information, contact Jim Orr at firstname.lastname@example.org (924-6934) or George
December 20, ....... 41st Annual Christmas Bird Count for Hancock and Surrounding Towns - Begun locally
in 1973, and compiled by Save Rowell for the 22nd straight year, the Christmas Bird Count is the
oldest and largest biological survey and citizen science endeavor with thousands of participants
throughout the world. No need to be an expert. For details and to sign up, contact Dave Rowell at
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.
MONADNOCK NATURAL HISTORY RESOURCES
.......... Exploring Southern New Hampshire: History and Nature on the Back Roads & Quiet Waters,
Lucie Bryar (2014). Walkers, hikers, paddlers and snowshoers can encounter relics of the past and
their incredible tales from Keene to the Seacoast. Exploring Southern Hew Hampshire takes history
off the page, out of the car and into the pine-scented woods and pristine waters of the Granite State.
Local history lover and nature explorer Lucie Bryar leads readers through the Monadnock, Merrimack
Valley and Seacoast regions. Granite State natives and transplants alike will explore trails and water-
ways to gain a new appreciation for the history hidden in this section of New Hampshire.
........... Beetles of Eastern North America, Arthur V. Evans (2014). A landmark book - the most
comprehensive full color guide to the remarkably diverse and beautiful beetles of the United States
and Canada east of the Mississippi River. It is the first full-color illustrated guide to cover 1,406 species
in all 115 families that occur in the region - and the first in-depth to the region in more than forty years.
Lavishly illustrated with over 1,500 stunning color images by some of the best insect photographers
in North America, the book features an engaging and authoritative text by noted beetle expert Arthur
.......... 2015 Naturally Curious Calendar - Mary Holland - $30 including shipping, available directly
from Mary at (email@example.com) Additional Info. at Mary's website. See Monadnock Links.
........... Northern Woodlands Magazine - A quarterly magazine devoted to advancing forest
stewardship in the northeast, and to increase the understanding of, and appreciation for,
the natural wonders, economic productivity, and ecological integrity of the region's forests.
It always contain excellent natural history articles by prominent regional and national authors.
Worth the subscription price alone for Virginia Barlow's Seasonal Natural History Calendar
and her frequent articles. John Harrigan, NH's iconic north country author, speaker, weekly
columnist for the Union Leader and numerous regional publications, once said "If I had to dump
all but one of my periodical subscriptions, and that's plenty, the survivor would be Northern
Woodlands. I'd put Northern Woodlands on the must-read list for anyone who lives, works in,
cares about, or just visits New England. It has become the magazine I can simply cannot do
........ New Hampshire Wildlife Journal - Published bi-monthly by the New Hampshire Fish and
Game Department. Dedicated to creating an awareness and appreciation for the state's fish and
wildlife and the habitats upon which they depend. Always contains interesting and informative
articles on regional flora and fauna and environmental issues. (www.WildNH.com)
......... Forest Notes - The quarterly magazine of the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire
Forests. The magazine includes selections dealing with Society properties, events, land
acquisition projects and frequently features articles on regional natural history. Subscription is
available with Society membership. Regularly features Dave Anderson's Natures View column.
Dave, SPNHF's Director of Education and Volunteer Services, is a long time forest and wildlife
naturalist, group field leader and is known for his prominence in regional land conservation and
forest stewardship initiatives. Worth the price of membership for his essays alone. Information
........ Afield - New Hampshire Audubon's quarterly program and events guide. The publication
features articles, programs, and activities offered at all of New Hampshire Audubon's centers
and regional chapters throughout the state. The current issue and back issues are available at:
........ Outdoor Guide - Antrim,and Bennington, New Hampshire - The second edition of this 64
page guide has recently been made available through towns halls, libraries and a wide variety of
business outlets throughout the northern Cheshire County region. A wonderful resource, it contains a
wealth of information on key nature destinations in the region, including hiking and biking trails,
canoeing and kayaking opportunities, and a wide variety of other nature related activities. Also
available at www.ablions.org
.......... NOAA National Weather Service Website - The NOAA Weather service website is by far the
most detailed and informative source of local and regional weather information. Almost all of the
other online weather websites and media outlets get their basic information from this source. See
the January 2011 MNA for a more detailed description of some of the features of this useful
.......... Latitude and Longitude - To determine the exact Latitude and Longitude of a specific location,
visit the website (http://itouchmap.com/latlong.html). For a more detailed description of the
information available on this website, see the January 2011 MNA.
.......... Topographic Maps - Free, New Hampshire topographic maps are available for viewing or
download by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. (www.wildnh.com/maps)
......... The New Hampshire Birding List - A website providing daily reports of sightings and
comments from birdwatchers all over the state, with regular posts from the Monadnock regions
top birders. (http://birdingonthe.net/mailinglists/NHBD.html)
......... New Hampshire Mountain Lions - John Ranta of Hancock, NH maintains a running blog which
shares information on mountain lions in New Hampshire and reports sightings in the granite state.
......... 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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org . 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.