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  • Naming has come a long way since the days of yore. Now it is used to immortalize individuals, mostly politicos, famous athletes, fallen war heroes, and firemen and police shot in the line of duty. It is also used to name new roads in new subdivisions before they exist and to rename existing roads, beaches, parks, libraries, bridges, museums and the like. There are so many things to name and rename it boggles the mind — so many names that there should be a department of naming.

  • It seems like we are halfway through summer, but in reality we’re less than a third through. The roads are already super-clogged with vehicles, many of which are spiffy and go from 0 to 60 in less than 10 seconds, which is all well and good if you are on the Autobahn, but on Old Northwest Road or Accabonac Highway it’s a bit much.

  • First, a short note to cheer you all for the 4th of July. On Monday I received a communiqué from Kara Jackson, who handles the news for the Nature Conservancy. She said the first eagles to breed on Mashomack, the Nature Conservancy’s pearl on Shelter Island, in more than a century are just about to fledge their chicks. They could easily be in the air on the 4th. Wouldn’t that be terrific?

  • On the evening of June the 11 I drove 43 miles on the back roads in Southampton Town listening for the breeding calls of whippoorwills and chuck-will’s-widows. I’ve been living in Noyac for 35 years and discovered a paved road right down the block that I had never been on, Old Sag Harbor Road, which connects Brick Kiln with Millstone Road where the old Bridgehampton Racetrack was situated.

  • We are on the verge of the longest day of the year, the summer solstice. For those living on the equator, it’s just another day. For those on the tiny island of Spitzbergen in the Arctic Ocean off the northernmost coast of Norway, there will only be day, no night.

  • The cosmos is expanding at an accelerated rate. There are thousands of meteorites ranging in size from a hardball to an aircraft carrier in crazy orbits and asymmetric paths in our solar system; small ones hit the earth annually. A big one like the one that smacked down in the center of Russia last year could hit somewhere in America within the next 10 years. The earth is pockmarked with craters from the strikes of asteroids and meteorites, as is the moon.

  • My first 21 years were spent on the North Fork looking at this and that. While I specialized in birds, learned the mammals — there weren’t that many — I also knew the local frogs, turtles, newts. and fish, which I learned by catching them. I knew as many garden and farm plants as native plants, I knew that Japanese honeysuckle was not American, and I knew about a handful of other invasives. I knew blueberries, beach plums, black cherries, because I picked them and ate them. I knew poison ivy because it made you itch like the devil.

  • Terry Sullivan is one fisherman who has been around. He fishes the ocean, bays, harbors, tidal creeks, ponds, and trout streams such as the Nissequogue. He’s caught just about every fish that will hit a lure or a fly from a shore at one of the above. He’s seen just about everything fishwise on Long Island, but last Thursday morning he was a bit flabbergasted to find a fish that he never caught here and, maybe, one that he never saw here.

  •     The only butterfly I’ve seen to date is the cabbage white, the one long from Eurasia that lays its eggs on members of the cabbage family, to wit, garlic mustard, wild radish, and the like, also from Eurasia.

        Butterflies and moths are part of the second trophic food level; they feed on the first level, the “producers.” In fact most insects — grasshoppers, various ant species, bees and other nectiferous species, almost all beetles and almost all bugs — feed on plants.

  •     A very active week in birdland, indeed! Topping the list of May returnees were ruby-throated hummingbirds. The first to return to the South Fork, perhaps, were the four that showed up at the house of my Noyac neighbor Ellen Stahl on May 6. She called to tell me that they were back, she had her hummingbird feeders up, and they were flying in my direction every once in a while. She thought they might nest in my backyard.