Sunday, January 29, 2017

January 29, 2017 - Community Forest

This week I took a visit to Meredith's Community Forest, one of four properties for which the Meredith Conservation Commission publishes trail maps (see them all here). 

The  area has a wide variety of habitat including beaver ponds, streams, rocky outcroppings and stone walls;  the trails are well marked - but do pick up a trail map, as there are a lot of trails and intersections.
Community Forest trails are well marked
The stream below the waterfall
The waterfall is shown on the map though there isn't much water falling at the moment

One of several beaver ponds on the property

A stone wall leads right up to this granite outcropping

Many of the streams were open but there are bridges over most of them so crossings are not a problem.
Warm weather and moving water means open streams - but bridges facilitate crossings

I'm always surprised at how much wildlife is present here, being so close to the village, but it shows that even a medium-size conserved area of 186 acres will support a wide range of life.  I saw signs of many of the mammals present in New Hampshire, including some I rarely see, such as rabbit (or hare).
Rabbit tracks

Near the beaver dam animals had taken advantage of the openings to access water, including this mink which slid down the icy bank just below the dam.
Several animals visited this watering hole below the beaver dam

It's good to know that I'm not the only one that slips on the ice.  Look how this fox slid all over the crusty surface!
Even four wheel drive and spikes can't prevent skids
The woodpeckers were busy on this stand of hemlocks.

In one wound we can see the tracks the insects made in the outer layer of wood just under the bark.
Insect tracks revealed by woodpeckers in search of the culprits

I don't know what beetle does this, but the woodpeckers are doing their part to get rid of them.

I'll close with a couple of pictures back at Lake Wicwas which show the contrasting scenes that can appear on a winter day.  First, looking south.
South towards Ladd Mountain

And then, looking north.
Northwest, towards the Dolloff Brook inlet

To borrow a phrase from John Denver, sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

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