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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
Nature Notes: Banner Year for Bluebirds

The bluebird has rebounded in East Hampton remarkably since 1985, when local groups and individuals began to work together to bring it back.

Nov 14, 2019
Nature Notes: My Vote's for Solar

In 2018 the California Building Codes Commission approved a first-of-its-kind state law that requires almost all new houses to be solarized beginning Jan. 1, 2020. The building trades group says this will increase the cost of building a new home by $10,000. On the other hand, it will almost eliminate the expenditure of a considerable amount of money each year to electrically power a house through the burning of fossil fuels.

Nov 5, 2019
Nature Notes: California Ablaze

California is afire. I’m writing this in one of the few safe spots, but for how long? In the foothills of the Sierra Nevada the statuesque ponderosa pines are browning off, and a single spark will light up the outside in an instant.

Oct 31, 2019
Nature Notes: Impaired Ponds

Impairment means the water body is high in nutrients (nitrogen compounds and phosphates, for example), algae-ridden, high in intestinal bacteria such as enterococcus and coliform bacterium, or unsafe to swim in.

Aug 8, 2019