Recent Stories: Outdoors

Larry Penny
March 16, 2017
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.

As I write this, a big storm is on the way, maybe the biggest since the 1888 blizzard that killed more than 400 people in the greater metropolitan-Long Island area. Blizzards, hurricanes, northeasters, tropical cyclones, and record rainfalls are just a few of the “acts of God” that are responsible for culling species, diminishing their numbers.

Larry Penny
March 9, 2017
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.

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.

Larry Penny
March 2, 2017
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.

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.

Larry Penny
February 23, 2017
One would think that with this mild weather and melting snow the area would come alive with all sorts of wildlife that, except for the gray squirrels, has largely been in hiding.

One would think that with this mild weather and melting snow the area would come alive with all sorts of wildlife that, except for the gray squirrels, has largely been in hiding. 

Larry Penny
February 16, 2017
Here’s where we get our electric energy from: hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), subterranean heat sources, the sun, wind, and hydrogen.

Here’s where we get our electric energy from: hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), subterranean heat sources, the sun, wind, and hydrogen. 

Larry Penny
February 9, 2017
You’re spinning, I’m spinning, we’re all spinning. Everything is in motion. If you are standing in an island in an ocean transected by the Equator, you are moving easterly at more than 1,000 miles per hour. You just don’t feel it or notice it because the island, the water surrounding it, and everything on it are moving at the same speed. If you are standing upright and motionless on one of the poles, north or south, you are near stationary, except that you turn completely around once every 24 hours. From infancy to old age, you and I, assuming that we have been in the same neighborhood all of these years, have been moving easterly at almost the same speed, but not exactly.

You’re spinning, I’m spinning, we’re all spinning. Everything is in motion. If you are standing in an island in an ocean transected by the Equator, you are moving easterly at more than 1,000 miles per hour. You just don’t feel it or notice it because the island, the water surrounding it, and everything on it are moving at the same speed.

Larry Penny
February 2, 2017
When I dropped out of Cornell University for the second time in 1957 I was about to be drafted. We were not at war then, having settled the Korean police action some four years earlier, but, nevertheless, I didn’t think I was cut out for the infantry so I enlisted. I wanted to go into intelligence so I took my chances on getting into the United States Army Language School in Monterey, Calif. I landed a slot — the last available — in Russian. I thought I would be sent to Europe at the end of the course, but instead I boarded a troop ship in San Francisco, sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed for Japan.

When I dropped out of Cornell University for the second time in 1957 I was about to be drafted. We were not at war then, having settled the Korean police action some four years earlier, but, nevertheless, I didn’t think I was cut out for the infantry so I enlisted.

Larry Penny
January 26, 2017
I frequently ask myself why there are so many artists plying their trade on the East End of Long Island. Yes, it’s close to the museums and major galleries in New York, but I think the main reason they are here is the setting. In other words they find the pastoral spaces, ocean and bays, bluffs and woodlands both provocative and attractive. And others I have queried said this area’s most important attribute is its ambient light.

I frequently ask myself why there are so many artists plying their trade on the East End of Long Island. Yes, it’s close to the museums and major galleries in New York, but I think the main reason they are here is the setting. In other words they find the pastoral spaces, ocean and bays, bluffs and woodlands both provocative and attractive.

Larry Penny
January 19, 2017
Every once in a while a bird shows up that takes the South Fork by storm. In the past, it’s been eagles, snowy owls, pelicans, Lapland longspurs, Ross’s gulls, puffins, painted buntings, and scissor-tail flycatchers, to name but a few. Birdwatchers come from all over the United States, even from as far west as California, to see some of those rare birds.

Every once in a while a bird shows up that takes the South Fork by storm. In the past, it’s been eagles, snowy owls, pelicans, Lapland longspurs, Ross’s gulls, puffins, painted buntings, and scissor-tail flycatchers, to name but a few.

Larry Penny
January 12, 2017
We are solidly into winter. My yard is covered with 11 inches of snow thanks to the back-to-back snowstorms of last week. Noyac Bay, 100 feet to the north, is beginning to freeze over, and it will, there being not a wisp of a breeze for several hours now.

We are solidly into winter. My yard is covered with 11 inches of snow thanks to the back-to-back snowstorms of last week. Noyac Bay, 100 feet to the north, is beginning to freeze over, and it will, there being not a wisp of a breeze for several hours now. 

Larry Penny
January 5, 2017
The New Year is upon us. It may have been the warmest since weathermen and weatherwomen have been keeping records. New Year’s Eve was the day of the Orient bird count. As per usual, my group did East Hampton’s Northwest Woods, from Cedar Point Park to Barcelona Neck. It was partly overcast and a bit windy. There was a very thin layer of ice on rain puddles and pond surfaces here and there, but none of the tidal waters were frozen.

The New Year is upon us. It may have been the warmest since weathermen and weatherwomen have been keeping records. New Year’s Eve was the day of the Orient bird count. As per usual, my group did East Hampton’s Northwest Woods, from Cedar Point Park to Barcelona Neck. It was partly overcast and a bit windy.

Larry Penny
December 29, 2016
This the last weekly column of the year 2016, and I decided to write a little bit about my peculiar daily data-taking habits, which may come to an end one day soon. After Saturday I will begin saving a few trees and a little time.

This the last weekly column of the year 2016, and I decided to write a little bit about my peculiar daily data-taking habits, which may come to an end one day soon. After Saturday I will begin saving a few trees and a little time. After all, there may be so little left. I will no longer be receiving and clipping The New York Times and Newsday daily; I will be reading them online.

Larry Penny
December 22, 2016
You may remember the R & B group Earth, Wind, and Fire. The name contains two of the classic Greek primary elements, but leaves out the third, water. In fact in googling pop music groups over the past 60 years, I can’t find any containing the word water. Yet, the more we know the more we learn — and most often after the fact — how important water is to the Earth and life. Some of the 10 to 20 million species recorded thus far in the world can survive without air; none can survive without water.

You may remember the R & B group Earth, Wind, and Fire. The name contains two of the classic Greek primary elements, but leaves out the third, water. In fact in googling pop music groups over the past 60 years, I can’t find any containing the word water. Yet, the more we know the more we learn — and most often after the fact — how important water is to the Earth and life.

Larry Penny
December 15, 2016
Napeague was once famous for its bunker factory, the Smith Meal Company. Local fishermen purse-seined up menhaden by the ton and unloaded them at that menhaden reduction plant where they were turned into fishmeal.

Napeague was once famous for its bunker factory, the Smith Meal Company. Local fishermen purse-seined up menhaden by the ton and unloaded them at that menhaden reduction plant where they were turned into fishmeal.

Larry Penny
December 8, 2016
Hook Pond has a hook in it, from top to bottom, from east to west. It could have just as easily been called boot pond or sock pond, but its shape is more like a leaning S. The name Hook Pond is at least 176 years old because that’s how it appears on a United States Coastal Survey map of 1838 showing most of East Hampton Village.

Hook Pond has a hook in it, from top to bottom, from east to west. It could have just as easily been called boot pond or sock pond, but its shape is more like a leaning S. The name Hook Pond is at least 176 years old because that’s how it appears on a United States Coastal Survey map of 1838 showing most of East Hampton Village.

Larry Penny
December 1, 2016
In the last 10 years, bald eagles have become regulars on Long Island. At least four different pairs have built and tended four different nests and raised four sets of eaglets annually.

A few days ago two photos of a large brown raptor taken in Montauk by Debbie Kuntz popped up on my smartphone. The bird had a fierce look, and its wingtip feathers were spread in flight the way an eagle’s primaries can be. Debbie thought bald eagle, and she was right. In fact, it was an immature bald eagle, and one missing a toe.

Larry Penny
November 23, 2016
Of the 15 coastal ponds situated behind the Atlantic Ocean between the hamlet of Amagansett and the eastern terminus of Shinnecock Bay, Georgica Pond in East Hampton is the second largest after Mecox Bay.

 Of the 15 coastal ponds situated behind the Atlantic Ocean between the hamlet of Amagansett and the eastern terminus of Shinnecock Bay, Georgica Pond in East Hampton is the second largest after Mecox Bay. Before the 1938 hurricane, Shinnecock Bay was the largest coastal pond on the South Fork.

David Kuperschmid
November 23, 2016
Leaves are falling to the ground, there is a bite to the early morning air, the sky is dark before quitting time, and now there’s snow on the roof of my car. At least for me, the 2016 fishing season is over.

Leaves are falling to the ground, there is a bite to the early morning air, the sky is dark before quitting time, and now there’s snow on the roof of my car. At least for me, the 2016 fishing season is over.

The season began on April 1 with flounder, and the results once again were dismal. Something radical has to be done to save this important local fishery. 

Larry Penny
November 17, 2016
Having worked as the environmental protection and natural resources director for East Hampton Town for a long time, every so often I ride through the roads to see how the town and its village and hamlets are faring. Naturally, I check out past carnages to see if there have been any redemptions of sorts and, happily, in most cases there have been.

Having worked as the environmental protection and natural resources director for East Hampton Town for a long time, every so often I ride through the roads to see how the town and its village and hamlets are faring. Naturally, I check out past carnages to see if there have been any redemptions of sorts and, happily, in most cases there have been. 

David Kuperschmid
November 17, 2016
I asked my son, Jon, if he wanted to go fishing with me. He demurred, claiming he had homework to do. Sure. I asked my daughter, Rebecca, if she wanted to go fishing with me. She replied, “Me on a boat? Unless I see a dead body it’s not interesting.” Someone has been watching way too much “Law and Order.” I beckoned my dogs Comet and Teddy to go fishing with me. They bolted out the back door. Clearly they are more doodle than Labra. So I grabbed a couple of spinning rods and headed over to my boat, solo.

I asked my son, Jon, if he wanted to go fishing with me. He demurred, claiming he had homework to do. Sure. I asked my daughter, Rebecca, if she wanted to go fishing with me. She replied, “Me on a boat? Unless I see a dead body it’s not interesting.” Someone has been watching way too much “Law and Order.” I beckoned my dogs Comet and Teddy to go fishing with me.

Taylor K. Vecsey
November 14, 2016
Tens of thousands of menhaden, known as bunker, died in the Shinnecock Canal on Monday, and a cleanup effort is underway.

Tens of thousands of menhaden, also known as bunker, died in the Shinnecock Canal on Monday, and a cleanup effort is underway.

Larry Penny
November 10, 2016
Yesterday, while I was motoring along the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, a rafter of turkeys crossed in front of me. Later on, at Sagg Pond, I flushed a gaggle of geese. On my way back home after checking out the ocean, a murder of crows flew over on their way to their evening roost in the trees of Barcelona while a herd of deer began congregating in the fields north and south of Stephen Hand’s Path. Then it got dark and wildlife activity subsided.

Yesterday, while I was motoring along the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, a rafter of turkeys crossed in front of me. Later on, at Sagg Pond, I flushed a gaggle of geese.

David Kuperschmid
November 9, 2016
My plan was to take advantage of the warm day with light southwest winds and head toward Montauk Point, where striped bass were attacking bait on the surface, according to reports. I had been looking forward to a day of casting at bass blitzes for weeks if not months. But an unexpected late start forced me to reconsider the value of making the 16-mile trip from my dock in Three Mile Harbor.

My plan was to take advantage of the warm day with light southwest winds and head toward Montauk Point, where striped bass were attacking bait on the surface, according to reports. I had been looking forward to a day of casting at bass blitzes for weeks if not months.

Larry Penny
November 3, 2016
As we go deeply into the autumn and the leaves fall at an ever-quickening pace, thoughts of the next spring gird us for the coming winter. We hope it will be as wonderful as the last and that the flowers and leaves will burst out with a vengeance, having slept long and deep through the cold and snow of winter.

As we go deeply into the autumn and the leaves fall at an ever-quickening pace, thoughts of the next spring gird us for the coming winter. We hope it will be as wonderful as the last and that the flowers and leaves will burst out with a vengeance, having slept long and deep through the cold and snow of winter.