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  • In last week’s column, I wrote about the beginning of the local eastern bluebird season. Then I received Joe Giunta’s annual recap of the East Hampton Town area’s bluebird box yield for 2017. Joe and his volunteers have been checking out and maintaining the boxes at nine different East Hampton Town sites and two boxes on North Haven in Southampton Town for nearly 20 years.
  • March came in like a lion and a lioness. Now it’s time to get on with spring. Notwithstanding two major coastal storms, signs of spring have been filtering through the stormy air.
  • Yes, we are on the verge of yet another spring, another new year, another chance to set things right.
  • The leaves, except the very lowest, are off the local hardwood trees, most of which are oaks, with fewer hickories, beech, sassafras, and maples. As one drives along the back roads and looks up to either side, the globular bundles of dried leaves and twigs stand out. They’re mostly the size of soccer balls — we would have a hard time trying to fit inside — but they are the perfect size for gray squirrels, our most common mammal larger than a rat.
  • Last year there were reports of both ospreys and bald eagles flying or roosting in the vicinity of Kellis Pond, fishing but not reproducing. Greg Boeklen’s photo was the icing on the cake.
  • By the turn of the last century, we knew very little about the Arctic and an awful lot about the Antarctic. The Antarctic was sexy, the Arctic dull.
  • There are many ways of pairing up and raising young, among humans and in the natural world. Monogamy is found in all other vertebrates, but mostly in birds. We defend the foreigner mute swan from exile in part because it is monogamous, at least seasonally. The bald eagle, osprey, and a host of other avian species are also monogamous.
  • It’s Martin Luther King Day, Noyac Bay is refrozen, and it’s 29 degrees out, mostly gray. I’m inside, warm and cozy. Our individual histories are marked in different ways, storms, wars, frigid winters, hot summers, presidential elections and a variety of local events, births, graduations, weddings, promotions, firings, divorces, and deaths. Our most calamitous times on Long Island are the result of hurricanes and northeasters.
  • Now comes a new threat to our Atlantic coastal fishery in the form of huge steel monuments reaching up 600 feet and moored in the seabed. They are oil rigs and wind turbines.
  • Feeders and birdbaths took on a special significance in the last few days of 2017 when the temperature outside plummeted and never rose above the freezing mark — and there is little sign of its letting up as we look into the first few weeks of January.