Outdoors

   The recent passing of the bayman Wayne Vorpahl at the age of 49 caused this observer to mourn the loss to the community of people whose lives and livelihoods depended on an understanding of nature’s rhythms.     ...
   The Sunday Newsday crossword puzzle requested a five-letter word for “swamp plant.” I’ve been doing all of the Newsday and New York Times crosswords, seven days a week, since the early 1980s. In other words, I’ve...
    “Moooooooooooo,” was what Brian Ritter heard when he answered the phone at 4 in the morning one week ago. He recognized the voice, and he needed no translation. It was Mike Coppola telling him he’d caught a big cow, a...
   “There’s a tree in the meadow with a stream drifting by.” Some of you may remember that song from the 1940s. It’s old, but the message is still good. The tree stands for constancy, the stream for the passage of...
    First, the birds in the trees greeted the sun with song and chatter. A woodpecker hammered away on an old catalpa tree pregnant with its orchid-like blossoms. Then came the low drone of boats leaving Montauk Harbor.
   In many respects, sound and hearing in nature are just as important as sight. In those species that are more nocturnal than diurnal, sounds and the ability to hear, and differentiate, them is crucial to their survival. Whether an animal...
   Of course, the big news is the 44.7-pound striped bass that the surfcaster Ben McCarron caught on Saturday under the Montauk Lighthouse on a bucktail. The big bass puts McCarron in first place in the Montauk SurfMasters spring...
   I heard my first whippoorwill in the woods behind my grandfather’s chicken farm in Mattituck at 3 years of age. Once you’ve heard this magical, three-syllable, eerie chant coming out of the dark of a warm summer evening you...
    Let’s talk about the smell of fish. It’s often scorned, but the objectionable redolence is usually the result of proteins gone bad, spoiled. The truth is, fish fresh out of the water smell sweet, fish in the water...