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  • Humans are mammals. We Homo sapiens can carry on conversations in hundreds of different languages, keep legible diaries, write histories, sing, act, take tests, practice various vocations, go to schools and universities, indulge in marriage ceremonies and funerals. We are complicated and talented mammals, but in the final analysis, mammals.
  • This column is about a failed plan to construct a failed recharge basin. It is another Humpty Dumpty story about engineers, town councils, town attorneys, contractors, and the like designing and trying to build a recharge basin to trap runoff water from a farm field in East Hampton on a site along Route 114 in 2010.
  • There are a ton of field guides for birds, butterflies, moths, mammals, fishes, seashells, flowering plants, trees, and even fungi, seaweeds, ants, and, beetles, but who ever heard of a field guide to the lowly slugs.
  • 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.