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Articles by this author:

  • How much wood could a groundhog chuck if a groundhog could chuck wood? It’s not quite as much of a tongue twister when you substitute another name for the species.
  • We don’t think of trees as flowering plants, but they are. Oak flowers are just past peaking. The male flowers, called catkins, have shed most of their pollen and are dropping shriveled and brown en masse.
  • After achieving a historic low in the 1960s, owing to wide use of DDT and other pesticides, the Long Island osprey populations have bounced back and are still rising. But the increasing number of cormorants and seals in our waters since the 1990s is nettling their comeback, and now there is a third competitor on the scene to contend with — one most of us are happy for: our national bird.
  • Spring is moving right along in good stead. A car ride through the local roads gives one an up-to-date reading of its progress. Today, for example, during a back-and-forth, up-and-down trip through the back roads of Northwest Woods, the signs of advancing spring were readily apparent.
  • Following the end of World War II there was a big building boom across the country as our servicemen came back from the European and Pacific theaters to resume the American way of life that they missed during four years of nonstop fighting against the Germans and Japanese.
  • Virginia Frati, who lives up the street from me, across from the Morton Wildlife Refuge, has been looking after injured and sick mammals, birds, turtles, frogs, and even snakes for 20 years.
  • Global warming, rising seas, epidemic opioid use, earthquakes from oil drilling, blue-green algae, Zika virus, Ebola, Lyme disease, tidal waves, tornados, radiation leaks, autism, building collapses, drought, famine, pesticide poisonings, graft and corruption, suicide bombers, ISIS, the Taliban, and a passel of other afflictions have hit mankind in the new century with no letup in sight.
  • If you paid attention to the news in February and March, you may know about the resurgence, at least locally, of one of the rarest of whales, the North Atlantic right whale, in New England coastal waters.
  • Some people say that we on the South Fork are going to hell in a handbasket. We look across the Peconics and see mostly green fields of grapes, vegetables, and other produce. Here most of the farmland is up for grabs, but thankfully that wonderful organization, the Peconic Land Trust, is out there grabbing. It is not only keeping viable farmland in production, it is revitalizing farm plots that have long stood dormant and recruiting young farmers, mostly the sons and daughters of old farmers, to make the land fertile once more. In a way, it’s the same way with fishermen.
  • Hermaphrodites are animals, mostly invertebrates, that can reproduce sexually without performing the act of sex. Each individual is capable of producing both eggs and sperm. The obvious advantage is that a single individual can give rise to an entire population. The disadvantage is that all the offspring are clones; the advantages of crossbreeding different genotypes, which often produces stronger individuals and new forms, are lost.