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  •     We had six inches of rain Saturday and Sunday in Sag Harbor, a downer for the weekend crowd, a blessing for the alewives, frogs, and salamanders. Ligonee Brook is a longstanding stream that runs intermittently down through the last century and more. Its course has changed more than once and it only runs from Long Pond to Ligonee Cove to Sag Harbor Cove once every five years. Nonetheless, it is an important conduit for alewives and eels.

  •     It’s been three quarters of a century since bald eagles — our national bird — nested on Long Island. Gardiner’s Island was the last to host a breeding pair in 1936. It wasn’t DDT that made the bald eagle give up the ghost on Long Island; there never were many nests here, after all, and hawks, eagles, and owls were commonly shot during colonial and post-colonial times.

  •     As I write away midway through Sunday evening the outside temperature in Noyac has slowly crept down. It just fell a 10th of a degree below 35 degrees. I’m hoping that it never makes it to freezing. All the snow is gone and most of the fresh ponds have shed their icy coats. Should the weather hold for another three or four days and we get a touch of precipitation it might be just enough to start the great migration, not of birds — that’s already well in progress — but of amphibians and alewives.

  •     Victoria and Nicholas Bustamante were walking Shadmoor Park on the ocean in Montauk on Saturday afternoon when a bat flew overhead. Nicholas threw up some pebbles and the bat made a pass at them. It looked red, Vicki said, and was a little bigger than a little brown bat, the most common bat on the East End during the summertime.

  •     Turkey vultures were back in town as of the Monday before last. Even more surprising was the sighting of individual ospreys over Sag Harbor by Ted Schiavoni and Jean Held three and two weeks ago, respectively. Ospreys used to nest in trees. Now almost all of Long Island’s ospreys nest on platforms situated on tall poles.

  •     In the early 1980s there were only about seven active osprey nests on the South Fork. The osprey was still on the New York State’s endangered list. But there were even fewer eastern bluebirds on the South Fork and just a pair or two on the North Fork. The state correctly made a big hullabaloo about the sparse osprey population, but did very little to encourage the recovery of the bluebird, which, ironically, at that time had already had the distinction of being New York’s official bird for decades and decades.

  •     It’s been quite a winter thus far. Snowing every other day for most of February, all of the freshwater ponds frozen over solid, including Long Island’s second largest, Fort Pond in Montauk. If Lake Montauk hadn’t been opened permanently and jettied in the first half of the 20th century, it would be frozen over, too.

  •     East Hampton is rich in early American lore and artifacts and it has done a good job preserving them. Before East Hampton Town replaced its red brick Town Hall on Pantigo Road with historic houses and outbuildings, the East Hampton Village administration was well ensconced in a period-piece house on Main Street. The Hook Mill, the old cemetery, Clinton Academy, Mulford Farm, and Town Pond all speak to a village that preserves its past and whose past functions as its presence.

  •     “The seas will turn red,” it prophesizes in the Bible, having to do with the anticipated Armageddon. The seas are turning red, not with blood, but with red tide phytoplankton. They’re also turning brown, purple, all of the colors in the spectrum except green for the same reason. And it all has to do with more and more nitrogen products entering the seawater with each passing day. Seven billion-plus humans, more than half of whom live only a few miles from any one of the four world oceans, produce an awful lot of nitrogen compounds as waste products.

  • The fall is under way; the great migration is heating up. During the next four weeks, the skies and seas will be teeming with all matter of winged and finned things heading south. The push is on.

    Thus far, it's been mostly shorebirds, though a few warblers have been moving and there have been waves of swallows, flickers, robins, and catbirds passing through.