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Nature Notes: Winter Waterfowl

There is another Long Island bird count that follows on the heels of the annual longstanding Christmas count. It’s the winter waterfowl count that happens at about this time every year.

Feb 6, 2020
Nature Notes: Birds of a Feather

The theory of evolution is still intriguing. It is “survival of the fittest” in one sense, but not totally so. And it’s going on all around us today.

Jan 30, 2020
Nature Notes: Mass Extinction, or Not

Finally, world governments began to give a damn! Vanishing species had a friend. In the United States, the Fish and Wildlife Service led the way. You could no longer shoot hawks, eagles, and other birds that were not game species. Big fines became the rule of the day.

Jan 23, 2020
Nature Notes: Smart, Quick, Amusing

Squirrels are the closest thing to monkeys that I can think of in our area. Not only are they consummate climbers but they can also jump from branch to branch and tree to tree, using their furry tails as ailerons to guide them as they fly through the air.

Jan 16, 2020
Nature Notes: The Downdrift Beaches

The East End of Long Island came into being more than 10,000 years ago. Up until the present time the North and South Forks have been wearing away, first by the melting of the thick sheets of ice covering them — the South Fork first, then the North Fork as the glaciers melted away and retreated.

Jan 9, 2020
Nature Notes: Wake Up!

Southampton Town has more than 60 freshwater ponds. Most of these ponds are contaminated to this or that degree, but the most contaminated are given a label by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that speaks to their fragility.

Jan 1, 2020
Nature Notes: Birds Count Abound

All of the winter bird, or Christmas, counts will be completed by the last days of December. Locally, the Montauk Count, which took place on Saturday, is the longest running on the South Fork.

Dec 26, 2019
Nature Notes: View From Long Beach

Last Thursday we were visited by a full moon. It was mostly hidden by clouds, but just because the seas can’t see the moon dosen’t mean they don’t feel its tug.

Dec 19, 2019
Nature Notes: The Return of the Eagle

According to “Bull’s Birds of New York State,” until recently bald eagles had last nested in the Long Island area on Gardiner’s Island in 1936. They almost became extinct in the lower 48 shortly thereafter.

Dec 12, 2019
Nature Notes: Too Many Oysters?

I hope you all read last week’s letters to The Star. The one that stimulated me the most was the one from Brad Loewen. It brought to mind a recurring question I’ve had: We are spending a lot of money trying to make the estuary more productive, but is it working? Are all of these efforts to “save the bays” by seeding more and more oysters going to improve overall aquatic productivity? The late Stuart Vorpahl frequently reminded us that productivity can be cyclical. He was a keen observer of the ups and downs in population of this and that fishery. When fish or shellfish were wanting, he turned to welding — most of our local fishermen know more ways than one to make a living.

Dec 5, 2019
Nature Notes: Google It

I have to admit, without Google I’d be a mental dwarf. I don’t use Facebook, don’t Tweet, don’t follow any blogs. I don’t mind jettisoning 75 to 100 political and other emails that I receive; I feel good after I flush the trash and spam down the drain.

Nov 27, 2019
Nature Notes: Glacial Relics

While driving up the California coast on U.S. Route 1, particularly so from Morrow Bay on up to Monterey, Julie and I spotted several large coastal boulders, some white, some dark, some with birds, a few with sea lions, but almost all pyramid-shaped. We suspect that at least some of the whiteness was attributed to uric acid depositions from birds, or guano, as many of those white rocks had cormorants perched on them.

Nov 21, 2019