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Thirty-One Species, 10,000 Birds Tallied in Winter Waterfowl Count

On Saturday, teams of birders spread out across New York State to count freshwater ducks, saltwater ducks, and geese for the annual New York State Ornithological Association waterfowl count. Locally, from Shinnecock Inlet to Montauk Point, seven groups of birders faced winds and temperatures that were stubbornly in the mid-30s to peer into our ponds, bays, and coves. They located 31 species of waterfowl for a total of 10,451 birds. More than half that number, 5,303, were the familiar Canada goose.

Jan 19, 2023
On the Wing: Hear It or Not, It’s Watching

During this Christmas/New Year’s interlude, I offer a fun challenge: Take a walk in the woods at night. Try it. You may hear a great-horned owl, who, despite the cold, is starting its courtship ritual. Its classic hooting call — offered in the cadence of “Who is awake? Me too!” — can be heard for miles, the song of the blue winter night.

Dec 29, 2022
On the Wing: Christmas Bird Count Merry Indeed

Cold and wind greeted the 45 participants of the 93rd Montauk Christmas Bird Count on Saturday, but the rough conditions didn’t stop them from tallying 131 different species, the highest total for the count in the last 10 years.

Dec 22, 2022
On the Water: Last Trip of 2022?

To borrow a phrase from the game of baseball, the fishing season is now in the bottom of the ninth inning. Striped bass season concludes Dec. 15, blackfish season comes to an end seven days later, and Dec. 31 is the final day to retain black sea bass.

Dec 8, 2022
On the Wing: Turkeys, Turkeys, Everywhere

It’s hard to decouple the turkey from Thanksgiving, but long before we paired turkeys with mashed potatoes and stuffing and turned them into a national symbol, they were going about their business, hanging out in gangs, flipping leaves, and browsing the ground for nuts.

Nov 24, 2022
On the Water: The End Is Near

After a mixed bag of a season, I happily climbed aboard the Elizabeth II, a charter boat out of the Montauk Marine Basin, for a trip for cod and bass, both of which I latched into within minutes.

Nov 23, 2022
On the Water: A Return to Nomans

About 25 years ago, I recall jumping aboard the Viking Starship for the five-hour ride to Nomans (both the island and the area near Cuttyhunk) to target blackfish. Those trips were extremely popular, and one could retain 10 fish over 14 inches in length. Most of the time, the fishing was off-the-charts good.

Nov 17, 2022
On the Water: Searching for Scallops

The bay scallop season in waters under the East Hampton Town Trustees’ jurisdiction will open on Sunday at sunrise. Residents holding a town shellfish permit can continue to harvest them until sunset on March 31.

Nov 10, 2022
On the Water: Back on the Bones

Chris Miller at Westlake Marina in Montauk confirmed that the fishing has been good on several fronts. “The bass fishing is holding up,” he said. “Sea bass too have been cooperating, but many are focused on blackfish, which has been very good since the season opened two weeks ago.”

Nov 3, 2022
On the Water: Back Again for More

"The blackfish bite has been very solid," said Ken Morse at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor. "Lots of small fish, but many are still catching their limits." Surfcasters along the ocean beaches are finding action too.

Oct 27, 2022
On the Wing: The State of the Birds, Good and Bad

Bird populations have declined steeply over the last 50 years, but the North American Bird Conservation Initiative's "State of the Birds 2022" report, published in early October, balanced the gloom with some success stories and offered strategies for future action which would "bring birds back."

Oct 27, 2022
On the Water: Blackfish on the Hook

While the fishing for striped bass has been strong in Montauk, it was out of my reach, so I decided to take advantage of the sunny and windless conditions on Saturday morning for the opening of blackfish season in waters outside Long Island Sound.

Oct 20, 2022