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  • Try to look beyond the madding crowd. There’s a lot going on in the world of nature, all of it free of charge. North America’s tiniest hummingbird, the calliope from the Pacific Northwest, has come to nectar alongside a ruby-throated male at Joanne Dittmar’s house in Springs on the bay just west of Hog Creek. Sibley defines it as an “accidental.” The ruby-throat is our tiniest bird species; just imagine how hard it would be to see a bird two-thirds its size with the naked eye as it whizzed by.
  • There’s an old saw that says “there’s more than one way to skin a cat.” It doesn’t actually have to do with removing the pelts from cats, thank God, but more with alternative ways of getting something done that needs to be done. In humankind as in nature, just about every method to get a given thing done has been tried. Some methods fail outright, some work for a while, then others that are more durable and efficient replace them; a few work forever with little change over countless eons, thus the horseshoe crab.
  • The blue-green organisms that cause the slicks on the local coastal ponds like Lake Agawam, Mill Pond, and Georgica Pond, to name a few of the worst blighted, are among the oldest organisms known to man.
  • The South Fork of Long Island has hundreds of beaches, woodland trails, sidewalks, and other stretches for walking and communing with nature.
  • On the South Fork it would seem that the stars get dimmer and dimmer with each passing year.
  • I went out looking for signs of gypsy moth infestations on Sunday, exploring the oak-hickory and oak-pine forests along the major Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton, Wainscott, and Northwest Woods roads.
  • Sunday night was cloudy and cool with a slight breeze. I set out for a second night on the trail of the once common but now rare whippoorwill. Last Thursday the Noyac and Bridgehampton hills were under my microscope. Sunday night it would be Northwest Woods in East Hampton and Napeague. I didn’t hear a single whippoorwill the first night. I was hoping that it would be a different story the second time out.
  • The summer birds are back in full force. Most are day birds, but some are nocturnal — the owls and the nightjars such as the nighthawk and whippoorwill.
  • When I was a boy growing up in Mattituck I poked around everywhere and at everything, collecting many of the things I found, be they animate or inanimate, or, as they say in Twenty Questions, “animal, vegetable, or mineral.”
  • Are there flowering plants that live in the seas? Yes, they are called sea grasses because, like land grasses, they are monocots, plants that only display a single leaf upon emerging from the seed.