Articles by this author:
- A weekend with near-80-degree temperatures and it seems like spring prematurely turning into summer. Alewives, or river herring, are running, ospreys are sitting on nests, hardwood trees are budding, and at Oakland Cemetery in Sag Harbor, trailing arbutus are flowering up a storm, according to Jean Held.
Walking is good for you. My doctors say that. Just about every doctor says that. There are three kinds of recreational walking: fast steady walking, group walking with a guide, and walking by yourself or with another while studying the ground, sky, trees, and maybe water.
It was, indeed, a very rough March. But April is here and things are starting to pop. One sign of spring is the number of male robins on the greening shoulders along roads. Why they hit these shoulders first before the lawns is a question that has been nagging me for years, but that’s the way it is. On Sunday afternoon along Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton there were several, all males, of course. Females usually return several days after the males.
In nature, being the first to set up camp – or come out of hibernation – in the spring has its advantages. "The early bird catches the worm" or, in the osprey's case, the fish, but it also comes with risks; small creatures that emerge or return too early can go hungry in a late-winter snowstorm.
From long before our kindergarten years, the one thing that we all know for certain is that there is life on Earth, and we are immersed in it. In fact, according to the latest findings by scientists examining four-billion-year-old rocks on the shores of Hudson Bay, spiral-tubular minuscule life forms, early bacteria, have been around that long or longer.
I was born in a house next to my grandfather’s chicken farm in Mattituck, across the bay. White leghorn chickens may have been the first bird species I opened my eyes to, the first bird species I came to know intimately. Before someone coined the term “free-range chickens” in the late 1900s, that’s what they were, free-range. They ran freely over the expanse of old fields and gardens surrounding my boyhood area, feeding and carrying on as chickens left to their own devices do. At night they either roosted on tree branches or in chicken coops on rails.