Center for the Arts: All Things Wild and Wonderful

Dave Anderson

Dave Anderson, South Sutton, will be the guest speaker at All Things Wild and Wonderful, a program hosted by the Lake Sunapee Region Center for the Arts, at the Knowlton House, Sunapee Harbor, on April 5, from 5 to 7 p.m. The public is invited to attend.

Lake Sunapee Region, N.H. — The Center for the Arts will celebrate New Hampshire’s natural heritage with words, music and art in All Things Wild and Wonderful on Friday, April 5, from 5 to 7 p.m., at the Knowlton House, Sunapee Harbor.

The free program, a CFA’s First Friday event, will include poetry, music and a photography-illustrated talk by naturalist Dave Anderson of South Sutton, N.H. The public is invited to attend.

Anderson will speak about New Hampshire’s “incredible” natural surroundings and how it improves mental and physical health and quality of life.

Anderson designs and delivers education programs and field trips that teach forest and wildlife ecology, forest stewardship, and land conservation. He is the director of Education & Volunteer Services for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forest.

He also writes a column for the New Hampshire Sunday News and for the Forest Society and hosts the bi-monthly program Something Wild on New Hampshire Public Radio.

The evening will also include readings and music: “The Swan” by Mary Oliver  and Dianalee Velie’s “Claire de Lune” followed by Katelyn Croft’s harp rendition of Camille Saint-Saens’ “The Swan” and Debussy’s “Clair de Lune.” And CFA’s Literary Arts Guild will honor the winners of its Second Annual Springing into Poetry contest.

On the First Friday of each month, the Center for the Arts hosts free programs for the community: gallery openings and receptions, music events, and literary and theater nights. For more information, visit www.

Sunapee Green Up Day: Get Your Volunteer Form Here

Reminder: Sunapee Green-Up Day is Saturday, May 7th. The rain date is Sunday, May 8th. Volunteers are still needed for this community-wide clean up. And here is where you can get more info and your sign-up form. Just download and print.

Sunapee Green Up Day – Volunteer Form (2011) – PDF 29Kb

Read a related article via Sunapee News: It’s time to sign up for the Sunapee green up

Lake Sunapee attracts winter sailors…and WISSA

As winter comes to Lake Sunapee many folks think about skiing. Sailing is a summer sport, and skiing is for winter, but what if you could combine the two activities? In that case you would have snow sailing.

For years this was considered folly because the downward pressure of the mast would push any ski deep into the snow making forward motion impossible. When the windsurfing rig was invented, it wasn’t long before people around the world discovered that the lifting pressure between the sail and the ground would make ski sailing possible.  Since then, lots of things have happened.

Lake Sunapee, with its relatively large size, and high elevation–only 90 minutes from Boston–has been a natural for wind powered skiing. It has been a training ground for WISSA………

Read related Sunapee News articles (posted last winter):

Winter winds propel Peterson across Lake Sunapee

Kite sailors back on Sunapee after attending WISSA

Winter visitors to the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee area

Winter Visitors by Jim Block

This is the season for entertaining visitors, perhaps including some who come great distances by air. The majority who fly to visit us do not drop in unannounced and unexpected. But some of our northern neighbors seem to have a habit of doing this every few years in winter. This commonly happens when food up north is scarce. These visitors sometimes arrive in huge numbers, and sometimes come singly. Look for them this winter when you are out and about. Here is a very brief guide to their appearance and characteristics.


Perhaps the most colorful of the birds we see only during the cooler months is the Bohemian Waxwing. They are fairly easy to photograph since they tend to ignore anything else when they feed on berries of trees and shrubs…unless one spots danger and alerts the others. Then the whole flock, sometimes 50 to 100 birds, can explode as one and flee to the top of a nearby tree. They sometimes are in a mixed flock with Cedar Waxwings, but after a bit of experience it is fairly easy to identify which are Bohemians and which are Cedars. If you see a waxwing in summer in Sunapee it is almost certainly a Cedar. There have been numerous reports of large flocks of Bohemians already this winter in this area.

Common Redpoll

Another species that can arrive in large flocks is a finch, the Common Redpoll. They also are easy to see and photograph because they are attracted to backyard feeders, but do not look for them in New London in the summer.

Like the Bohemian Waxwing, this is an “irruptive species” that can be found in some years and be completely absent from the area in others. When these birds arrive in significant numbers it is said we are having an irruption—a dramatic, irregular migration of large numbers of birds to areas where they aren’t typically found.

Pine Grosbeak

Another finch that sometimes visits when the weather is cold and the nuts and seeds up north are scarce is the Pine Grosbeak. It is a beautiful bird. The males are pinkish-red and the females are yellow and gray. They are normally in small flocks, but sometimes in large numbers overrunning crabapples and other ornamentals.

Pine Grosbeak do not fear residential areas and can often be approached quite closely. The first time I remember seeing them was many years ago when I looked out my kitchen window and saw some birds that I did not recognize. I grabbed my camera, walked quite close to the group of perhaps 8 to 10, and got some photos. Later I identified them with help from a book and confirmed the ID with my slides.


And then there are the owls. They come singly and not as frequently. But when they do arrive in NH and VT they normally take up residence in one spot and stay for an extended time. There are birding list serves you can join to get alerted by email when they arrive. However, if you join a list serve, be prepared to receive many emails reporting sightings of much less common species also. These owls are special. Few of us have been fortunate to see them in the wild.

Many years ago a Snowy Owl visited my backyard briefly. And the Northern Hawk Owl is very special. The photos of these owls here were taken in different years in Vermont and during snowstorms!

More information

If you would like to see more photos of these 5 species of winter visitors, please visit And while you are at my web site, please feel free to look around. I have put many photos on this site since I created it in January. And now I’m even teaching easy website creation classes in addition to my photography classes that I announce several times a year to those on my photography email list. For more information, visit

Related Sunapee News articles:

Mink and muskrat and the changing season

Brookside Park – a spot rarely visited

Eagles fishing Lake Sunapee

Mink and muskrat and the changing season

Jim Block, Etna, recently photographed mink and muskrat and the changing season… See his blog for new photos and “how winter is moving in.”

On NH Public Radio, Dave Anderson, from the NH Forest Society, speaks about the “wondrous” first snow. “The certainty of cold, metallic-blue sunrises or gray, rainy afternoons makes December a time of interminable waiting. Nights grow long and cold. We wait for the holidays, for winter solstice … and that first snowfall…” Visit

Sunapee News welcomes your favorite seasonal images and stories.

Birders ready for ‘Christmas Bird Count’

It’s fast approaching…it’s an annual event that stirs birdwatchers around the Granite State and across the US, Canada and other Western hemisphere countries. It’s the long-standing, annual Christmas Bird Count.

The count in the Lake Sunapee area will be held on December 18, according to Gary Stansfield, Goshen, the Lake Sunapee area CBC coordinator. Experienced birders and backyard feeder watchers are invited to participate.

The goal is to cover “as much of the [Lake Sunapee area] circle as possible,” Stansfield wrote in his email announcement to local birders. To team up with others in the area or be assigned a specific count area within the Lake Sunapee area, email Stansfield at To be an official participant and to receive the CBC issue of American Birds, the fee is $5.

For more information, go to National Audubon.

To learn the count date and how to take part in your area, visit: NH Bird Records.

The data collected by observers over the past century allow researchers, conservation biologists, and interested individuals to study the long-term health and status of bird populations across North America. In the 1980’s CBC data were used to document the decline of wintering populations of the American Black Duck, after which conservation measures were put into effect to reduce hunting pressure on this species. See more about how the CBC data have been used recently in Audubon’s Birds & Climate Change and Common Birds in Decline reports. – National Audubon

America’s Landscape and the Land and Water Conservation Fund

White Mountains National Forest, New Hampshire...

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr


By Catherine Bushueff

New Hampshire is largely defined by its green and open spaces, its vital forest lands and its recreational landscape…including the spectacular White Mountain National Forest and our state parks, beaches and forests. A key partner in protecting and providing for these areas is the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The Keene Sentinel observed in its Dec. 7th editorial: “The Land and Water Conservation Fund helps keep the nation green.”

The Concord Monitor editorial said:

The conservation fund preserves historic battlefields and helps maintain forest economies It creates jobs restoring parks that have been allowed to fall into disrepair. And it adds threatened lands to conservation areas like the Sylvia Conte National Fish and Wildlife Refuge that protects the New Hampshire headwaters of the Connecticut River and the river’s watershed.

LWCF has been instrumental in preserving the nation’s land, water, wildlife and recreation heritage, which in turn strengthen local economies and communities and enhance the quality of life. Continue reading

Outdoor News and Views

Outdoor news: Mount Sunapee Resort, the ski area that operates at Mount Sunapee State Park in Newbury (NH), will open for the season today, Tuesday, November 30th.  According to the resort’s website: there will be “6,000 feet of top-to-bottom skiing and riding on Upper and Lower Blast Off trails. Terrain will be available for advanced and intermediate skiers and riders only. The Sunapee Express quad will be operating.” On Friday, the ski area will open “a top-to-bottom run on South Peak for novice skiers and riders.”

On the quieter side: A thin skim of ice is just beginning to appear on the coves and the quiet waters around Lake Sunapee. Yet, despite the colder temperature yesterday, two kayaks could be seen venturing out of Job’s Creek.

Photographer and outdoorsman Jim Block recently posted Sunapee Reflections…a captivating slide show of images that mirror nature and buildings around Great Island. With kayak and camera, Jim was out on Lake Sunapee November 21st, and last week posted the photos to his blog.

Nature and the Outdoors: Something Wild is a nature series produced by New Hampshire Public Radio with the NH Forest Society and the New Hampshire Audubon. Tune in weekly… on Fridays at 8:37 a.m. during Morning Edition and Sundays at 7:04 a.m. during Living On Earth. A catalog of topics aired on Something Wild is available on Forest Society website.

You can listen to NHPR at:

107.1 FM Berlin/North Conway WEVC
105.9 FM Colebrook W290BK
89.1 FM Concord/Manchester WEVO
104.3 FM Dover W282AB
91.3 FM Hanover/Upper Valley/Littleton WEVH, W217BH
99.5 FM Jackson/Mt. Washington Valley WEVJ
90.7 FM
Keene/Southwest NH WEVN
88.3 FM Nashua WEVS
103.9 FM Portsmouth W280DG
97.3 FM Plymouth W247AO

Brookside Park—a spot rarely visited

By Jim Block

Almost all rush by a small, quiet Grantham park near Eastman. Those who stop to explore or read a book will likely appreciate the beauty of Skinner Brook, which empties into the North Branch of the Sugar River after first crossing I-89, joining Sawyer Brook, and then Stocker Brook. Brookside Park is along Rt. 10 about a mile north of Exit 13.

It is the moving water that attracts me to this spot, because I love to photograph moving water.  The “trick” is to put your camera on a tripod or other stationary support, get off “Auto” and onto Aperture Priority (not Shutter Priority), set your ISO as low as it goes and your aperture to the smallest opening (largest F/stop number). This will give you a long shutter opening and hopefully produce nicely blurred water and circular patterns where bubbles swirl in eddies like the photo here. It also helps tremendously to make the photos on a non-sunny day.

I visited this park earlier this month and made several panoramic images. These images are interesting because you can zoom in, pan around and see much more detail than is normally possible on a web page.  Try it.  You can find three photos of Skinner Brook at

While at this site you might explore other panoramic images or investigate my photography classes. I very much enjoy teaching motivated photographers who thrive on a lot of homework each week.

For more information, visit

Fly on over to “All About Birds”

The recent Sunapee News blog post that linked up to Jim Block’s photo of a pair of eagles fishing Lake Sunapee continues to attract a flock of readers. Here’s another interesting site, an award winning website loaded with bird information. It’s the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where you can search out your favorite birds and hear their songs, learn their field marks, and view them on video. It’s All About Birds.

Sunapee News invites your news, photos, and observations about nature and wildlife in the Sunapee region. And if you’d like to be a regular contributor to Sunapee News, please let us know!

Eagles Fishing Lake Sunapee

It’s simply titled “Mid-November on Lake Sunapee.” It’s yesterday’s blog post by photographer Jim Block of Etna. This week, while boating from Burkehaven Harbor to Great Island, Jim snapped a simply amazing photo of two bald eagles fishing, “rather successfully over the waters of Great and Little Islands,” as he describes it. Check it out!

Gold Peaks in Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee Area

Yesterday, VisitNH said “pockets of color” still can be seen in the Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee region.” Around Sunapee, the late foliage colors are beautiful.

“Splashes of bright oranges and reds are remaining in the Upper Valley and around Lake Sunapee. Northern red oaks are showing their deep browns among the yellows of the quaking aspen and the birches. Routes 10, 114, and 120 are best bets for scenic drives. Pumpkins, apples and gourds are still available at roadside stands.”

VisitNH : Dartmouth-Lake Sunapee.

And there’s more…at one of our favorite local markets.

In New London this weekend, Spring Ledge Farm on Main Street, will hold a Moonlight Maze on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 22 and 23  from 6:30-9:00 pm.

“Explore the maze by the light of the full moon,” reads the invite.

The maze, 3 acres with 1 1/4 miles of paths, will be open every day until November 1st.  Corn Maze Aerial 3Tickets are $7 for adults, $5 for kids ages 4-12, and free for kids 3 and under. Parking is available at the farm; follow the signs down the driveway.

Naturalist Dave Anderson to Lead Workshop at The Fells

Forest Society naturalist Dave Anderson

Forest Society Director of Education and Volunteer Services Dave Anderson to lead workshop at The Fells in Newbury, NH on October 7

Join Forest Society naturalist Dave Anderson for Stories in Stone: Common Clues to Land Use Before Reforestation on Wednesday, October 7 from 1 to 4 pm.  Learn about the land use history at The Fells in Newbury (NH) during this introductory field workshop, which begins with a 20-minute indoor presentation followed by a hike to local woodland sites. Anderson will explain how to determine site age and significance by studying cultural artifacts like cellars, wells, stone walls, stone piles, fences, and farm implements. Participants should dress for indoor and outdoor activity.

Named after the Scottish word for rocky upland pastures, The Fells is situated on a nearly 1,000-acre hillside overlooking scenic Lake Sunapee. It is the former lakeside summer home of American writer and diplomat John M. Hay (1838-1905). Hay’s son Clarence inherited the property and along with his wife Alice Appleton Hay, transformed the rock pasture into extensive formal and informal gardens. In 1960 the Hays donated 675 acres to the Society for Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Anderson is the Director of Education and Volunteer Services for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, where he has worked for more than 18 years. Anderson is responsible for the design and delivery of conservation education programs including field trips, tours, and presentations to Forest Society members, conservation partners, and the general public.

He is perhaps best known as a working naturalist (he prefers “dirt naturalist”) who guides group field trips on conservation land statewide while teaching about forest ecology, wildlife ecology, forest stewardship, and land conservation initiatives to introduce both life-long residents and visitors alike to protection and management of New Hampshire forests, farms, and open space.

Anderson’s bimonthly column “Forest Journal” appears in the statewide New Hampshire Union Leader’s NH Sunday News in the State and Local section. His quarterly “Nature’s View” columns are long-time regular feature in the Forest Society’s magazine Forest Notes.

This workshop is co-sponsored by The Fells and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests. Fells and Forest Society members pay $24; all others pay $30. Participants should meet at The Fells Gatehouse before 1 p.m.

The Fells is an independent not for profit 501c(3) organization that has owned and cared for the property since 1995.  Located on Lake Sunapee, the historic estate and gardens are at 456 Route 103A, Newbury.  For directions or more information, call 603-763-4789 or visit

Founded in 1901, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests is the state’s oldest and largest non-profit land conservation organization. Supported by 10,000 families and businesses, the Forest Society’s mission is to perpetuate the state’s forests by promoting land conservation and sustainable forestry. For more information, visit

From Cooking Up A Story: The Use of Birdhouses writes about people, food and sustainable living, stories of universal interest. A report this week includes a video of  Jon Bansen, a third-generation farmer from Oregon. Organic dairy farmer Bansen talks about his use of bird houses to foster a healthy bird population, which naturally helps manage the fly population. The story also offers instructions on how to make your own bird house. Visit: Bird Houses: Using Nature to Control a Farm Pest.

Cooking Up A Story is part of a Local Food Sustainable Network, a “growing body of independent alliances designed to encourage a deeper understanding of the important issues involving food and sustainability that effects people throughout the world.”  Goals include improving food quality and strengthening/supporting local economies, critical to a healthy community.

Have a NH local harvest story? Click on Comment (below) or email

Related websites:

Local Harvest – Real food, real farmers, real community

Local Harvest – Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Concord, NH

NH Farm to School

Farm Share at Springledge Farm, New London, NH


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