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  • North American “life zones” as defined by Clinton Hart Merriam in the early 1900s are equivalent to the world’s biomes. They are deserts, northern coniferous forests, or taigas, temperate deciduous forests such as those occupying Appalachia, alpine forests, evergreen tropical forests, and rain forests, and the tundras of Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, and Siberia, and grasslands. Biomes tend to keep their identity for millennia.

  • The author Thomas Berger died recently. After “Little Big Man” one of his titles was “Sneaky People.” It portrayed a kind of negative utopia where women dominated in the business world and elsewhere, and their rise to eminence was based on deception and craftiness. Farcical as his novel was, many would say that’s how men came to rule the corporate and political spheres, and in many cases they would be right.

  • I was sitting with one of the world’s most noted algologists and marine phycologists in the world having lunch in a restaurant in Amagansett with him and three women. We had just listened to the address by the National Audubon Society’s president at the Nature Conservancy’s headquarters in East Hampton.

  • While we humans are fighting all over the world, killing children, women, and men, as well as doing in all kinds of rare beasts such as elephants, rhinoceroses, scaled anteaters, and whales for keepsakes, the local fauna are raising families. And I imagine, except in the war-torn and poached parts of the globe, they are doing the same the world over. It is a pity that the most intelligent animal of all lags behind the others even though this very same animal is a reader, polyglot, writer, emailer, and maker and user of all tools ever devised.

  • Biogeography is the study of flora and fauna and how they got where they are today. It also applies to humans. We are pretty sure that Asians began to settle North America not quite 20,000 years ago when glaciers covered half of the northern hemisphere and sea level was 100 feet or so lower than today. Many, if not all, came by way of the “land bridge,” now submerged, between Siberia and Alaska. Many mammals and other vertebrates came to the Americas by the same route.

  • 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.