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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.
" Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same." ..... R. W. Emerson
MONADNOCK NATURE NOTES........ February 2015
Subscribers are encouraged to submit their sightings, observations, and comments for inclusion
in the Monadnock Nature Almanac's Nature Notes. Submit to email@example.com.
Please include name and town.
February, .......... "February will probably be capricious - it usually is; but there is an excuse for that. February is the last
full month of winter, by the almanac at least, and the traditional battleground of warring weather systems.
It begins with the absurdity of Groundhog Day, celebrates romance in mid-month, and includes an extra
day every four years. February is the only month that still approximates the lunar month - one of man's
first units of time - yet on occasion passes without a full moon. According to the ancient chronicles,
February was first put in the calendar by Numa Pompilius, legendary second king of Rome. It was named
for Februarius, the feast of the purification, and on the old calendars it was the year's final month.
It ended with the feast of Terminalia, a kind of New Year's celebration that lasted several days. Then
came March, the vernal equinox, and a new year. So we inherited February, a whimsical month that can
smother us in snow or set the sap to flowing, paralyze us with sleet or brim the brooks. Its days are as
long as October's, but its nights can be colder than December's. Februarius and Terminalis have vanished
from our calendars, but February still purifies us, in a rugged way, and when it goes we usually bid it a
glad goodbye." ..... Hal Borland, Twelve Moons of the Year
February 2, ...... This morning, I was looking out the window at the feeder during the snowstorm and saw a large bird
moving/flying around the bushes behind the feeder. Initially I thought mockingbird, but when I saw the
black mask I realized it was a shrike! There were several juncos and chickadees in the bushes and
around the feeder, but the shrike flew off empty-footed. This is a new yard bird for the list, which is
exciting as I haven't had a new bird to the list in quite a while. I called Francie Von Mertens to let her
know and she said she had one in her yard about a week ago. I'm wondering if its the same individual
since we both live in the same town and I haven't seen any other reports about shrikes in the area, I'm
so glad I was looking out the window when I did. ..... Cheryl Champy, Peterborough
February 11, ........ Last week my wife and I paid a visit to a good friend who has a small "ice fishing" shack about on
Lake Winnipesaukee. We are not involved in that activity at all and so the whole experience was new
to us. The lake had been pretty well frozen for quite some time and our friend assured us that the ice
was very thick and not at all dangerous to be out on. However, while we were chatting, a very loud
rifle shot-like "crack" resounded through the shack ! My friend told us that this was a fairly common
occurrence and the ice movement and shifting produced a variety of different noises ranging from
loud sharp cracks like this to low moaning, creaks, etc. His explanations made sense but were not
totally reassuring, given the fact that we were a couple of hundred yards out from the shoreline.
....... Dennis Martin, Jaffrey
The whole area of frozen lake ice acoustics is a fascinating field. Numerous scientific studies
on a variety of different ice noise phenomena have been conducted over the years. A quick Google
search of "ice lake noises" will produce a number of interesting links. One that I find particularly neat
is the noise made by "skipping" a flat rock over a snowless clear ice lake surface. But given our
current regional snowcover, it is going to be a wait until early next winter to try this out. .... CS
February 13, ...... Last winter, about this same time of year, I had a MNA post from a reader about Blue Jays pecking at the
paint on his house. I remember checking the phenomenon on Google and being surprised to find that it
was a pretty common occurrence. Well, beginning about three or four weeks ago I have had a similar
series of events here at my place in Hancock. Almost every day, I heard a loud pecking from various
points around the entire house. The birds would sit atop the 3 feet or so of snow up against the house
go at it, leaving a strip of clapboard wood denuded of paint. As the days drew on I found myself
constantly going to the nearest window to chase the little stinkers away. After about two weeks of this,
I found myself inching closer and closer to a "Tippi Hedren moment". ..... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
February 14, ....... Yesterday, skiing over to Hubbard Hill, northwest of Pitcher Mountain, I came across a crater in an other-
wise undisturbed area of snow. I assumed it was where a grouse had burrowed into the snow the night
before. The last time I saw something like that was about 10 years ago over in Wildcat Hollow. That time
there was no doubt as to what it was, as the grouse burst out of the snow about 15 feet in front of my ski
tips. Closer to home (at home, in fact): I generally keep a mouse trap set in a niche in the concrete block
wall that separates my basement from the crawl space. I tether it to an overhead water line to keep the
trap from being carried off by a shrew if a mouse is caught in it. (I lost three traps that way). Recently I
sprang the trap and left it dangling by its tether while I was away, to avoid coming home to a decomposed
mouse. Some enterprising mouse managed to get hold of the tether and dragged the trap back into the
niche where it could get at the bait. I had never thought of the mice as problem solvers.
..... Terry McMahon, Stoddard
February 18, ........ I was driving on one of our backroads here north of Hillsborough yesterday morning. I noticed an animal
moving away from me in the roadway about a hundred yards or so in front of my car. As I got closer it sped
up, sort of trapped between the high snowplowed ridges of snow along the roadside. I finally realized it
was a bobcat. As I got closer it scrambled up the snowbank on the left hand side of the road, and paused
for a second or two, glanced at me as I approached and then disappeared behind the snow moving off into
the woods. I have seen a few bobcats in the past, but this is the first one seen out and about in the winter.
..... Steve Harris, Hillsborough
Steve's sighting reminded me of my sighting about this time last year of a large, beautiful bobcat sitting
out under my backyard feeders one February morning. I was able to watch him through my binoculars for
quite a while as he watched the squirrels moving about in the tree above the feeders. It also reminded me
of several recent news articles reporting the resurgence of the bobcat in southern New Hampshire and the
inexplicable (at least to me) consideration by NH Fish and Game to allow a renewed hunting and trapping
season on these animals. A "harvest" of some 75-150 animals is being considered, out of an estimated
statewide population of an estimated 1500 individuals. Since the recovered population has had absolutely
no detrimental effect, it is hard to see any justification in reinstituting "trapping" or hunting. Please make
yourself knowledgeable on the subject and contact your state legislator and NH Fish and Game to make your
feelings known (www.ledgertranscript.com/news/townbytown/wilton/15630189-95/to-honor-or-to-hunt)
on the issue. ..... CS
February 18, ........ It struck me recently that for close to four years now I've been telling all of you that you don't even have
to leave your yard to study nature, but I've never done a post about what I see in my own yard. I started
with the purple cone flowers (Echinacea purpurea), which I always leave standing for the birds. They ate
most of the seeds but left a little patch of them untouched. Goldfinches love these seeds so it makes me
wonder why this tiny bit was rejected. Don't they taste good? Were they not ripe enough? A false indigo
(Baptista australis) had only one seed left in it, but others had more. They often rattle in the wind, Sparrows,
quail, grosbeaks and many songbirds like these seed and butterflies are attracted to the flowers. Deer
won't eat the foliage, and in this yard, that is a bonus. The long curved seedpods of wild sienna (Senna
hebecarpa) splint lengthwise to reveal the seeds, so even though they don't look like they're open, they
are. Many species of butterfly caterpillars like to feed on the foliage of this plant. including cloudless sulfur
and orange barred sulfur. Bumblebees are attracted to its bright orange flowers which open in late summer.
The plant reminds me of a giant, 3 foot tall partridge pea. The seed pod of a wild sienna has segments and
each segment holds a single flat, oval seed that is about 1/4 inch across. The seeds are bigger than many
seeds in my yard and many bigger birds eat them. Mourning doves and many game birds like bob whites,
partridge, turkeys and quail like them but there seem to be plenty of seeds left this year.
...... Allen Norcross, ..... excerpted from Allen's 2/18/15 post "Found in My Yard" on his New Hampshire Garden Solutions:
Exploring Nature in New Hampshire blog.
Please check out the entire post and Allen's beautiful accompanying photographs at the following:
https://nhgardensolutions.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/found-in-my-yard/ If you take the time to explore
this post and Allen's other descriptive forays into the local natural world, you will become a regular visitor
to the site. Guaranteed !
February 21, ........ "Will you please hurry with your preparations ?
We are freezing up north as you procrastinate.
Like a rich lady with too many gorgeous outfits.
A mirror, trying them on and unable to decide.
While we trudge to the mailbox through wind
And Snow, extract our unwilling fingers
From a glove to check if there's a letter
From you,or just a bitty postcard, saying;
I'm leaving Carolina today, hurrying on your way
With my new wardrobe of flowers and birds.
The tease! I bet she starts and forgets one of her
Hand-painted silk fans and has to go back
While we stamp our feet and wipe our noses here,
Worrying the wood for the stove is running out.
The snow on the roof will bring the house down."
..... Charles Simic, .... submitted by Ruth White
February 22, ....... Animals employ a variety of behaviors to reduce radiant heat loss in winter. They may huddle together;
they may use shelters like tree cavities or leaf nests; or they withdraw a leg or bill, tucking it under
their feathers or fur. One of the most interesting adaptations that birds have evolved to prevent
heat loss through their uninsulated legs involves "centering" their blood flow. Their heat-carrying
veins and arteries are not located near the skin surface, where warmth would fairly leap out into the
winter sky; instead, the arteries that carry blood to the extremities are right next to the veins that
carry blood back into their body core. As the warm blood flowing out passes the blood heading
inward through the veins, heat is exchanged, keeping the extremities sufficiently warm . Thus the
temperature of a wild turkey's leg may approach zero, but the leg won't freeze. Human appendages
would probably freeze if they were similarly exposed, because our strategy involves restricting the
flow of blood to our toes and fingers - hence the blue/white color of cold toes, Birds choose to
"regulate glow, rather than restrict flow". ..... John Bates, "A Northwoods Companion"
February 23, ..... A couple of items from the "Yogi Berra: You can Observe a Lot by Looking Files". A bit of a
modification in my resident wild turkey populations. The group of three males which has been
frequenting the scattered seeds under my feeders for the past couple of months still shows up
on a daily basis. The group of eleven females, however, which were daily visitors earlier in the
winter, haven't been around of late. I do see them over at my neighbors place across the street.
I'm assuming the reason is a combination of the increased difficulty of traveling through the
very deep snow, and the fact that my neighbor is probably putting out a better "spread". Also
had another raven under the feeders the other morning. Natural food sources are probably
more and more lean as this unusually snowy and cold winter continues. ... Chuck Schmidt, Hancock
February 23, ...... We're approaching what is often a very stressful time of year for many animals, including red
squirrels. In the fall they feed on all kinds of conifer seeds, mushrooms, insects, nuts and the many
fruits and berries that are available. They also have caches of cones which they turn to once there
is a scarcity of food elsewhere. Once these caches are used up, usually by late winter or early
spring, red squirrels turn to sugar maples for nutrients. Their timing is perfect, for this is when sap
is starting to be drawn up from the roots of trees. Red squirrels are known to harvest this sap by
making single bites into the tree with their incisors. These bites go deep enough to tap into the
tree's xylem tissue, which is where the sap is flowing. The puncture causes the sap to flow out of
the tree, but the squirrel delays its gratification. It leaves and returns later to lick up the sugary
residue that remains on the branch after most of the water has evaporated from the sap. Not only
do red squirrels help themselves to sugar maple sap, but they have developed a taste for the bud'
and later in the spring, the flowers of both red and sugar maples. Red squirrels are not the only
culprits - gray squirrels and flying squirrels also make short work of buds and flowers from these
trees. ..... Mary Holland, Naturally Curious.
Follow Mary's regular, fascinating and informative natural history posts and her beautiful
photography at: (http://naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wodpress.com)
February 25, ...... As I was driving from Antrim towards Hillsborough this morning .... I saw a bluebird. I've read that,
with warming trends, some bird species that used to migrate have been wintering over. But this
winter, with its record setting cold and snow? Surely bluebirds are smarter than that. Seriously
what possesses a bluebird to stay here through this kind of winter ? It was stunning to see.
..... John Ranta, Hancock
February 27, ...... This is the time of year, particularly during high snowfall winters, when we frequently read numerous
disheartening accounts in local newspapers of dead or dying owls. The barred owl is often the one
mentioned in these reports. With the deep snow cover, predation becomes extremely problematic
and the owls are forced to hunt both during the daytime and near roadway open spaces in search of
small mammals to feed upon. The barred owls, which only weigh a pound or two to begin with, are
often starving and are in a weakened condition in late winter. Many are hit by cars along roadways
and are harassed by crows. Audubon and wildlife rehabilitation facilities receive a heightened
frequency of calls regarding distressed owls at this time of year. ... Also on the subject of owls ......
This winter's "echo" irruption of Snowy Owls continues throughout the northern US. Check out:
(allaboutbirds.org/2015/01/16/a-snowy-owl-sequel/) for an update. At the website, use the "Find" box
at the upper right. Type in "A Snowy Owl Sequel" to access the article. .... CS
February 28, ....... As the month February draws to a close it is worth mentioning that Concord broke a 121 year old low
temperature record on Tuesday morning, the 24th, when thermometers dipped to - 21 degrees. Up north
the temperature at First Connecticut Lake dropped to 35 below and Whitefield hit 33 below. ! Weather
Service meteorologists indicate that this month is on track to become the coldest February recorded
since 1889. The record we are going to break, or at least come very close to breaking, is that of February
1934, when the average temperature for the month was 12 degrees. Through last week the February 2015
our temperature was averaging 12.2 degrees. .... CS
Great Horned Owl - Neal Clark
Also known as the cat owl or tiger of the air, the great horned is the largest common owl in the
east, and has two inch ear tufts and a white throat. Horned owls are fairly common residents
throughout North America - the widest range of any owl. They are non-migratory, but birds of the
extreme north withdraw a bit in winter. Normally thought of as owls of the deep woods, they also
range across open country, and are doing well near the city, where they subsist on rats , pigeons,
and an occasional stray cat.
These four pound predators have white throats and barred brown underparts. They appear to
be neckless. Females, which are larger than males, reach two feet tall with a wingspread of almost
five feet. Their talons lock after sinking into flesh; in one case, a biologist whose hand was impaled
by a captive bird had to cut the owls leg tendons to free himself.
Calls are low, muffled hoots in a series of five to seven, the last two being more emphatic. Even in
a dense forest, when the hoots sound like they're delivered through a mitten, the calls carry well, with
an urgent, don't come-near-me tone. When hooting, the owls lean forward, fluff out the white throat
feathers, and close their eyes slightly, making the birds look all the more feline. The beak is scarcely
opened. From a distance, hooting sounds like the cooing of a dove or the barking of a big dog.
The horned owl will hunt anything it can handle, and it can handle surprisingly large prey. Regular
items include; rabbits, squirrels, weasels, muskrats and smaller rodents, and skunks. It is one of the
few predators that will touch a skunk; apparently the owl doesn't mind the strong smell, but museum
curators do when they get a reeking, stuffed specimen. The odor can last for years.
Great horned owls also take birds such as grouse, quail, hawks and owls (including the barred,
which is nearly the same size as the horned), and several species of waterfowl. In times of plenty,
they habitually open up the prey's skull and eat only the brain.
These owls hunt by night but when forced, by day. They are powerful flyers that can soar like
hawks, and have been clocked by a car's speedometer at 40 mph. Pairs normally court in January
or early February, resulting in females incubating during late winter snowstorms. The birds reuse
old hawk, crow, or squirrel nests, adding nothing but a few feathers. They favor the center of
secluded woodlots and readily appropriate those nests located in white pines. Dr. Louis Bishop
found that the adult owls he studied in Connecticut destroyed their own nests as soon as the young
could step up in the tree crotch, thus making the young less conspicuous to roving crows.
Two or three eggs are laid before spring. Within two weeks of hatching, the chicks are one-third
adult size, wearing thick buff-colored down. At a month they are half grown, with the partially
developed wings and the full tail fathers peeking out of the sheaths.
Great horned owls exude authority and vigor when seen up close, but their presence can be
felt a mile away when their somber hoots weave through the woods on a quiet evening.
..... Excerpted, with permission, from Neal's book "Eastern Birds of Prey".
MONADNOCK SKIES - For March 2015
March ....... March Constellations - Winter's Brightest Stars - I have always liked the analogy of describing
the slow seasonal change of the stars and constellations in the night sky to the view of the scenery
from the passenger seat of a car driving around a large oval racetrack. The view at any point in the
trip is always the same. But, sometimes the scenery is a bit more "interesting" as is the case with the
view during the winter portion of the "trip". It is at this section of the trip that as we view out toward
the night sky (viewing inward would be the daytime scenery toward the sun) we see the most distinctive
constellations and the brightest stars of the year. We are now heading into the "springtime" scenery
section of our trip around the orbital racetrack. The springtime sky is considerable less interesting,
in terms of bright stars and distinctive constellations. So we should take this time to appreciate the
winter sky. After the drab springtime sky, the summer constellations and bright summer stars will put
in their annual appearance, but until then, and for the next month or so Monadnock skywatchers
can still enjoy the grouping of the brightest stars of the year. Dominated by the constellation Orion,
this grouping is called The Winter Hexagon by some, The Winter Oval or The Celestial "G" by others.
Containing eight of the brightest "first magnitude" stars visible in our sky, this grouping is visible
high in the southern sky. As the month progresses, this grouping moves slightly westward each
night, until by month's end it crosses the Meridian around 7:30 PM. The grouping will continue to
dominate this region of the southern sky during February and March. To familiarize yourself with this
stellar assemblage: first find the prominent constellation of Orion in the south. Locate the brilliant
blue-white star Rigel in the lower right hand corner of the constellation. This star, sixth brightest in all
the sky at magnitude + 0.12, marks Orion's left foot as he faces westward. Then move slightly lower
and to the left (eastward) to the even brighter star Sirius in the constellation of Canis Major (one of
Orion's hunting dogs). Sirius is the brightest star in our night sky at magnitude - 1.46. Then move
upward and slightly to the east to another brilliant star Procyon the seventh brightest star in our sky
at magnitude + 0.34. Procyon resides in the constellation Canis Minor (the little Dog). Almost directly
above Procyon are the two brightest stars in the constellation Gemini (the Twins). Pollux, the lower of
the two shines at magnitude +1.15. Castor, the other twin at magnitude +1.96, is just above Pollux and
only a "finger" width away. Continuing upward and slightly to the right (westward) we arrive at Capella,
magnitude +0.71 in the constellation Auriga (the Charioteer). From Capella, move downward and to
the right to arrive at the orange-red Aldeberan, the "eye" of Taurus the Bull shining at magnitude +0.85.
To complete the "Celestial G" move downward and slightly back to the left (eastward) to the brilliant
red giant star Betelgeuse (magnitude +0.42), the eighth brightest star in our sky which marks the "Bar"
of the Celestial "G" and the right shoulder of Orion.
March, ....... The Planets This Month - The giant planet Jupiter shines brightly in the eastern sky all month.
Climbing higher and higher in the sky as the night progresses, the planet presents Monadnock
observers with an opportunity to view its four Galilean Moons with a small telescope. In the western
sky after sunset, Venus continues to climb higher and higher in the sky as the month progresses.
It sets 2 1/2 hours after the sun at the start of the month and by month's end it sets three hours after
the sun with a magnitude of - 4, making it the brightest object in the night sky other than the moon.
The planet Mars is still barely visible low in the west at sunset at the start of the month and by month's
end it is on the horizon at sunset. Saturn remains visible in the southern sky in the early morning sky.
March 3, .......... Bright Iridium Flare - Keene - Tonight, weather permitting, Monadnock Skywatchers in the Keene
area will have an opportunity to observe a bright Iridium Satellite "flare". To observe the flare, face the
SSE a couple of minutes before the scheduled 7:03:26 PM flare. Observe the area just over halfway up
from the horizon (Approx. 51 degrees) The flare will occur near the star Procyon in Canis Minor. In
Keene, it should approach a magnitude of - 8.2, a little dimmer east and west of Keene. This flare will
be caused by sunlight reflecting off the Iridium 32 communication satellite.
March 4, ......... Second Bright Iridium Flare - Marlborough - Tonight's flare will reach a maximum magnitude (- 8.2)
a little east of last night's flare. This one is scheduled to occur at 6:58:28 PM in approximately the same
region of the sky as last night's flare. This one is also in the SSE, again approximately halfway up in the
sky (altitude 52 degrees above the horizon). Again near the star Procyon. The brightness will diminish
east and west of Marlborough. This flare will be caused by the Iridium 29 satellite.
March 4, .......... The planet Venus passes 0.3 degrees from the planet Uranus tonight, presenting observers with an
opportunity, weather permitting, to catch a glimpse of Uranus with a good pair of binoculars.
March 5, ....... Full Moon - "The Worm Moon - Snow slowly begins to melt, the ground softens, and earthworms
show themselves again. Other names for the March full moon include: The Crust moon, The Crow Moon,
and the Sap Moon. Christian settlers also considered this the Lenten Moon.
March 13, ........ Last Quarter Moon
March 20, ......... New Moon
March 27, .......... First Quarter Moon
MONADNOCK REGION NATURAL HISTORY EVENTS CALENDAR - March 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.
March 1, ......... Film -"Alone in the Wilderness" - The Hancock Historical Society invites you to an afternoon of
viewing "Alone in the Wilderness" Sunday, March 1, at 2 PM in the Daniels Room at the Hancock Library.
This 60 minute documentary details Richard Proenneke's self-sufficient life in his log cabin. The film is a
simple but fascinating account of his day-to-day explorations and activities that he carries out alone in
the Alaskan wilderness and the constant chain of nature's events that keep him company. Proenneke
built his log cabin in the late 1960s in the wilderness at the base of the Aleutian Peninsula in what is now
Lake Clark National Park. He filmed himself, using color footage, selecting a homestead site, and building
his log cabin. Please join us for this interesting and entertaining film. (Program rescheduled from
March 3, ........ ESI Course - Session One - Wildflower Identification Primer - Ready to think spring ? Join
naturalist and plant enthusiast Wendy Ward to learn the basics of wildflower identification, including
flower anatomy, flower family classification and characteristics, and which flowers to expect where.
The course will meet on Tuesdays, march 3, 10, 17 and 24, from 9 to 11 AM at the Harris Center in
Hancock. Cost $40 for Harris Center members, $60 for non-members. For more information or to
register for any ESI course: contact Sara LeFebvre at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-3394.
March 3, ......... Forests for the People - Fox Forest Lecture Series - The initial offering in this year's Cottrel-
Baldwin Environmental lecture Series. This year's series focuses on land-use changes and their impact
on wildlife, recreation, forestry, agriculture and conservation here in the Granite State. All presentations
take place in the Henry Baldwin Environmental center at the Caroline A. Fox Research and Demonstration
Forest, 309 Center Road in Hillsborough, about 2 miles north of the intersection of Rt 149 and Main
St. beyond the Hillsborough-Deering High School. Programs begin at 7 PM. This evening join David
Govatski, co-author of Forests for the People, who will tell the story of how a diverse coalition worked
to create eastern U.S. national forests and the issues facing them today, such as shale oil extraction,
restoration ecology, invasive insects, burgeoning recreation and calls for preservation vs. multiple use
management. Pre-registration is not required. For additional information, please call (603) 224-9945
or access www.forestsociety.org/things to do.
March 3, ......... Keene Amateur Astronomy Club Program - Keene Library - Jeff McClintock, Harvard University
Senior Astrophysicist, will lead a discussion of the Giant Magellan Telescope. This cathedral sized
telescope is perched on a Chilean mountaintop. Stunning developments in optics technology will deliver
images ten times sharper than those of the Hubble Space Telescope, allowing us to explore other earths,
the first stars, black holes, and the origin of the universe. 6:30 PM at the Keene Public Library located at
60 Winter Street. For additional information, contact Gail Zachariah at (6030 757-1845.
March 5, ......... ESI Course - Session One - Nature Journals as Models and Inspiration - Recording observations
of our surrounding habitat can widen our vision, create space for reflection, and provide renewed energy
with which to face our daily tasks. Writers such as Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Edwin Way Teale,
and Hal Borland have left us a legacy of insight in the form of nature journals, which can both uplift us and
prod us to consider our universe in its beauty and complexity. In this group, we'll explore some of these
masters of the genre, and perhaps share entries from our own journals. This group will meet on Thursdays,
March 5, 12, 19 and 26, from 10 to 11 AM at the Harris Center in Hancock. Cost: $30 for Harris Center
members/ $50 for non-members.
March 5, ......... Workshop on the Emerald Ash Borer - Forest health officials need the help of outdoor enthusiasts -
including birders - to detect evidence of the Emerald Ash Borer, the most destructive forest pest in North
America. Its larvae tunnel just under the bark of ash trees, killing trees quickly. You can help locate this
pest by spotting the characteristic bark damage caused by woodpeckers feeding on EAB larvae. In this
workshop, Molly Heuss (NH Division of Forests and Lands) and Steve Roberge (UNH Cooperative Ext.)
will teach you what to look for and how to report potentially infected trees. They'll discuss the history and
biology of EAB, the status of infestations in NH, the impacts EAB is expected to have on NH forests and
landscapes and the steps the NH Forest Health officials are taking to manage this insect. Phil Brown of
NH Audubon will discuss the birds that feed on EAB, how to identify them, and why their feeding behavior
leaves characteristic "blonding" on infected ash trees. You'll also hear a landowners perspective on EAB
infestations. 7 to 8:30 PM at the Harris Center in Hancock. For more information, contact Eric Masterson
at (603) 525- 3394 or email@example.com Cosponsored by the Harris Center, NH Audubon, UNH
Cooperative Extension, and NH Division of Forests and lands.
March 6, ......... Easygoing Hike from Fitch's Corner to Milford Village - A moderately easy, 4 mile roundtrip hike
from Fitch's Corner to Milford Village and back. Bring water and lunch and meet at 10 AM in the parking
area beside Ocean State Job Lot in Peterborough (at the intersection of Routes 101 and 202) to carpool.
Back by 3 PM. For more information, contact Ollie Mutch (978) 386-5318 or firstname.lastname@example.org or
Lee baker (603) 525- 5262 or email@example.com, trip leaders. Harris Center program.
March 6, ......... Owl Moon Prowl - Join us for an evening program on the natural history of New Hampshire's most
common owl, the Barred Owl (Strix varai). Inside, we'll look at mounted specimens and natural history
artifacts to discover how this bird has adapted to its nocturnal lifestyle. We'll also listen to the different
types of owl sounds that can be heard in this part of New Hampshire, and learn the barred Owl's
distinctive "Who Cooks for You" call. We'll then venture outside onto the Harris Center grounds in hopes
of hearing a courting Barred Owl in real life. For more information, contact Susie Spikol Faber at
firstname.lastname@example.org Harris Center program.
March 6, ......... Wildlife Tracking on Distant Hill - Jeff Littleton, chief ecologist and owner of Moosewood Ecological
and adjunct professor of environmental studies at Antioch New England, will lead a Wildlife Tracking Walk
on Friday, March 6, from 2 PM to 4 PM, in the fields, forests, and wetlands of Distant Hill Gardens in
Walpole. With luck, you will see tracks for some of the many wildlife species that frequent Distant Hill.
River otter, red fox, eastern coyote, bobcat, porcupine, fisher, ermine, mink, raccoon, opossum, skunk,
deer, moose, bear, turkey and grouse have all been documented on the property. A number of them
have been photographed with our trail camera. Dress for the weather and bring your snowshoes if you
have them. If not, we do have a few extra pairs available to loan out. For more information, or to reserve a
pair of snowshoes: Call Michael at (603) 756-4179 or e-mail us at email@example.com . There is
a suggested donation of $5.00 for this event. For directions visit www.distanthillgardens.org
March 15, ....... Camp Chenoa Snowshoe Trek - Join Meade Cadot, Swift Corwin and Francie Von Mertens for a
moderately strenuous 1.5 mile roundtrip trek (or hike depending upon conditions) through 185 newly
conserved acres in southwest Antrim. This land is the former site of a Girl Scout camp, and directly abuts
the Willard Pond Wildlife Sanctuary. Bring water, and meet at 9 AM at the trailhead (To get there from
Antrim, go north on Rt 31 for 1.5 miles, then turn left onto Gregg Lake Road. Stay on Gregg lake Road for
approximately 1.6 miles, until Gregg lake Road turns into Brimstone Corner Road. Continue on Brimstone
Corner Road for approximately 0.7 miles. The trailhead will be on your right marked by a Harris Center
Supersanctuary sign. Back by noon. For more information, contact Meade Cadot at (603) 525-3394 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Harris Center program.
March 17, ........ Movie Night - "The People's Forest" - Fox Forest Lecture Series - Acclaimed filmmaker David
Huntley will present the film, The People's Forest, the result of his two year collaboration with the
Center for Rural Partnerships at Plymouth State University and the Museum of the White Mountains.
The film tells the story of how "the land that nobody wanted" became the White Mountain National Forest.
(See March 3rd listing for additional information)
March 17, ........ Eagle Update - Hinsdale and Townshend - Speaker Bill Deane has a passion for bald eagles. In
addition to monitoring several nests in Massachusetts, he keeps close watch on the nesting eagles in
Hinsdale, and more recently in Townshend. In the process he obtains stunning photographs and videos
of the eagles. Please join us for this presentation of the Southeastern Vermont Audubon Society. 7 PM at
the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro.
March 24, ........ Boom to Bust and Back Again - Fox Forest Lecture Series - Stephen Taylor, former New Hampshire
Commissioner of Agriculture will discuss the rise and fall of the great sheep boom, hill farm culture, the
influence of the N.H. Grange, family dairy farms and 4H. New niche markets, the local food movement and
farmer's markets, plus specialty "boutique farms" and soaring interest in backyard poultry, sheep and goats,
llamas and alpacas, are creating a renaissance for farming in New Hampshire. (For additional information,
please see the March 3rd listing).
March 26, ........ "Salamander Crossing Brigades" Volunteer Training in Keene - As the earth thaws and spring
rains drench New Hampshire, thousands of salamanders, frogs and toads make their way to vernal pools
to breed. Many are killed when their journey takes them across busy roads. Each spring, we train volunteers
to serve on Salamander Crossing Brigades at amphibian road crossings throughout the Monadnock region.
These heroic volunteers count migrating amphibians and safely usher the animals across roads during one
or more of the "Big Nights". To join the ranks, attend either this volunteer training in Keene, or the training
at the Harris Center on March 28. (No need to attend both) 7 - 9 PM in the Keene College Science Center
(Room 129). For more information, contact Brett Amy Thelen at email@example.com or 525-3394. Co-
sponsored by Keene State College and The Harris Center.
March 28, ........ 32nd Annual Waterfowl Safari Along the Connecticut River - Through carpools and a little walking,
we're likely to see a variety of ducks and other species northward bound in spring migration. We'll have
two groups, one heading north from Hinsdale (departing at 8 AM from the Home Depot parking lot in
Keene), and the other heading south from Charlestown (departing at 8 AM from the Charlestown Library
on Main Street). The two groups will meet at Herrick's Cove in Vermont for lunch and tall tales. Bring water,
lunch and binoculars. Carpools return about 1 PM. For more information, please contact Eric Masterson
firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-3394) or Phil Brown at email@example.com or 525-3394). Co-
sponsored by NH Audubon and the Harris Cent
March 28,......... "Salamander Crossing Brigades" - Volunteer Training in Hancock - 10 AM to noon at the Harris
Center in Hancock. (For additional information, please see the March 26th listing)
March 31, ....... Oh, To Be Young Again - Fox Forest lecture Series - Jim Oehler, a habitat biologist with the N.H.
Fish and game Department, presents the Young Forest Project, a partnership working on behalf of the
many wildlife species that require young forest habitats even as the Northeastern forest continues to
mature. (For more information. please see the march 3rd listing)
MONADNOCK NATURAL HISTORY RESOURCES
..........Big Trees of New Hampshire: Short Hikes to the Biggest Trees in new Hampshire
from the Seacoast to the North Country - (2014), Kevin Martin - A unique hiking guide to
more than 80 of New Hampshire's largest trees. The book features 28 hikes to 85 trees throughout
........... The Stokes Essential Pocket Guide to the Birds of North America - Donald and Lillian
Stokes (2014) - Pocket size, brilliantly colored and easy to use. This volume contains everything
you need to identify and enjoy birds in your backyard and beyond. It offers more than 580
stunning color photographs , coverage of more than 250 species, key identification clues,
descriptions of songs and calls, notes on feeding and nesting behavior, advice on selecting bird
feeders and binoculars, important behavioral information and key habitat preferences, and up-
to-date range maps.
........... 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 Harridan, 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, Snuff's Director of Education and Volunteer Services, is a long time forest and wildlife
naturalist, group field leader and is known for his prominence in regional land conservation and
forest stewardship initiatives. Worth the price of membership for his essays alone. Information
........ Field - New Hampshire Audubon's quarterly program and events guide. The publication
features articles, programs, and activities offered at all of New Hampshire Audubon's centers
and regional chapters throughout the state. The current issue and back issues are available at:
........ Outdoor Guide - Antrim,and Bennington, New Hampshire - The second edition of this 64
page guide has recently been made available through towns halls, libraries and a wide variety of
business outlets throughout the northern Cheshire County region. A wonderful resource, it contains a
wealth of information on key nature destinations in the region, including hiking and biking trails,
canoeing and kayaking opportunities, and a wide variety of other nature related activities. Also
available at www.ablions.org
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.
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.
........ Brattleboro Outing Club - The BOC offers an opportunity to participate in year-round
outdoor activities including kayaking, canoe trips and cross country skiing. For additional
........ Keene Mineral Club - Founded in 1948 the Keene Mineral Club is an active group of
collectors of 100 or so members whose interests cover the full spectrum of mineral related
topics: crystals, minerals, gems, lapidary, micromounts, fossils and more. The club holds
regular monthly meetings, publishes an award winning newsletter and sponsors frequent
local and regional field trips. Membership is encouraged for all ages and levels of interest.
....... Keene Amateur Astronomers Club - Founded in 1957, the club has a goal of enhancement
of Amateur Astronomy through fellowship, sharing knowledge and enjoyment of the hobby. The
KAA holds monthly meetings, provides outreach programs, and holds regular viewing sessions
at their own observatory. Membership is open to students, parents, beginners, backyard
amateurs and experienced professionals. Meetings and observing sessions are open to all.
.......... NOAA National Weather Service Website - The NOAA Weather service website is by far the
most detailed and informative source of local and regional weather information. Almost all of the
other online weather websites and media outlets get their basic information from this source.
.......... Latitude and Longitude - To determine the exact Latitude and Longitude of a specific location,
visit the website (http://touchpad.com/ladling.html). For a more detailed description of the
information available on this website, see the January 2011 MAN.
.......... Topographic Maps - Free, New Hampshire topographic maps are available for viewing or
download by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. (www.wildnh.com/maps)
......... The New Hampshire Birding List - A website providing daily reports of sightings and
comments from birdwatchers all over the state, with regular posts from the Monadnock Region.
top birders. (http://birdingonthe.net/mailing/NUB.html)
......... New Hampshire Mountain Lions - John Ranta of Hancock, NH maintains a running blog which
shares information on mountain lions in New Hampshire and reports sightings in the Granite State.
......... Rare Bird Alert - New Hampshire - A weekly listing of rare bird sightings throughout the
state. Compiled each week by Mark Suomala. The RBA is available in each Friday's edition of
the Union Leader newspaper, as a phone recording (603) 224-9909, or from the New Hampshire
Audubon's website: (http://www.nhaudubon.org/birding/rare-bird-alerts)
......... New Hampshire Lightning Detection/Tracking System - This site provides a real-time
radar map of lightning strikes occurring in the northeastern states. The map is refreshed every
5 minutes. The site also provides a wealth of other useful and interesting meteorological
......... Heavens Above - A treasure trove of observational astronomy information. After registering
and inputting your latitude and longitude, the site provides you with exact times, locations, and
magnitudes of various satellites visible at your location. (http://www.heavens-above.com/)
.......... Google Earth - a free program which allows the viewer to travel anywhere on earth and view
aerial and satellite imagery from great elevations to street level. Many locations provide three
dimensional, 360 degree opportunities for viewing. A must for the regional naturalist to view
natural areas and to preview hiking trails, etc. (http://www.google.com/earth/index.html)
........... Spaceweather.com - A worthwhile site for all sorts of astronomy related information,
including auroral displays and alerts, solar activity (sunspots, flares, etc), planetary Info.,
meteor showers. The site provides a sign-up option for a free e-mail Spaceweather Alert
when something significant is occurring. (http://www.spaceweather.com/)
...........The Old Farmer's Almanac - Another general reference site for regional weather, birding,
fishing, astronomy and outdoor information. Provides an excellent table for the rising and setting
times for the sun, moon and planets which may be selected for your particular town or village.
.......... Naturally Curious with Mary Holland - Follow the regional natural history scene throughout
the year through the comments, images and insights of one of New England's premier naturalists.
Mary's blog site should be a shortcut on the computer desktop of anyone interested in our natural
.......... New Hampshire Mineral Species - This site is dedicated to the documentation and confirmation
of New Hampshire mineral species. Developed and maintained by Tom Mortimer, the site contains a
listing of 293 New Hampshire species with images of 259 of these species. The vast majority of the
over 1100 images on the site are thumbnail and micromount sized specimen images were taken by
.......... Antrim - Bennington Outdoor Guide - A wonderful resource for outdoor locations and activities
in the region (http://www.antrimnh.org/Pages/AntrimNH_WebDocs/Outdoor_Guide.pdf)
.......... New Hampshire Garden Solutions: Exploring Nature in New Hampshire - A general
interest blog maintained by Allen Norcross in Swanzey. Always interesting and informative. Well
worth a regular visit to read Allen's comments on regional natural history and his wonderful
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.