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. centerfortheartsnh.org.

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………http://sailingscuttlebutt.blogspot.com/2010/12/wissa-history.html

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.

Waxwings

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.

Owls

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 http://www.jimblockphoto.com/portfolio/birds-2/winter-visitors/ 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 www.jimblockphoto.com

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 http://www.nhpr.org/first-snow.

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 inuk@sugar-river.net. 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

OPINION

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

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