Recent Stories: Outdoors

Larry Penny
May 28, 2015
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, if you believe in evolution the answer is easy.

What is the world’s oldest profession, prostitution or usury? We don’t have historical evidence upon which to answer that question. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Well, if you believe in evolution the answer is easy. It was the egg.

Christopher Walsh
May 22, 2015
Approximately 3,600 acres of Shinnecock Bay were reopened on Friday after being closed for two weeks after saxitoxin was found. Warnings were issued the same day for potentially harmful blue-green algae in two Southampton ponds.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation reopened approximately 3,600 acres of shellfish lands in the Town of Southampton on Friday, two weeks after closing the area following the detection of saxitoxin, a marine biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Russell Drumm
May 21, 2015
I’m writing this heading back to saltwater from Buffalo and my first-ever visit to Niagara Falls. We crossed into Canada to view the three sections of Gahnawehta, as the Indians called them, to go aboard the vessel Hornblower — the equivalent of the Maid of the Mist from the United States side — to view the cascades from below.

I’m writing this heading back to saltwater from Buffalo and my first-ever visit to Niagara Falls. We crossed into Canada to view the three sections of Gahnawehta, as the Indians called them, to go aboard the vessel Hornblower — the equivalent of the Maid of the Mist from the United States side — to view the cascades from below.

Larry Penny
May 21, 2015
We just had a glorious weekend in which all the hardwoods, save for the white oaks, which always are the last to foliate, were festooned with fresh green leaves. Thus it was a perfect setting for the arrival of the New World warblers, which every year near the middle of May stop on Long Island to feed and rest after a long flight from their southern winter climes.

We just had a glorious weekend in which all the hardwoods, save for the white oaks, which always are the last to foliate, were festooned with fresh green leaves. Thus it was a perfect setting for the arrival of the New World warblers, which every year near the middle of May stop on Long Island to feed and rest after a long flight from their southern winter climes.

Joanne Pilgrim
May 21, 2015
The travels of more than 100 tagged sharks, including some captured off Montauk last year, are being tracked online.

As swimming season gets under way and East Hampton sees an influx of visitors eager to enjoy the beaches, one website to bookmark and click on often might be the one run by OCEARCH, a nonprofit research group that focuses on great white sharks and other species of top ocean predators. 

Russell Drumm
May 14, 2015
In May, the sea draws a gauzy shroud over the southerly half of Montauk just as a blanket of white blossoms eases winter’s final chill. It’s as though the light, ghostly fog whispers a wakeup to the shadblow, “You can come out now.”

In May, the sea draws a gauzy shroud over the southerly half of Montauk just as a blanket of white blossoms eases winter’s final chill. It’s as though the light, ghostly fog whispers a wakeup to the shadblow, “You can come out now.”

Larry Penny
May 14, 2015
It’s getting warm. We need some rain. The small rainwater ponds are drying up, the peepers are barely peeping, but the shads are blooming nicely and the dogwoods are out at the same time.

It’s getting warm. We need some rain. The small rainwater ponds are drying up, the peepers are barely peeping, but the shads are blooming nicely and the dogwoods are out at the same time.

Larry Penny
May 7, 2015
The weekend was a blaze of glory. The sun shone, the bay waters were mostly calm, the shads and sweet cherries began to bloom to the west, and the shads along Napeague and in Montauk were on the verge of busting out.

The weekend was a blaze of glory. The sun shone, the bay waters were mostly calm, the shads and sweet cherries began to bloom to the west, and the shads along Napeague and in Montauk were on the verge of busting out. Soon the oaks, hickories and sassafras will flower and leave. The red maples and Norway maples have been flowering for more than a week now.

Russell Drumm
May 6, 2015
I’ve been researching how waves are formed in order to create, and by July present, a narrated video explanation for visitors to the new Oceans Institute of the Montauk Lighthouse Museum. We hope to open the doors by the Fourth of July.

I’ve been researching how waves are formed in order to create, and by July present, a narrated video explanation for visitors to the new Oceans Institute of the Montauk Lighthouse Museum. We hope to open the doors by the Fourth of July.

Russell Drumm
April 29, 2015
Let’s face it, if skates, with their bat wings and rat tails, flew in the sky instead of along the bottom of the sea, we’d run inside like cave people fleeing pterodactyls and wait for them to pass.

Let’s face it, if skates, with their bat wings and rat tails, flew in the sky instead of along the bottom of the sea, we’d run inside like cave people fleeing pterodactyls and wait for them to pass.

Russell Drumm
April 29, 2015
Let’s face it, if skates, with their bat wings and rat tails, flew in the sky instead of along the bottom of the sea, we’d run inside like cave people fleeing pterodactyls and wait for them to pass.

Let’s face it, if skates, with their bat wings and rat tails, flew in the sky instead of along the bottom of the sea, we’d run inside like cave people fleeing pterodactyls and wait for them to pass.

Larry Penny
April 29, 2015
The current building boom has laid down a lot of big trees before they had a chance to leaf out, but it apparently hasn’t deterred the birds from returning from the south.

The current building boom has laid down a lot of big trees before they had a chance to leaf out, but it apparently hasn’t deterred the birds from returning from the south.

Russell Drumm
April 23, 2015
I walked east along the rocky beach from Ditch Plain into the Montauk moorlands on Friday. The day before I’d learned a new word, “brumous.” It describes a heavy mist, a good word for Friday, for this place and time of year.

I walked east along the rocky beach from Ditch Plain into the Montauk moorlands on Friday. The day before I’d learned a new word, “brumous.” It describes a heavy mist, a good word for Friday, for this place and time of year.

Russell Drumm
April 15, 2015

Consider the following as an open letter to Larry Penny, The Star’s longtime nature columnist, my good friend, and an indispensable member of the East End community.

Larry, I’m writing this to encourage you to read “H Is for Hawk,” a memoir by Helen Macdonald. Just came out. It’s a beautifully written meditation on one person’s relationship to the wild, and what “wild” means in our time.

Larry Penny
April 15, 2015
Environmental awareness is big here, as big as it is on eastern Long Island. Water, or the lack of it, is the major topic of the moment.

Here I am in San Francisco after a two-year hiatus. Things keep changing, but at the same time keep staying the same. The beautiful houses dating back to the 1920s in the hilly neighborhoods are in fine dander. The streets are clean. People walk and jog back and forth as much as they ride in motor vehicles. The sun comes out and disappears behind low-lying fog clouds just as you are beginning to warm up a bit.

Russell Drumm
April 8, 2015

This year we decided on lobsters for Easter dinner instead of lamb. It seemed the right thing after the hard winter, although I’m not sure why. More celebratory perhaps, or because Duryea’s has a great price on a package deal that includes lobsters, New England clam chowder, and either a bag of mussels or Little Necks. 

Larry Penny
April 8, 2015

We finally broke through to placid spring, but it was a rough one on us and a rough one on nature. Waterfowl and water birds took it on the nose and so did several fish. Greg Boeklin, the bald eagle watcher in Sagaponack, saw several dead fish at the top of Sagg Pond. He couldn’t tell the species; they were decomposing. They may have been alewives. In some years when the water from Jeremy’s Hole comes down in a gush by way of Solomon’s Creek, the alewives make it up to the little water body to reproduce.

Larry Penny
April 1, 2015

When the peepers start singing two things come to mind. There’s water in the vernal ponds and it’s warming up.

As of Monday the alewives are slow in coming but, nonetheless, many of the ospreys are back and ready to catch them as soon as they appear. On Sunday afternoon the spring peepers were peeping away in Big Reed Pond in Montauk. Evidently, they had just come up from hiding after a very long, cold, and snow-covered winter. Once they are up, they don’t retreat. They are mandated to sing and reproduce.

Russell Drumm
April 1, 2015

I’m embarrassed for my freezer. It’s pathetic, or it was. So much in and around the house that needs attention after the harsh winter just past. Where do I start? Then I opened the freezer compartment of the refrigerator and it screamed. 

A frozen wasteland. A scene from “Dr. Zhivago.” The coldest, most uncomfortable day of the winter, heavy clothes strewn about the house, wet boots, the rattle of the furnace, an old, leaky window — all of it was before me when I opened the freezer door, a diorama of the winter of 2015. I closed it.

Larry Penny
March 25, 2015

After two major retreats spring marches on. There is no turning back, or is there? In this millennium there have been several spring northeasters, and in March 2010 the East End got more than seven inches of rain in two close-together storms.

Russell Drumm
March 25, 2015

I’ve been working on a book. Slow going at first. But, as most writers will attest, once the narrative ball gets rolling, even if it seems at times to be rolling uphill, the work becomes an oasis of sorts, a place to repair to in your mind.

It’s a bit like having the ability to summon a dream, or a semi-obedient genie whose job it is to gather kindling to feed fantasy’s fire, or at least provide food for thought.

Larry Penny
March 18, 2015

The snow is melting away quickly, and the ice in the bays is disappearing almost as fast. Spring is three days away. Things are heating up. The black widow spider that lives between the panes of my south-facing window has made her end-of-winter debut. I’m sure she hasn’t eaten a thing since the end of summer, as she is the same size as when she retreated in the fall.

Russell Drumm
March 17, 2015

It’s 1820, the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Two sperm whales have been harpooned from the small boats launched from the whaler Essex out of Nantucket. A bull sperm whale does not like what’s going on. Enraged, it charges the Essex, ramming her bow twice. The ship fills with water, capsizes, and leaves her crew of 20 to head for the coast of South America a couple of thousand  miles away in three boats with nothing but a limited supply of hardtack and very little water. Half die en route, the others barely survive by cannibalizing their fellow whalemen.

Larry Penny
March 11, 2015

You might have seen Senator Charles Schumer on the news on Monday taking PSEG and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to task for allowing 95,000 or so penta-treated utility poles to be installed on Long Island. Penta, or pentachlorophenol, is not only very toxic if inhaled, touched, or ingested, it is also classified as a probable carcinogen. That is why it has already been banned for use by more than 26 countries and counting.