The Lamprey River and its surrounding area are predominantly forested and undeveloped. As such, the river still meets many of the requirements of animals that have disappeared from many other, more developed areas. The presence of these animals was a key factor in the river’s nomination to the National Park Service’s Wild and Scenic Rivers program. As the Lamprey’s human population continues to grow and more land is developed, threatened species will need to be monitored closely to make sure they continue to be a presence. Anyone who sees any of the species listed here is asked to contact the NH Dept. of Fish and Game and the Lamprey Rivers Advisory Committee.
The species described below are listed with the NH Dept. of Fish and Game and have been documented in and along the Lamprey River.
Bald eagles are among the largest raptors in NH. They stand 3 feet tall and have a wing span of 6-8 feet. Young eagles are dark brown with varying amounts of white or buff depending on their age. The young have brown eyes, a black beak, and yellow feet. Adult markings do not appear until the bird is 4 years old. The head and tail turn white, with the rest of the body plumage ranging from dark brown to black. The eyes become pale yellow and the beak and feet turn bright yellow.
photo by www.pbs.org
They can often be seen during migrations and during winter, when they hunt on Great Bay. Bald eagles are opportunistic feeders, sometimes hunting fish or water birds, but also taking advantage of the carcasses of large animals, such as deer. If an eagle is regularly observed roosting, landowners should report the bird to the NH Dept. of Environmental Services and minimize activity or physical disturbance around the tree. Bald eagles are listed as endangered in New Hampshire and threatened in the United States. This species is recovering from effects from widespread use of pesticides in the past.
Banded sunfish grow to about 2 inches in length. They are at the northern edge of their range in New Hampshire and their distribution overlaps with some of the most rapidly developing parts of the state. Their dependence on aquatic vegetation in shallow water makes these fish vulnerable to the effects of shoreline development. This fish is listed as a species of concern in New Hampshire.
photo by New Hampshire Fish and Game
Black racers are slender, non-poisonous, glossy black snakes that can grow to 36-60 inches. The chin and throat are white. The tail tapers to a fine point. They are found in a variety of habitats in southern New Hampshire: dry brushy fields, powerline corridors, rocky ledges, and woodlands. They wander widely across their large home ranges. They are listed as threatened in New Hampshire. The threats they face are habitat destruction due to human development, road encounters, and attacks by humans.
This 7-9 inch turtle has yellow speckles that often run together to form streaks on its shiny black shell. It is the only turtle with a yellow chin and throat.
photo by Jon Bromley
It has an extensive range and makes use of many habitats within its range. It uses wetland habitats with permanent shallow water and emergent vegetation such as marshes, swamps, bogs, and ponds. It visits vernal pools in the spring, feeding on amphibian eggs. It also uses slow rivers and streams to travel among wetlands. It uses dry, terrestrial habitats for nesting and also for travel among wetlands. This turtle does not reach breeding age until it is more than 10 years old. The Blanding’s turtle is listed as endangered in New Hampshire. Its greatest threats to survival are loss of habitat, collisions with vehicles, and suburban predators such as raccoons.
The NH State threatened bridle shiner is a small, short lived minnow. Once common in suitable habitat from Ontario to N.Carolina, bridle shiners have suffered significant declines over the last few decades. Their greatest threats are habitat related (water quality, shoreline development, and water level management, such as lake drawdowns). Even marginal reductions in aquatic vegetation might make bridle shiners more vulnerable to predators.
photo by NH Fish and Game
The brook floater is a small mussel that rarely exceeds 3” in length. It has a unique habit of “gaping” (relaxing its adductor muscles and opening its valves) when out of water, exposing the cantaloupe-colored foot and mantle cavity. The brook floater mussel is currently listed as an endangered species in New Hampshire and most New England states. It is losing habitat as greater loads of sediment and pollutants reach the river and as water temperatures rise.
photo by www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp
The peregrine falcon has a blue-gray back, barred white or buff coloring underneath, and a black mask and tear stripe on the head. Its wing span is approximately 3.5 feet. It lives on high cliffs, but also on tall buildings, and several individuals live in Manchester, NH. It usually hunts medium-sized birds, but it may also pursue small mammals and reptiles. It is a very fast flier, especially when it is diving in pursuit of prey. It is listed as threatened in New Hampshire. It is a species whose numbers are slowly recovering from the effects of wide-spread use of pesticides in the past.
photo by www.ct.gov
The pied-billed grebe has a white, stubby bill with a dark ring, most visible during breeding season. Its body is mostly brown with a white rump. It ranges from 9 to 15 inches in length and has a wingspan of 16 to 24 inches. It has a small, stocky body, a long neck, and a rounded head.
photo by images.fws.gov
This species inhabits a range of wetlands, especially those with dense stands of emergent and submerged vegetation. It needs open water for foraging and take-off prior to flight. The nests are located in vegetation just above the surface of water, often in the impoundments of beaver or man-made dams. If water levels rise or fall significantly during the nesting season, the nests can fail due to flooding or stranding. In addition, the loss and degradation of wetlands in most of New England make the species particularly vulnerable to decline. The pied-billed grebe is listed as endangered in New Hampshire.
Redfin pickerel are the smallest of the pikes, attaining a maximum length of about 12 inches. They are native to the Atlantic coastal plain and reach their northern extent in New Hampshire. Although redfin pickerel are relatively common in southern New England, in New Hampshire they are limited to the southeast where aquatic habitats are rapidly becoming degraded due to increasing development pressure. They are listed as a NH species of concern.
The sedge wren is a small, brown songbird with dark brown vertical streaking starting at the head and running down the back. It has a pale eye stripe running from its bill and across its eyes. The wings, rump, and tail are brown with dark horizontal bars. The breast is pale with buff colored margins. The bill is short, thin, and curved slightly downward. This species uses high sedges or slender grasses found in fresh water and salt water marshes and pond edges. It also prefers to have shrub cover available. The sedge wren is at the edge of its range in New Hampshire and has never been common here. This bird species has experienced a severe decline in population throughout much of the Northeast, largely due to the extensive draining and filling of wetlands, ditching of salt marshes, and the resultant spread of common reed, Phragmites australis, a non-native, very tall and dense grass that is of little value to native wildlife. The sedge wren is listed as endangered in New Hampshire and much of New England.
The spotted turtle is a small, 3-5 inch turtle recognized by numerous yellow spots covering its dark shell, head, and limbs. It lives in wetlands with shallow, permanent water and emergent vegetation. It also makes use of vernal pools and slow-moving streams. It lays its eggs in drier, upland habitat and travels through the upland to migrate among wetland habitats. It does not reach breeding age until it is 14-15 years old. The spotted turtle is listed as threatened in New Hampshire. Its greatest threats to survival are loss of habitat, collisions with vehicles, and suburban predators such as raccoons and skunks.
The timber rattler is a black snake that can reach 36-60 inches in length. It has keels on its scales, giving it a rough appearance. Its head is triangular and it has a distinct rattle at the end of its tail. It prefers habitat that includes south-facing, rocky hillsides in forested areas. The timber rattlesnake is listed as critically imperiled in New Hampshire. Its greatest threats come from loss of habitat, encounters with motor vehicles, and illegal attacks by people.
The 5-8" wood turtle has a sculpted shell and bright orange skin at the neck and shoulder. Despite the name, the habitat of this turtle varies from flood plain to old fields. It wanders widely across the landscape and does not reach sexual maturity until it attains an age of about 15 years. It is listed as vulnerable to exirpation and extinction in New Hampshire. Its greatest threats come from habitat loss, collisions with vehicles, and increased predation by suburban predators such as raccoons and skunks.