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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  brimstone108@myfairpoint.net. 

                                        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 




         MONADNOCK MUSINGS                            



                                                                                         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







                                          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

                                   February 22)


      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 lefebvre@harriscenter.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 masterson@harriscenter.org  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 wapak@peoplepc.com or

                                   Lee baker (603) 525- 5262 or snowman3137@gmail.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

                                   spikol@harriscenter.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 distanthillgardens@gmail.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

                                    cadot@harriscenter.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 thelen@harriscenter.org 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

                                     masterson@harriscenter.org or 525-3394) or Phil Brown at pbrown@nhaudubon.org 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)






                             ..........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 state.


                           ........... 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

                                        without."  (www.northernwoodlands.org)                                     


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

                                         Dave, 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

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


                                ........ Field - New Hampshire Audubon's quarterly program and events guide.  The publication 

                                         features articles, programs, and activities offered at all of New Hampshire Audubon's centers

                                         and regional chapters throughout the state. The current issue and back issues are available at:



                                ........  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                           







                                .......    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

                                             information: (http://brattleborooutingclub.org)


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

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

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

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

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



                                   ....... 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 

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

                                          Tom. (http://mindatnh.org)


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

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


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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

             available upon request.