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  •    Monday night was a little cooler than the weekend evenings but apparently it was warm enough to get one group of night singers going, the snowy tree crickets. Shortly before dusk those around my house in Noyac burst into song. As is typical, their opening chorus was short lived but louder than usual, drowning out for a second the noise of the very busy traffic along Noyac Road.

  •    I’ve never heard anyone utter anything nasty about butterflies. About moths, yes, but not butterflies. In just about every other animal group, particularly within the many insect families, there are hordes of species — bedbugs, mosquitoes, yellow jackets, termites, carpenter ants, deer flies, weevils, locusts, what have you — that have been called every curse word in the book. But butterflies have been spared. Why?

  •    The e-news just reported that sea level is rising on America’s East Coast faster than on the West Coast. What this translates into is the retreat of beaches and bluffs, the flooding of tidal wetlands, and the salting of drinking water wells situated close to the sea. On the other hand, while there will be losses and changes, there will also be more of the same.

  •    I went out on Saturday evening to listen for whippoorwills. It was a quiet night and near 60 degrees. The conditions should have been ideal for calling wills, but between dusk and 10:15 I covered 23 miles of back roads in Noyac, Watermill, and Bridgehampton, stopping at least 20 times with lights and motor off and did not record a single whippoorwill.

  •    On Monday I found the first adult chigger, a k a harvest mite, climbing up the driver’s side door of my pickup truck. It was about the size of an adult deer tick and orangey. [Please see editor's note below.] Adult chiggers, themselves, are no cause for alarm, as they feed on plant material. It’s the thought of their babies that will emerge in August that distressed me, bringing to mind 26 years of annual chigger bite attacks here on the South Fork beginning in September of 1986.

  •     It is the season of procreation.
       Arnold Leo called last week, concerned about a spotted white-tailed deer fawn, if not a newborn, then very close to it, that was sitting in the center of a yard near Georgica Pond on a property he had been caretaking. He was able to go up to it and touch it, and the fawn didn’t move a hair. He was worried it might have been abandoned, but as it turned out, the fawn had been “parked” by Mrs. Deer, probably while she was off foraging. She came back for it later on.

  •     It’s coming, it’s coming. This is the year of the Big One. Batten down the hatches and prepare to go without electricity for a week or so, or buy a generator ahead of time and have an electrician who knows what he or she is doing install it. Rising sea level and increased ferocity of storms is no longer a topic for idle discussion.

  •    A week ago Thursday, Stephanie Baloghy, who lives in East Hampton, called to tell me that she had just found a baby box turtle slowly making its way over some leaf-strewn ground in her yard. She examined it as she has examined others in past years. This one had already used up the yolk sack (like our umbilical cord) that is found on the bottom shell of just-hatched turtles. No bigger than a quarter, it most likely hatched last fall but didn’t emerge until a few weeks ago.

  •    Orioles, towhees, great-crested flycatchers, rose-breasted grosbeaks, catbirds, and a ton of warblers have all come back to roost. The most spectacular avian visitor in a while was the white-faced ibis that was seen and photographed at Scoy Pond in the Grace Estate nature preserve over the weekend by and Pat Lindsey and Angus Wilson.

  •    We birders are always looking for the odd bird, not the familiar one. Yet it’s the familiar ones that provide us with the most information, the ones that quiet us down when things go awry, and at this point in civilization, they often do. On Friday, it was the sweet song of the Baltimore oriole heralding his return that set my mind at ease; on Sunday it was the wheezy nonsensical notes of the catbird, gone from my brain since August 2011, that did the same.