Recent Stories: Outdoors

Larry Penny
April 9, 2014

    Reading last week’s East Hampton Star about the proposed 200 megawatt wind farm in the ocean 30 miles off Montauk I envision either a free energy Shangri-la or a 256-square-mile death trap for migratory seabirds, which have been plying the same sea lanes back and forth up and down for the last 20,000 years or more.

Russell Drumm
April 9, 2014

    What is it about old boats, wooden boats in particular? Why do they seem more worthy of respect than old cars, or even old houses? Boats that have lived at sea for years have a knowing character, a wisdom.

Larry Penny
April 2, 2014

    We had six inches of rain Saturday and Sunday in Sag Harbor, a downer for the weekend crowd, a blessing for the alewives, frogs, and salamanders. Ligonee Brook is a longstanding stream that runs intermittently down through the last century and more. Its course has changed more than once and it only runs from Long Pond to Ligonee Cove to Sag Harbor Cove once every five years. Nonetheless, it is an important conduit for alewives and eels.

Russell Drumm
April 2, 2014

    Time to wet a line. Tuesday, April Fool’s Day, marked the start of freshwater fishing — trout being the first species to become fair game. In the briny, the season for winter flounder also began on Monday. This year, both starts are iffy.

    Because of the extra cold winter, plus the fact that the State Department of Environmental Conservation does not stock trout in the Town of East Hampton, the joke is on Bonac’s trout anglers.

Russell Drumm
March 26, 2014

    From April 8 through 10, the Montauk Yacht Club will host a meeting of the Mid-Atlantic Marine Fishery Council, one of the nation’s eight bodies created in 1976 to oversee marine resources.

Larry Penny
March 26, 2014

    It’s been three quarters of a century since bald eagles — our national bird — nested on Long Island. Gardiner’s Island was the last to host a breeding pair in 1936. It wasn’t DDT that made the bald eagle give up the ghost on Long Island; there never were many nests here, after all, and hawks, eagles, and owls were commonly shot during colonial and post-colonial times.

Larry Penny
March 19, 2014

    As I write away midway through Sunday evening the outside temperature in Noyac has slowly crept down. It just fell a 10th of a degree below 35 degrees. I’m hoping that it never makes it to freezing. All the snow is gone and most of the fresh ponds have shed their icy coats. Should the weather hold for another three or four days and we get a touch of precipitation it might be just enough to start the great migration, not of birds — that’s already well in progress — but of amphibians and alewives.

Larry Penny
March 12, 2014

    Victoria and Nicholas Bustamante were walking Shadmoor Park on the ocean in Montauk on Saturday afternoon when a bat flew overhead. Nicholas threw up some pebbles and the bat made a pass at them. It looked red, Vicki said, and was a little bigger than a little brown bat, the most common bat on the East End during the summertime.

Russell Drumm
March 12, 2014

    When a tornado, or tsunami, comes from out of the blue, it rattles our collective nerves. But it’s also unsettling when what we expect of nature fails to occur.

Larry Penny
March 5, 2014

    Turkey vultures were back in town as of the Monday before last. Even more surprising was the sighting of individual ospreys over Sag Harbor by Ted Schiavoni and Jean Held three and two weeks ago, respectively. Ospreys used to nest in trees. Now almost all of Long Island’s ospreys nest on platforms situated on tall poles.

Russell Drumm
March 5, 2014

    During the winter months, the Montauk Post Office is like a watering hole in the Serengeti. Residents of all stripes approach cautiously for fear of crocodiles in the form of home-heating bills. Their junk mail becomes buffalo chips to feed the fire. They drink in gossip and news of the whereabouts of others not seen at the hole of late. They bay for summer, yet speak in fear of the herds that will descend on their place as the weather warms.

Larry Penny
February 26, 2014

    In the early 1980s there were only about seven active osprey nests on the South Fork. The osprey was still on the New York State’s endangered list. But there were even fewer eastern bluebirds on the South Fork and just a pair or two on the North Fork. The state correctly made a big hullabaloo about the sparse osprey population, but did very little to encourage the recovery of the bluebird, which, ironically, at that time had already had the distinction of being New York’s official bird for decades and decades.

Russell Drumm
February 26, 2014

    Walked out onto the rock reef in front of the trailer park again the other day at super low tide to visit the life in the pools — the little black snails called rosettes, calico crabs, the gardens of red and green weed. Every 20 feet or so, I’d find a surfcaster’s lure, still snagged since the last bass season on seaweed, or trapped in the cleft of a rock.

Russell Drumm
February 19, 2014

    At first, the sound made me bolt up out of a deep sleep and reach for something to defend the house against an intruder, but now, I simply roll over and reach again for the arms of Morpheus. It’s only a deer eating the ivy off the cedar shakes, and ivy’s not good for the shingles.

Larry Penny
February 19, 2014

    It’s been quite a winter thus far. Snowing every other day for most of February, all of the freshwater ponds frozen over solid, including Long Island’s second largest, Fort Pond in Montauk. If Lake Montauk hadn’t been opened permanently and jettied in the first half of the 20th century, it would be frozen over, too.

Russell Drumm
February 12, 2014

    Sunday was friendly. At four in the afternoon, the Viking Starship returned to Montauk Harbor after a long day on a calm sea — cold, but calm and mostly sunny. Capt. Carl Forsberg smiled down from the Starship’s wheelhouse at the 80 booted, knit-hatted, and well-bundled anglers departing with coolers stocked with cod fillets. They had the look of a day well spent.

Larry Penny
February 5, 2014

    “The seas will turn red,” it prophesizes in the Bible, having to do with the anticipated Armageddon. The seas are turning red, not with blood, but with red tide phytoplankton. They’re also turning brown, purple, all of the colors in the spectrum except green for the same reason. And it all has to do with more and more nitrogen products entering the seawater with each passing day. Seven billion-plus humans, more than half of whom live only a few miles from any one of the four world oceans, produce an awful lot of nitrogen compounds as waste products.

Russell Drumm
February 4, 2014

    Real life is seldom far removed from its cartoon version. The current plague of tattoos suggests the distance is shrinking.

    Elmer Fudd came to mind the other day.

Russell Drumm
January 29, 2014

    On Feb. 8, the Atlantic City Boat Show will present a series of seminars on striped bass fishing. Greg Myerson will be there with the plastic mount of the striper he caught in August 2011 off the coast of Connecticut. At 81.88 pounds, and angled according to the rules of the International Game Fish Association, Myerson’s lunker bass was, and remains, the world-record catch.

Larry Penny
January 29, 2014

    This story begins at the East Hampton Town Airport, circa 2000, while I was serving as the town’s natural resources director. The town had received a grant to construct a fence around the airport at no small cost to keep deer off the runways. A deer vs. plane collision spurred the town to take steps to prevent similar accidents in the future. The contractor put up a wonderful fence. Only one problem, the deer could walk down the road from either the north or the south and enter the airport at their leisure the way vehicles and people do.

Russell Drumm
January 22, 2014

    I suffer from multibibliophrenia, an often debilitating condition caused by reading several books at one time. I can’t help being seduced by attractive cover art or rave review blurbs even though I know I’ll be cheating on the book I’ve already opened and committed myself to.

Larry Penny
January 22, 2014

    Last Saturday, as a part-time participant in the New York State Waterfowl Count for the first time in years, I accompanied the Rubinstein sisters, Vicki Bustamante, and 12-year-old Hannah Mirando from Montauk. Readers may remember that Hannah also was a key observer in the 100-plus-year-old Montauk Christmas Bird Count held on Dec. 14 of last year.

Russell Drumm
January 15, 2014