Recent Stories: Outdoors

Russell Drumm
July 23, 2014

It’s hard to describe. The sound was a rapid quacking like pleading ducks. No, it was more a staccato croaking, frogs imitating a motorcycle, frogs ululating, but it had to be a species of goose I’d never heard before passing by the sloop Leilani on her mooring as I lay on my bunk in the middle of the night that had fallen through Friday’s gloom.

Larry Penny
July 16, 2014

Naming has come a long way since the days of yore. Now it is used to immortalize individuals, mostly politicos, famous athletes, fallen war heroes, and firemen and police shot in the line of duty. It is also used to name new roads in new subdivisions before they exist and to rename existing roads, beaches, parks, libraries, bridges, museums and the like. There are so many things to name and rename it boggles the mind — so many names that there should be a department of naming.

Russell Drumm
July 16, 2014

Jason Behan said it was like that scene in “Jaws” when the residents of Amity go to sea after the killer shark in every manner of craft and with every sort of weapon imaginable. He wasn’t talking about the weekend’s shark tournament. He was describing the scene that has continued to unfold around Montauk Point in recent days with a growing fleet of fishing boats converging on a school of striped bass, the likes of which veteran anglers say they have never seen.

Larry Penny
July 9, 2014

It seems like we are halfway through summer, but in reality we’re less than a third through. The roads are already super-clogged with vehicles, many of which are spiffy and go from 0 to 60 in less than 10 seconds, which is all well and good if you are on the Autobahn, but on Old Northwest Road or Accabonac Highway it’s a bit much.

Russell Drumm
July 9, 2014

Most every experienced surfer knows how to rate the pucker factor in increments of fear, as happened early evening on the Fourth of July in Montauk. Dozens were caught off guard by a rapidly building swell and forced to “scratch for the horizon” — paddle seaward to escape a serious pounding. 

Bella Lewis
July 2, 2014

Beach-goers can go local with this all-in-one method of hitting the dunes and supporting South Fork entrepreneurs. Here are some pointers.

Skip the alcoholic beverages and replace them with some Miss Lady Root Beer, which uses certified organic ingredients and is brewed and bottled locally. Bottles are available from various spots, including Eli Zabar's Amagansett Farmers Market, the Springs and Montauk Farmers Markets, and Sag Town Coffee.

Bella Lewis
July 2, 2014

The Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation freed an 800-pound leatherback sea turtle on Sunday that had gotten entangled in a lobster trap line in the ocean about a mile offshore.    

Larry Penny
July 2, 2014

First, a short note to cheer you all for the 4th of July. On Monday I received a communiqué from Kara Jackson, who handles the news for the Nature Conservancy. She said the first eagles to breed on Mashomack, the Nature Conservancy’s pearl on Shelter Island, in more than a century are just about to fledge their chicks. They could easily be in the air on the 4th. Wouldn’t that be terrific?

Russell Drumm
July 2, 2014

“This year we have five satellite tags.” Carl Darenberg, owner of the Montauk Marine Basin, said casually on Monday, with every expectation that I would understand what he was saying. How strange. The “satellite-tag” sentence speaks to our time, late June 2014, and this place, Montauk. Imagine explaining its meaning to someone prior to Oct. 4, 1957, the day the Soviet Union put the first satellite into space.

Larry Penny
June 25, 2014

On the evening of June the 11 I drove 43 miles on the back roads in Southampton Town listening for the breeding calls of whippoorwills and chuck-will’s-widows. I’ve been living in Noyac for 35 years and discovered a paved road right down the block that I had never been on, Old Sag Harbor Road, which connects Brick Kiln with Millstone Road where the old Bridgehampton Racetrack was situated.

Russell Drumm
June 25, 2014

“There’s something going on in the ocean,” Chuck Weimar said as he strode along its shoreline on Sunday. Naturally, something always is, but to hear it from the veteran fisherman, captain of the Montauk dragger Rianda S, meant the “something” could be abnormal.

Russell Drumm
June 18, 2014

When pressed during an afternoon sail aboard the sloop Leilani on Monday, Dr. David Nelson allowed that before slipping into semiretirement two months ago he’d helped restore vision to 15,000 eyes, give or take, over the course of his 40-year career as an ophthalmic surgeon. What those eyes might have missed!

Earlier in the day, he’d peddled his bike from Montauk to East Hampton and back, then paddled out for a short surf session in shapely, waist-high waves at Ditch Plain not far from his house. The doctor complained of knee pain, and why not?

Larry Penny
June 18, 2014

We are on the verge of the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. For those living on the equator, it’s just another day. For those on the tiny island of Spitzbergen in the Arctic Ocean off the northernmost coast of Norway, there will only be day, no night.

Russell Drumm
June 11, 2014

Shark tournaments are upon us. The captain’s meeting and beer bash for the Star Island Yacht Club’s 28th annual will take place this evening — entry fee, $1,000 per boat. The chum will flow Friday and Saturday, and sharks will be hoisted up the gibbet to be ogled, weighed, and necropsied.

Somewhere around $30,000 in prize money will be dispensed during the awards ceremony Saturday night, not counting the pool of much larger side bets. God help us.

Larry Penny
June 11, 2014

The cosmos is expanding at an accelerated rate. There are thousands of meteorites ranging in size from a hardball to an aircraft carrier in crazy orbits and asymmetric paths in our solar system; small ones hit the earth annually. A big one like the one that smacked down in the center of Russia last year could hit somewhere in America within the next 10 years. The earth is pockmarked with craters from the strikes of asteroids and meteorites, as is the moon.

Larry Penny
June 4, 2014

My first 21 years were spent on the North Fork looking at this and that. While I specialized in birds, learned the mammals — there weren’t that many — I also knew the local frogs, turtles, newts. and fish, which I learned by catching them. I knew as many garden and farm plants as native plants, I knew that Japanese honeysuckle was not American, and I knew about a handful of other invasives. I knew blueberries, beach plums, black cherries, because I picked them and ate them. I knew poison ivy because it made you itch like the devil.

Russell Drumm
June 4, 2014

Life: The symphony of birds, thousands of them greeted the sun on Monday morning. Surfers, hundreds of them, awoke to paddle into a surprise east swell that arrived during the night with an offshore wind to sculpt near-perfect waves. Surfcasters greeted the news that big, very big striped bass were caught from the rocks in Montauk’s moorland coves during the night.

Russell Drumm
May 28, 2014

The instructions were straightforward: “Put ice, a Ziploc bag, and a 20 in the cooler. I’ll call you when he makes the drop.”

Like a beer-fueled, slam-bang game of Foosball at Liar’s Saloon, the fish deal was proof that a healthy undercurrent of local life continued to flow as the surface trickle of spring visitors swelled to a flood over the Memorial Day weekend. 

Larry Penny
May 28, 2014

Terry Sullivan is one fisherman who has been around. He fishes the ocean, bays, harbors, tidal creeks, ponds, and trout streams such as the Nissequogue. He’s caught just about every fish that will hit a lure or a fly from a shore at one of the above. He’s seen just about everything fishwise on Long Island, but last Thursday morning he was a bit flabbergasted to find a fish that he never caught here and, maybe, one that he never saw here.

Larry Penny
May 21, 2014

    The only butterfly I’ve seen to date is the cabbage white, the one long from Eurasia that lays its eggs on members of the cabbage family, to wit, garlic mustard, wild radish, and the like, also from Eurasia.

    Butterflies and moths are part of the second trophic food level; they feed on the first level, the “producers.” In fact most insects — grasshoppers, various ant species, bees and other nectiferous species, almost all beetles and almost all bugs — feed on plants.

Russell Drumm
May 20, 2014

    My wife, Kyle, is a sensitive person. She says this is why she adopts a hard exterior at times, a shell, like a turtle. I know this to be true. It’s also why she feels simpatico and keeps her eyes peeled for turtles making their equivalent of a mad dash across Montauk’s roads this time of year.

Larry Penny
May 14, 2014

    A very active week in birdland, indeed! Topping the list of May returnees were ruby-throated hummingbirds. The first to return to the South Fork, perhaps, were the four that showed up at the house of my Noyac neighbor Ellen Stahl on May 6. She called to tell me that they were back, she had her hummingbird feeders up, and they were flying in my direction every once in a while. She thought they might nest in my backyard.

Russell Drumm
May 14, 2014

    Driving down Bluff Road in Amagansett on the sunny morning of July 28, 1992, I looked up and watched an osprey flying landward with a small striped bass in its talons.

    I was en route to the protest of a new state law that banned the ocean seine as a means of catching striped bass. The regulation capped a decades-long effort on the part of powerful sportfishing interests, in cooperation with UpIsland politicians, to cripple the East End’s inshore commercial bass fishery.

Russell Drumm
May 7, 2014

    An infinity of tiny fish darted and gathered in the green glow of a submerged squid lamp on Monday night. The long tentacles of a pulsating jellyfish swept for food in the slow current. Time passed. Larger fish jetted through the small, lighted section of bay carved out of the night by the lamps. “Bunker,” a voice declared, breaking a long silence.

<