Friday, October 9, 2009


Seventeen turkeys wandered through the woods behind the center this afternoon!

Thursday, July 30, 2009


It has been so wet out lately that mushrooms are popping up like crazy around here. Here are some pictures of a bunch of different kinds we saw this week during camp:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Farmers' Market in the News

Our farmers' market was recently featured in both the Laconia Daily Sun and Laconia Citizen...check out these links to the articles!

Laconia Daily Sun
Laconia Citizen

Mystery Egg

Out on the Quest today Karen's camp group came across a strange large egg in the woods along the blue trail. We looked it up and our best guess is wild turkey....any other thoughts?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Miscellaneous pictures from Spring 2009

White Oaks Farmers' Market

New for 2009, Prescott Farm staff has worked with local farmers and business owners to create the White Oaks Farmer’s Market. The market is held Thursdays from 4pm to 7pm on the driveway of the Samuel P. Pardoe Building (marked with the open flag).

The Market offers several different kinds of breads and baked goods from local vendors; home-roasted coffee, maple syrup made at Prescott Farm and flower arrangements from the gardens on site, heirloom and naturally grown vegetables and preserves from several small farms, ice cream from the Laconia Boys & Girls Club and more. Come join us - we have the best view of any farmers' market in the state!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


The newts are out - during the last day of April vacation camp last week, the kids counted 37!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Big Night?

Today's weather is looking good for an amphibian migration or "Big Night." On the first warm-ish (in the 40's) rainy night of the year, animals such as spotted salamanders and woodfrogs emerge by the hundreds from their forest homes and travel to vernal pools, temporary ponds usually created by snowmelt, to lay their eggs. This is the only time of year you are likely to see these mysterious creatures - so, if you are in an adventurous mood, head outside tonight around 9:00 with a flashlight and take a walk down the road. Hopefully you'll see some action!
If possible, feel free to gently move animals off the road, but keep them going in the direction they are headed.

Here is a picture I took about 3 years ago of a female spotted salamander on Gould Pond Road in Henniker...

Good luck!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Today we had a homeschool program called "The Big Thaw" - first we hung up nest boxes for the birds soon returning from the south. Then we went down for a little exploration of the pond. The ice is almost gone and the kids found all kinds of critters including very young damselfly nymphs, waterboatmen, water spiders, AND to our great delight, two adult Eastern Spotted Newts!

We haven't heard any peepers or woodfrogs yet, but are sure to soon. It is supposed to be warm and rainy this week, so we are hoping for an amphibian migration. Try going out with a flashlight in the dark (after 8:00pm) if it is raining and the temperature is over 40 degrees - you may be lucky enough to see spotted salamanders!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sugaring season is here!

We have had warm days and cool nights lately and the sap is running! Please join us for one of our Maple Sugar Madness programs on Saturdays and Sundays in March from 10:00-12:00 or 1:00-3:00. Visitors will learn how to identify a sugar maple tree, drill into and tap a tree, taste some sap, watch the boiling process and sample the finished syrup! The cost is $8 (members of NHA) or $10 (non-members) or a family rate of $24 (members) and $30 (non-members). Plan to bring snowshoes if you have them, or you can borrow some of ours. Please call us at (603) 366-5695 to reserve your place in one of the programs!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Interesting frost

This morning we had a school group for a morning sugaring program. Walking down to the sugar house we noticed quite beautiful three-dimensional frost on the small trees, shrubs and weeds along the edge of the field. By the time we came back up an hour later, it was gone.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Snowy Day

After several weeks with no new snowfall, we finally had some last night - about 6 inches. It is a heavy wet snow (perfect for snowmen!) that is already starting to melt.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two opossums!

Yesterday afternoon we saw an opossum again - this time headed down the hill below the Pardoe building walking on the well-worn snowshoe trail towards the barn. We had to get some things from the barn for our upcoming February WildQuest camp anyway, so we went down and watched the opossum for a bit, too. He/she came into the barnyard and sat for a long time outside one of the fences, focused rather intently on the Garden Shed. After a minute or two, a second opossum appeared! It came out from under the Garden Shed and wandered about, then went back under, joined soon thereafter by the first opossum. Perhaps we will have opossum babies in the near future?

Here is a picture of Opossum #1 while it was waiting outside the fence:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


We have been seeing opossum tracks all over the place and today we looked out and saw him right around the corner of the Pardoe building!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Cooper's Hawk

We went out this afternoon to check out the Sugar House and make a list of what needs to be done before our sugaring programs start. Then we headed toward the pond and found coyote tracks and fisher tracks near an area where it looks like an animal cached something on top of a rock outcropping. On the way back up toward the farm we came across a leg from The Deer and just as we passed that saw a large bird fly up from the ground to the limb of a big oak tree. We were able to get quite close and get some pictures and later identified it as a Cooper's hawk. The hawk had just killed a red squirrel and was eating it up in the tree. After we turned to continue on, we came to the kill site.

A great afternoon to be out - not a cloud in the sky!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Nature's Suet Feeder

Yesterday we went out to see what is going on with The Deer (see previous posts). We discovered that the deer is now completely skeletal and quite disarticulated. First we came upon a drag mark filled with hair, scat and urine markings, where predators had dragged it further down the hill from where it previously lay. Further down the hill we came across a section of the pelvis and backbone with a chickadee feeding on it:

Beyond that we found the skull with the jawbone separated from it. All over the place were bits of fur and fragments of rib bones (characteristic of coyotes feeding). We could see areas where the scavengers had probably taken a section of the deer, trotted a short distance away and lay down to eat it. We also discovered the frozen rumen (stomach contents) which are usually the least delectable and left for last. Amazing how much has happened in only three weeks, though if it wasn't so cold and frozen out there things probably would have happened even faster.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Parking Lot Tracking

We had a dusting of snow last night and there were so many good tracks in the driveway this morning! Here are a couple of pictures:

From top to bottom: A small bird, some sort of canine (looks too big to be a fox, possibly coyote?), crow.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pileated woodpecker!

This afternoon we observed a pileated woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) on a dead tree (cherry, I think) just south of the Pardoe building. This picture was taken from the back porch with a zoom lens.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Chickadee accident

This afternoon we heard a "thunk" on one of the big plate glass windows in the office. A chickadee had flown into the window and unfortunately, died.

We do have raptor sillhouettes taped to the windows to try to deter these little guys from flying towards the windows, but we do have feeders nearby and there has been a lot of traffic. Here is Bird Watcher's Digest list of the Top 10 Ways to Prevent Window Strikes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Deer update

Sometime during the night on Monday, the deer carcass was dragged downhill a ways from where we had been observing it. At this point is is nearly skeletal, though the head is mostly intact, as well as the large block of frozen innards, though this has been quite chewed on and scraped at.

There is a good deal of fur in the area, urine markings, coyote tracks, as well as an unusual pile of scat which Cathy suspects COULD be a bobcat:


This morning there was the distinct tapping sound of a woodpecker high in a tree very near the Pardoe building. Sure enough, after a few minutes a little downy woodpecker was spotted on the limb of a small oak. Actually it turned out that there were two on the same tree! Here is a picture of one of them:

Friday, January 23, 2009

Snowshoeing in Gilmanton

Prescott Farm has partnerships with Gilford, Gilmanton & Belmont Elementary schools to bring naturalists into the schools to work with students and teachers. PFAC Program Naturalist Sarah Dunham works with the Gilmanton School and spent this morning snowshoeing with 7th & 8th graders on the conservation land across the street from the school.

Deer prints were abundant, as well as mouse tracks. We also found four areas where deer had bedded down for the night. The area is also heavily browsed by deer (nibbled twigs and stripped bark).

Here is a picture of the kids on the trail, as well as a picture of one of the deer beds:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Winter "weeds"

The remnants of much of last summer's greenery, these dried plant stalks and seed heads are often overlooked, but really quite beautiful. Their seeds are also an important winter food source for many species of birds. Go outside and take a closer look -- you won't be disappointed!

These pictures were all taken near the edge of the parking lot at Prescott Farm.