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  •    On Friday, for the second time in two weeks, I visited the largest of the three Atlantic white cedar swamps in the hamlet of North Sea with a fellow naturalist. Prior to those two visits, I hadn’t seen it since around 1983 when I visited with Rameshwar Das, who was a photographer for The East Hampton Star at the time.

  •  “The View From
    Lazy Point”

    Carl Safina
    Picador, $18

  •    The first column I wrote for The East Hampton Star was in March of 1981. It was about Alosa pseudogarengus, the alewife, of the now-threatened river herrings. As far as Long Island post-Columbian history is concerned, the alewife ranks right up there with the quahog, steamer clam, bay scallop, oyster, and right whale.

  •    The weather was springlike on Friday and I had the good fortune of accompanying Howard Reisman and Vicki Bustamante to a Southampton Town preserve that I hadn’t visited since the spring of 1979. At that time the 50 acres or so of wooded bottomland on each side of a meandering stream was in private hands. It was up before the Southampton Town Planning Board as a proposed subdivision with umpteen parcels.

  •    With the exception of a few below-freezing days and a dash of snow now and then, it’s been an especially mild winter and, if things don’t change, one that will surely go into the record books. Blame fossil fuel and wood burning, wild animals, livestock, pets and humans flatulating, volcanoes spewing, natural gas fracking, and the further decomposition of organic deposits such as peat.

  •    An authority on rope suggested to me that vines that climb up trees go up clockwise just as the first course of rope is laid in its manufacture. Do all vines go “right-handed,” like rope? Of course, a right-handed vine is only right-handed when looking up from the ground. Looking down from its top it is left-handed or counterclockwise.

  •    Another year has passed. The Christmas bird counts are in the bag. It’s time to sit back and enjoy the cold weather.

  • ­    As the Northern Hemisphere continues to warm up, natural selection will reverse a long-term trend in warm-blooded animal evolution known as Allen’s Rule. Mammals that stay active in the winter tend to have thicker fur than those that hibernate, just as the plumage of seabirds is thicker than that of land birds in general.

  •     An extraordinary event took place on Saturday — the annual Montauk Christmas bird count, now more than 100 years old and among the very oldest in the country.

  •     It is impossible interpreting the present, but you can come close interpreting history. In my mind the history of East Hampton, and for that matter all of Long Island, is much more interesting than what is happening now. We’ve passed way beyond the age of discovery; we might better describe contemporary life as the age of packaging, marketing, distribution, and bad political theater.