The hot weather we had during the last week or so seems to have sped up the process a little, but it still looks like mid-July will be “peak” bloom. As I have said before, the blooming period for these Rhododendrons starts towards the beginning of July and extends sometimes to mid August, so if you do not get there exactly on July 15, you won’t miss it.
As is usual, no big surprises this week at the grove. An early morning visit was relatively bug free, but they are thick enough. It is June, after all. A few mushrooms to be seen here and there, and a little bit of moisture in the drainage areas this week. A sign of the rains that we had, but still a long way to go before it is still not too dry.
One thing that sets this species apart from the more common cultivars is the extended season of blooming. Each cluster of flowers will last 2-3 weeks depending on the weather, but some clusters will come out earlier, and some will wait until early August before they open.
No big changes are evident on the Rhododendron front at the grove in Fitzwilliam. They are a native species (Rhododendron maximus) that will not start to bloom for another 2-3 weeks or so. For anybody who follows this blog, this is not anything new. The “peak” bloom normally happens around July 15 or so. So far, it does not look any different this year, but we will wait and see, eh?
A few commonly seen wildflowers are visible in the grove this week, but the Rhododendron maximus blossoms are not due for another 3 or 4 weeks. The leaf buds are beginning to grow out, but the flower buds are still pretty tightly wrapped up.
As dry and cool as it has been lately in the Monadnock region, it does not appear (yet, anyway) that the bloom at Rhododendron State Park will be affected. If, however, we don’t get some rain here soon, that may or may not change.
If you’ve ever been to Bear Brook State Park, you know it’s a pretty special place. The SCA Digital Educator Naturalists have been living in Bear Brook since January, and they’ve gotten to know the park pretty well. To help you explore Bear Brook State Park a little more, they’ve created a digital field trip to Bear Brook, with videos visiting the park’s forests, wetlands, and CCC museum. Our field trip guide also includes suggested activities you can do at home, in your own backyard, or on a visit to Bear Brook.
Often when we’re waiting for spring, we are looking for warm weather and wildflowers as our first marker that the season has arrived. But there’s another sign of spring in the air: birdsong! While some birds stay in New Hampshire all winter, others are just now returning to us after wintering further south. Here are a few migrants you can expect to see around New Hampshire now! We’ve included recordings of their calls as well as pictures–if you’re interested in birding, learning even just a few bird calls is a great way to get started.
As aquatic animals, beavers spend most of their time in the water. They are proficient swimmers, and can remain underwater for up to 15 minutes at a time. Beavers’ skills in the water make up for their relative clumsiness on land, and helps to keep them safe from the threat of predation.