The dog days of summer are supposed to wait until mid-August, but decided to come in July this year. Ouch! Having said that, the way the climate has been heating up in this decade, come August, the days could get even doggier.
There is a very pretty grove of green-leafed trees with bright red-brown flowers and developing fruit on the west end of Long Beach in Noyac, less than 75 feet from the lapping waters of Noyac Bay. On Monday I examined them and found them to be trees of heaven, Ailanthus altissima. I see scores of trees of this species every time I ride along one of the South Fork’s more populated highways. In places Noyac Road is overrun with them, but most of the flowers are much more green than red.
We are well into summer. It’s been warm, almost hot. The worst is yet to come. We’ve had just enough rain to make the oaks, hickories, maples, sassafras, and the rest of our native trees as lush as lush can be. I’ve been giving them all a 10 as I drive past and through them, which is unprecedented, but I may becoming dotty or too sentimental.
No two springs or summers are the same. June may continue the string of warmest months since records have been kept. It was also dryer than usual. Do high temperatures and droughts go hand in hand? There used to be a local guru I could call for answer that question, but Long Island’s most longstanding and celebrated weatherman, a farmer and resident of Bridgehampton, Richard Hendrickson, is no longer with us, having passed away earlier in the year.
Perhaps during no other time in the history of modern man have so many people from so many countries and territories been on the move to seek new lands in which to live. This is the age of emigration and immigration, born of choice, vocational opportunity, the need to survive, mostly the latter. But it’s not just humans that are on the move. With global warming becoming more and more of a reality, plants and animals of all kinds are extending the ranges, moving from one place to another.
On Wednesday an odd couple, mother and near neonate, sadly washed up on the Shagwong beach west of Montauk Point near the opening to Oyster Pond. No unidentifiable Montauk Monster this time, but rather two very identifiable pygmy sperm whales as per Victoria Bustamante’s photographs. Both were bloodied and, apparently, both had already been host to several turkey vultures hanging around that area.
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.