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  • Every once in a while a bird shows up that takes the South Fork by storm. In the past, it’s been eagles, snowy owls, pelicans, Lapland longspurs, Ross’s gulls, puffins, painted buntings, and scissor-tail flycatchers, to name but a few. Birdwatchers come from all over the United States, even from as far west as California, to see some of those rare birds.
  • We are solidly into winter. My yard is covered with 11 inches of snow thanks to the back-to-back snowstorms of last week. Noyac Bay, 100 feet to the north, is beginning to freeze over, and it will, there being not a wisp of a breeze for several hours now.
  • The New Year is upon us. It may have been the warmest since weathermen and weatherwomen have been keeping records. New Year’s Eve was the day of the Orient bird count. As per usual, my group did East Hampton’s Northwest Woods, from Cedar Point Park to Barcelona Neck. It was partly overcast and a bit windy. There was a very thin layer of ice on rain puddles and pond surfaces here and there, but none of the tidal waters were frozen.
  • This the last weekly column of the year 2016, and I decided to write a little bit about my peculiar daily data-taking habits, which may come to an end one day soon. After Saturday I will begin saving a few trees and a little time.
  • You may remember the R & B group Earth, Wind, and Fire. The name contains two of the classic Greek primary elements, but leaves out the third, water. In fact in googling pop music groups over the past 60 years, I can’t find any containing the word water. Yet, the more we know the more we learn — and most often after the fact — how important water is to the Earth and life. Some of the 10 to 20 million species recorded thus far in the world can survive without air; none can survive without water.
  • Napeague was once famous for its bunker factory, the Smith Meal Company. Local fishermen purse-seined up menhaden by the ton and unloaded them at that menhaden reduction plant where they were turned into fishmeal.
  • Hook Pond has a hook in it, from top to bottom, from east to west. It could have just as easily been called boot pond or sock pond, but its shape is more like a leaning S. The name Hook Pond is at least 176 years old because that’s how it appears on a United States Coastal Survey map of 1838 showing most of East Hampton Village.
  • In the last 10 years, bald eagles have become regulars on Long Island. At least four different pairs have built and tended four different nests and raised four sets of eaglets annually.
  • Of the 15 coastal ponds situated behind the Atlantic Ocean between the hamlet of Amagansett and the eastern terminus of Shinnecock Bay, Georgica Pond in East Hampton is the second largest after Mecox Bay.
  • Having worked as the environmental protection and natural resources director for East Hampton Town for a long time, every so often I ride through the roads to see how the town and its village and hamlets are faring. Naturally, I check out past carnages to see if there have been any redemptions of sorts and, happily, in most cases there have been.