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  • We just had a glorious weekend in which all the hardwoods, save for the white oaks, which always are the last to foliate, were festooned with fresh green leaves. Thus it was a perfect setting for the arrival of the New World warblers, which every year near the middle of May stop on Long Island to feed and rest after a long flight from their southern winter climes.
  • It’s getting warm. We need some rain. The small rainwater ponds are drying up, the peepers are barely peeping, but the shads are blooming nicely and the dogwoods are out at the same time.
  • The weekend was a blaze of glory. The sun shone, the bay waters were mostly calm, the shads and sweet cherries began to bloom to the west, and the shads along Napeague and in Montauk were on the verge of busting out.
  • The current building boom has laid down a lot of big trees before they had a chance to leaf out, but it apparently hasn’t deterred the birds from returning from the south.
  • Environmental awareness is big here, as big as it is on eastern Long Island. Water, or the lack of it, is the major topic of the moment.
  • We finally broke through to placid spring, but it was a rough one on us and a rough one on nature. Waterfowl and water birds took it on the nose and so did several fish. Greg Boeklin, the bald eagle watcher in Sagaponack, saw several dead fish at the top of Sagg Pond. He couldn’t tell the species; they were decomposing. They may have been alewives. In some years when the water from Jeremy’s Hole comes down in a gush by way of Solomon’s Creek, the alewives make it up to the little water body to reproduce.

  • When the peepers start singing two things come to mind. There’s water in the vernal ponds and it’s warming up.

    As of Monday the alewives are slow in coming but, nonetheless, many of the ospreys are back and ready to catch them as soon as they appear. On Sunday afternoon the spring peepers were peeping away in Big Reed Pond in Montauk. Evidently, they had just come up from hiding after a very long, cold, and snow-covered winter. Once they are up, they don’t retreat. They are mandated to sing and reproduce.

  • After two major retreats spring marches on. There is no turning back, or is there? In this millennium there have been several spring northeasters, and in March 2010 the East End got more than seven inches of rain in two close-together storms.

  • The snow is melting away quickly, and the ice in the bays is disappearing almost as fast. Spring is three days away. Things are heating up. The black widow spider that lives between the panes of my south-facing window has made her end-of-winter debut. I’m sure she hasn’t eaten a thing since the end of summer, as she is the same size as when she retreated in the fall.

  • You might have seen Senator Charles Schumer on the news on Monday taking PSEG and the United States Environmental Protection Agency to task for allowing 95,000 or so penta-treated utility poles to be installed on Long Island. Penta, or pentachlorophenol, is not only very toxic if inhaled, touched, or ingested, it is also classified as a probable carcinogen. That is why it has already been banned for use by more than 26 countries and counting.