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  • On Monday afternoon I went down to the ocean beach and walked between Bridgehampton and Sagaponack. There was the usual bunch of beachgoers enjoying the sun, but what I was there for was to examine the wrack line left by recent high tides and storms, such as the tropical cyclone Chris that brushed our shore last weekend.
  • After one of the hottest, muggiest Fourths of July on record, we wondered what nature would serve up next. There was no relief the day after.
  • A new bird showed up in Montauk last week. It was a hummingbird, but not the one common in these parts, the ruby-throated hummingbird.
  • Terry Sullivan called last week from Sag Harbor to tell me that the prickly pear cactus was in bloom along Long Beach Road’s south side. He also mentioned that PSEG has been putting up new utility poles. I’m a stone’s throw away, so I motored over and took a look. Indeed, at least 10 new poles had been erected, each with strange-colored horizontal members on top to which the electrical transmission wires were fastened.
  • It’s turtle time. Female diamondback terrapins are coming ashore to lay eggs and female box turtles are walking into people’s yards to dig out a nest and lay their own. June is their month of choice; May is a close runner-up. If not disturbed or discovered by a raccoon, the eggs hatch at the end of August.
  • Eastern Long Island owes much of its natural history to the eastern deciduous forest, an ecological life zone that stretches from the grasslands of the Midwest to the Atlantic Coast, from northern Florida into southeastern Canada. Of course, there are huge differences from one part of this forest zone to the next, and from the southern part to the most northern part.
  • There are two Stony Hill Roads on the South Fork, one in Amagansett in East Hampton Town, the other in Noyac, in Southampton Town. How did they get their names? By chance? No! They got their names because of the presence of boulders left by the receding glacier more than 15,000 years ago.
  • In only 20 days, the daily photoperiod will start to wane. Perhaps that’s why almost all of nature is focused on reproducing. Osprey eggs are hatching. Crows are roaming the treetops looking for unguarded nestlings. On Saturday shortly after noon a screech owl up the block started singing his wavering whistle in full daylight. The first tropical storm hit the Florida panhandle on Memorial Day. Observers were quick to blame “global warming.” Hmmm. I wonder.
  • Last Thursday afternoon I had the good (bad?) fortune of being in Montauk. I had heard the talk about moving the downtown (to where, I wonder), putting in a sewage treatment plant (where would the outfall go, I wonder), ospreys coming back to nest, and the like.
  • Nature itself, left alone without human interference, is what you might call wondrously beautiful in all respects. Even natural death has its positive side. Nothing goes to waste; everything is recycled. Then, humans came along and began to spoil it. Try as we may to recycle, not everything — many plastics, for example — is recyclable. Let’s face it, we’ve made one humongous mess of things and we have very little time before the lights go out to make it right again.