New Hampshire’s Haruspices of Spring

I hear the sound of people diving for their dictionary… I’ll make it easy for you.

March 21st, the Vernal Equinox, was officially our first day of Spring.  I think we are all ready for it to feel like it has begun.

Spring in our state can be so unpredictable.  I remember seeing snow past Mother’s Day (not often, but it happened), so even with the recent mild weather, we can’t start our outdoor flower gardens quite yet.  I think we are past worrying about needing a major supply of wood, but we are not out of the woods regarding incoming sleet, bugs, and cold.

So how can we discover when more signs of Spring will arrive?

I’ve read about the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, who forecasts the arrival of spring each year, but I was intrigued to learn about another rodent, Wiarton Willie, the albino woodchuck in Canada (and a whole bunch of other similarly soothsaying creatures).

Since New Hampshire obsesses about being first in the nation, I think we need our own premier forecaster of spring…  Oh wait, maybe we already do.

Several “Official Groundhog Sighting” web sites say we have ‘Pennichuck Chuck’ of Hollis, the Granite State’s own groundhog…

I think this ‘fact’ needs more investigation. I tried to find Chuck, and the closest I came was someone wearing a groundhog suit, albeit for a good cause.

Another potential way to see if spring is really on its way, might be to check Wooly Bear Caterpillars.

Some people believe this claim that the Banded Woolybear (which is the larvae of Isia isabella a species of Tiger Moth) indicates the weather of the coming winter by the thickness of the red band (i.e. the thinner the band the worse the winter is going to be.) There does not yet appear to be any scientific evidence to support this theory unfortunately.

Fishing is a rite of spring. Early indicators of spring are the migration of fish upriver.  That counting guy might not be too off the beam, after all.


[This article first posted Fri 31 Mar 2006]

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