Summer

Hawks Aloft

Sep 7, 2012

Once again, it's broad-winged hawk migration time. Whirpools of hawks soon will fill the sky, riding high on thermal lift as sun warms earth. When lift plays out they stream south in an orderly, and countable, procession.

New Hampshire Audubon does just that - count the hawks - at Carter Hill Orchard in Concord and atop Pack Monadnock at Miller State Park in Peterborough.

Here's what Henry Walters, the official counter at Pack Monadnock, wrote two years ago on September 18:

Hover Flies

Aug 30, 2012
Hope Abrams, via Flickr Creative Commons

While hiking on Mount Monadnock this summer, I witnessed an odd phenomenon: nearly-motionless hovering insects with orange-yellow stripes over a dark body suggesting wasps or bees. The tight aerial formation of insects hovered at eye level in a shaft of sunlight over the trail.

The “Hover Flies” - sometimes called “Flower Flies” - belong to a LARGE group in the Order “Diptera” (the true flies). Those in the Family “Syrphidae” have only one pair of wings. All wasps and bees have two pairs of wings.

Stretching Out Summer, One Bite at a Time

Aug 28, 2012
BunchofPants via Flickr Creative Commons

Maine Chef Kathy Gunst on what we should cook and eat to make us feel better about the waning summer season.

Kathy's recipes:

END-OF-THE-SEASON ROASTED TOMATO SAUCE
From Notes from a Maine Kitchen (Down East Books, 2011)by Kathy Gunst
 

Dragonflies Winging South

Aug 24, 2012

Late summer brings cool nights and clear air - and winged migration. Along with birds heading south, there's a few butterfly, moth and dragonfly species that respond to the migratory urge.

One dragonfly - the common green darner - has been studied with results that suggest there's a lot of similarities between insect and bird migration. Tiny radio transmitters were attached with eyelash adhesive to green darners which were tracked by plane and ground crews.

Shorebird Migration

Aug 17, 2012
Flickr Creative Commons

The autumn shorebird migration starts early. The first signs of autumn are now found moving southward along beaches and in salt marshes or high above New Hampshire's 13 miles of Atlantic coast. 

Not So Common Nighthawks

Aug 10, 2012

In mid-August, one of the most elegant and least known migration flights begins. Common nighthawks, a long-distance migrant, are one of the earliest to depart their northern breeding grounds. Despite their species name, they aren't hawks and they aren't nocturnal. And, alas, they no longer are common. Nighthawks are crepuscular, a great word for the handful of species that are most active at dawn and dusk.

WBUR

Mid-summer is not too soon to think about heating next winter. By August, forest trees are beginning to prepare for the coming winter. With recent attention to the importance of local food production, we should consider ways to meet our heating needs using local wood energy.

A Good ol' Barn Dance

Aug 2, 2012
Greta Rybus

Last weekend was the Ossipee Valley Music Festival in South Hiram,Maine. The festival is a weekend long event with four stages of Americana, Bluegrass, and Rockabilly music from bands all over the world. But the real party starts when the sun goes down at the raucous Saturday night barn dance. Word of Mouth intern Zach Nugent decided to shake a leg and bring us this audio post card. 

Check out the barn dance band, The Defibulators:

The Best Books Hot off Indie Presses

Jul 17, 2012
Photo by Henry via Flickr Creative Commons

Back-to-school season isn’t for another month-and-a-half, so there’s still plenty of time to knock another novel or two off your summer reading list.  For true bookworms with stored-vacation time and quiet spot to spend it, we’ve got a few belated small-press summer suggestions that might have slipped your radar. 

With us is Michele Filgate—freelance writer, critic, and independent bookseller at community bookstore in Brooklyn.  Here are her picks:

GLACIERS by Alexis M Smith

The All-American Lawn

Jun 28, 2012

Come the weekend, it's time to tend the All-American Lawn; time to fire up the  mowers and weed whackers. Lawns need a lot of tending because they go against a basic law of nature: biodiversity, the ever-changing, dynamic system of plants and animals, flora and fauna.

You don’t need us to tell you this, but it’s hot today in New Hampshire. Temperatures have been reaching into the 90’s where they were in the 70’s earlier in the week. There have been heat advisories and a number of New Hampshire towns have opened up cooling centers.

Dandy Dandelions

Jun 15, 2012

You've got to hand it to dandelions. They're transplants from Europe that have adapted and spread very, very well. Anyone who has tried to pry dandelions loose from lawn or garden knows they have a long tap root. Leave any root segment and the plant will rise again. 

A surge in occurrence of Lyme disease is predicted for the Eastern U.S. three years after bumper acorn crops in 2009 and 2010 and following virtually NO acorns last autumn in 2011. Why is that? How do acorn crops influence rates of human illness? 

Oak forests demonstrate the ecological ripple effects when bumper acorn crops cause a population boom in mice which translates into an increase in ticks and a delayed-onset spike in reported cases of human Lyme disease.

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