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Old 04-25-2005, 12:22 PM   #1
billy
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Default where have all the chipmunks gone

I'm close to the lakeshore in Gilford, Alton town line. Where I used to see 100s of chipmunks around the yard, so far I've seen ONE. Anybody else notice the same thing?
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:01 PM   #2
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Default Chipmunks, Frogs, Toads...

Yeah, we have the chipmunks.

But, of greater concern, where have all the toads and frogs gone? When I was a kid, not a day would go by when you wouldn't see MULTIPLE toads along the path, along the road, etc. And the little creek that fed into the cove at Wawbeek was loaded with green frogs and leopard frogs -- you could always find them there. These days -- none of either are to be found.

Am I showing my age? I still consider myself young @ 43...

Down here where I spend the rest of my time, we used to have a HUGE population of ring-neck pheasants. Granted, they are not a native North American species, but are from Asia. But they flourished in the US for many years -- probably first introduced by hunting organizations many, many years ago (much like the populations of Euro wild boar that found in -- get this -- pockets of New Hampshire and North Carolina). I thought of the pheasants because I spotted one along the road on Saturday. When I was a kid, we saw them every day all around our house. You couldn't walk across the fields without flushing a few out (and having the you-know-what scared right out of you). Theories on their demise ranged from increased predator populations (hawks, coyotes, etc.) to the Avian Flu that killed so many chickens in the 70s-80s. Could the chipmunk thing be a reflection of the burgeoning coyote population in NH? We have chipmunks down here, and I notice them in spurts -- mainly due, I guess, to the presence/absence of stray cats and the like.
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Old 04-25-2005, 02:03 PM   #3
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Default Strange...

I'm not sure but I have noticed a disappearance from our yard. I figured some other critter (suspected to be living in our stone wall) scared them off. Your post makes me wonder if there is perhaps some other reason.
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:10 PM   #4
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Question What's it all about, Alfie?

I'm missing "Alfie", "Blinky" and "Beta", whose absense I had attributed to a resurgence of red squirrels, who will chase and unmercifully bite chipmunks on sight. This latest news has me concerned.

Having live-trapped and moved five red squirrels so far this season, the numbers are still not up anywhere close. Last season's appearance of a weasel probably more affected the mouse population that had taken up residence in a stored boat. (Plenty of chipmunks last season, including the above named chipmunks).

Looks like my nascent thread-starter on "Winnipesaukee Chipmunk Training: 2005" is going to have to wait for the newest litters to arrive. The two (only) chipmunks that I've seen are too timid to even approach.

P.S.: (Save for "Beta", I don't get to name "our" chipmunks). Sorry, I failed to edit my "mug" from the photo.
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Old 04-25-2005, 03:14 PM   #5
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Default What about crayfish?

When I was a kid (and Lawrence Welk was on WMTW) there were tons of crayfish around the docks. We used to catch them in minnow traps and use them for bait. Some were hard shells with blue claws.

Today I almost never see them.

It may be possible that the increased loon population has had an effect on them.

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Old 04-25-2005, 03:29 PM   #6
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Default Crayfish

I've heard a number of people comment on the demise of crayfish, and Dr. Lyon mentions it in his book. But along our shore, they seem to be about as abundant as ever (or at least steady over, say, the past 20 years or so). I do, however, remember as a kid we would take a bass head and hang it from a stringer in the rocks near the dock at night, then wait a little while, and when we turned the flashlight back on, there would usually be a BUNCH of them all over the head. To this day, I swear that fish heads remain the best lure in the trap, followed by pork and lamb bones. At the beginning of the season, sometimes we'd catch a "sacrificial sunny" that we'd gut and toss into the trap. By the next day, we usually had a 8-10. This is still the case, although we don't consistently get the same numbers. But we do see a healthy population under the rocks and locks when we snorkel along the shore.
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Old 04-26-2005, 05:34 AM   #7
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Default Still hibernating?

Grant's experience with crayfish echoes my own; however, "acid rain" seems to have taken 99% of the crays away over the past 25 years in my area. It could be that up Melvin way, the waters are more thoroughly refreshed by rivers (and less acidic).

As to chipmunks: They are semi-hibernators and perhaps it is the colder earth in their burrows that is keeping them still hibernating in a year that saw a lot of cold.

Another thing, is that some years the seeds and "mast" availability changes from year to year. It doesn't seem possible there has been a mass die-off of chipmunks, but Nature will restore balance.

BTW: "Chipmunk" is a Native-American word for that critter. I'd wondered for years what its derivation could have been. Now I'm certain it is for the two "calls" that they make.

1) A high-pitched "chip". (What this is about, I don't know).
2) A low-pitched and definite warning "munk", which I've come to realize is associated with hawks and owls. Listen for blue jays and crows sounding their own alarms at the same time.

It's Nature's 9-1-1 call, and a good way to "spot" hawks and owls in the woods.
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Old 05-07-2005, 07:05 AM   #8
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Default Stacy Cole answers the big question

This author thinks that this year's chipmunk scarcity is a local problem -- also related to red squirrels. Seven reds have been relocated from here so far this season. Still only one timid chipmunk around to train, though.

http://www.theunionleader.com/articl...?article=54364

(More than you wanted to know about chipmunk scarcity).

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Old 05-09-2005, 09:17 AM   #9
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Question Red Squirrels

Where are your red squirrels being re-located to?
Please note: We don't want or need any more!
Are they tasty? (Just joking.)
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Old 05-10-2005, 09:06 PM   #10
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Exclamation Red squirrels are good swimmers!

At least based on my one experience.

I watched a very awkward duck swim away from my shore from the base of a big tree. When I put my binoculars on it, it turned out to be a red squirrel striking out for a mainland shore about Ĺ-mile away.

To save him from this foolish venture, I grabbed a landing net and launched my kayak. He disappeared from my sight, however, and thought that he had drowned.

Three months later, a red squirrel swam back and climbed the very same tree! All the other "reds" made a big ruckus at this point, and certainly left the impression he was not welcome back!

My relocated reds get released at the dump. So far, no complaints. (But if one lived near a dump, you wouldn't complain about squirrels anyway).

My chipmunk count is now up to two, but the first, "timid", chipmunk continually chases the other one away!
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Old 05-11-2005, 08:28 AM   #11
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Red face A Controversial Idea

Do you relocate mice too?

Wildlife with No Closed Season: A hunting license is required to hunt coyote, weasel, porcupine, red squirrel, wild boar, skunk, woodchuck, European starling, feral pigeon, and English sparrow.

APS, did you know?
Trapping: Any person (regardless of age) must have a license to trap any wild animal, except resident owners of farmlands when trapping on their own land. To be issued a trapping license, you must present proof that you've taken a trapper education course or previously held a license to trap.
NH Fish and Game Hunting Rules

Acres Per Second, Iím just yanking your chain
Hope you can get rid of those annoying little buggers so your chipmunks will return. Chippies are enjoyable little critters.
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Old 05-11-2005, 08:37 AM   #12
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Default Chipmunks are also excellent swimmers

I know this because one day my dog chased a chipmunk into the pool. The chipmunk swam across the pool but could not climb out so I picked him up with the skimmer & dropped him to safety on the other side of the fence.
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Old 06-24-2005, 08:56 AM   #13
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Red face Shortage Over.

Lots of wildlife around yesterday.

I investigated a high-pitched noisy whistle that sounded like a rusty-wheeled wheelbarrow being slowly pushed around. Robins and other birds were also making a lot of "alarm" noises.

The interloper turned out to be a Northern Harrier hawk, perched high in the yard. It took off at my approach -- chased by one very brave Robin. (Possibly it was the same Robin that later dive-bombed a chipmunk while the chipmunk fed from my hand -- startling both of us).

While puttering at the dock, a furry, dark-brown critter appeared. It seemed very self-concerned about a few large boulders that were at the water's edge -- then dove right in! Something so fuzzy and warm-coated: It didn't seem as though it should be aquatic. Guessing here, that it must have been a mink (a very large mink).

What sounded like a steel chisel being used at the water's edge turned out to be a floating, dark-brown, quart glass bottle. (Beer? The label was gone, and I've never experienced beer from a quart bottle).

It was floating neck-down, again at the water's edge, "dinging" lazily against the rocky shore. Since it was irretrievable where it was, I planned to check on its new location in a few minutes.

Later, though it's location hadn't changed any, it was now being stared at -- for about five minutes -- by a very large grass pickerel! ("Ring" for fish?)

The count (here) of red squirrels relocated to the Town Dump gate this year is eleven. This mass-relocation project seems to have benefited the local chipmunk population and two new families of birds who fledged here yesterday: Chickadees and Nuthatches.

Declaration: The Lakes Region "Chipmunk Shortage" is at an end!

Also, there will be no "Acres-per-Second Official Chipmunk Training Course" this year. (All you need is a pocketful of birdseed to have the newbie-chippies follow you all over the lot!)
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:09 AM   #14
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Default You probably saw an otter

RPS: The brown swimming critter you saw is probably an otter. There are several up around Blackey's Cove in Center Harbor, and I suspect throughout the Lakes Region. They are very cute, love to swim under the docks because they are hunting for fish... In late summer, we watch the ones in Blackey's cove for hours. They are very funny performers.
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Old 06-24-2005, 09:42 AM   #15
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Default

All my chipmunks are gone too,but at least I have a large spawning bass to keep me company.I've been feeding her a dozen nightcrawlers every night so that she'd be full and wouldn't fall victum to the bassboats.Now she follows me along the dock like a dog waiting for her handouts
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Old 06-24-2005, 12:37 PM   #16
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Default Otters and Minks and Bass, Oh My!

Pardon the exceedingly lame Wizard of Oz treatment...

We always have an abundance of the mink running along the shore. But they certainly aren't large. Donnamatrix is right -- probably an otter. Wish I could see one. Actually, there might be one along our shore. Each spring when I open the boathouse, there's an abundance of scat on the deck inside -- made up largely of fish scales and bones. Whatever the creature is that makes the boathouse "home" each winter/spring, it likes to poop in the same spots (and the stuff is TOUGH to remove) and eats a lot of fish. Doubt it's the mink, but it could be.

SAMIAM -- The spawning bass fall prey to the fisherman because they will bite ANYTHING that intrudes on their nesting space. Feeding the guarding male might prevent it from leaving the nest to eat, but it will surely hit anything that approaches the nest. Seems the spawn was later this year because of relatively lower temps. Hope they aren't taking too many bass off the beds...
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Last edited by Grant; 06-24-2005 at 12:45 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-24-2005, 03:51 PM   #17
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Talking I otter know, but I don't

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant
We always have an abundance of the mink running along the shore. But they certainly aren't large. Donnamatrix is right -- probably an otter. Wish I could see one. Actually, there might be one along our shore. Each spring when I open the boathouse, there's an abundance of scat on the deck inside -- made up largely of fish scales and bones. Whatever the creature is that makes the boathouse "home" each winter/spring, it likes to poop in the same spots (and the stuff is TOUGH to remove) and eats a lot of fish. Doubt it's the mink, but it could be.
We've had one (otter I think though it could have been a large mink) occasion our shore as well. It could well frequent our place except I'm not usually up that early to know. It scared the "scat" out of "Mee" one time it swam by late at night. Seems to like to crawl up under the rock crib dock next to ours and dine. One year I'm pretty sure he used to leave 1/2 eaten fish under our dock because the smell on some hot days was pungent, to say the least! I also recall that one or more used to live around the float/raft at Sands of Brookhurst (when I was a kid those many decades ago). You would find all sorts of empty mussel shells laying about on the bottom and between the floats and raft timbers. Next time I'm taking the camera with me when I get up early !!! (don't hold your breath waiting though )
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Old 06-24-2005, 07:02 PM   #18
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grant
But, of greater concern, where have all the toads and frogs gone? When I was a kid, not a day would go by when you wouldn't see MULTIPLE toads along the path, along the road, etc. And the little creek that fed into the cove at Wawbeek was loaded with green frogs and leopard frogs -- you could always find them there. These days -- none of either are to be found.
I remember all those frogs and toads too. I think it's the Herons that eat them. There are many more herons around my area then there ever were and they hunt right at the water's edge.
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Old 06-24-2005, 07:03 PM   #19
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Default Muskrat??

I had the same type of experience but it was a muskrat.
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Old 06-27-2005, 07:57 AM   #20
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Default

Interesting to find posts on a possible link trhis morning as I was going to ask what it was I saw this weekend on the forum.The little critter I saw was spotted in Paugus Bay playing around and under the dock and we saw it with a fish in it's mouth.It was probably a foot long,dark fur,and what I would describe as shaped like a ferret.Any guesses.I will search on-line to see if I can identify it. SS
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Old 06-27-2005, 08:51 AM   #21
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Default Mink

That sounds like a mink. We see them darting in and out of the rocks and around the dock quite often. Same size, shape, color that you described. And they eat fish. That might be what was "wintering" in the boat house, but the size of the scat was rather large...
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