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  • I was born in a house next to my grandfather’s chicken farm in Mattituck, across the bay. White leghorn chickens may have been the first bird species I opened my eyes to, the first bird species I came to know intimately. Before someone coined the term “free-range chickens” in the late 1900s, that’s what they were, free-range. They ran freely over the expanse of old fields and gardens surrounding my boyhood area, feeding and carrying on as chickens left to their own devices do. At night they either roosted on tree branches or in chicken coops on rails.
  • One would think that with this mild weather and melting snow the area would come alive with all sorts of wildlife that, except for the gray squirrels, has largely been in hiding.
  • Here’s where we get our electric energy from: hydroelectric dams, nuclear power plants, the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), subterranean heat sources, the sun, wind, and hydrogen.
  • You’re spinning, I’m spinning, we’re all spinning. Everything is in motion. If you are standing in an island in an ocean transected by the Equator, you are moving easterly at more than 1,000 miles per hour. You just don’t feel it or notice it because the island, the water surrounding it, and everything on it are moving at the same speed. If you are standing upright and motionless on one of the poles, north or south, you are near stationary, except that you turn completely around once every 24 hours. From infancy to old age, you and I, assuming that we have been in the same neighborhood all of these years, have been moving easterly at almost the same speed, but not exactly.
  • When I dropped out of Cornell University for the second time in 1957 I was about to be drafted. We were not at war then, having settled the Korean police action some four years earlier, but, nevertheless, I didn’t think I was cut out for the infantry so I enlisted. I wanted to go into intelligence so I took my chances on getting into the United States Army Language School in Monterey, Calif. I landed a slot — the last available — in Russian. I thought I would be sent to Europe at the end of the course, but instead I boarded a troop ship in San Francisco, sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed for Japan.
  • I frequently ask myself why there are so many artists plying their trade on the East End of Long Island. Yes, it’s close to the museums and major galleries in New York, but I think the main reason they are here is the setting. In other words they find the pastoral spaces, ocean and bays, bluffs and woodlands both provocative and attractive. And others I have queried said this area’s most important attribute is its ambient light.
  • Every once in a while a bird shows up that takes the South Fork by storm. In the past, it’s been eagles, snowy owls, pelicans, Lapland longspurs, Ross’s gulls, puffins, painted buntings, and scissor-tail flycatchers, to name but a few. Birdwatchers come from all over the United States, even from as far west as California, to see some of those rare birds.
  • We are solidly into winter. My yard is covered with 11 inches of snow thanks to the back-to-back snowstorms of last week. Noyac Bay, 100 feet to the north, is beginning to freeze over, and it will, there being not a wisp of a breeze for several hours now.
  • The New Year is upon us. It may have been the warmest since weathermen and weatherwomen have been keeping records. New Year’s Eve was the day of the Orient bird count. As per usual, my group did East Hampton’s Northwest Woods, from Cedar Point Park to Barcelona Neck. It was partly overcast and a bit windy. There was a very thin layer of ice on rain puddles and pond surfaces here and there, but none of the tidal waters were frozen.
  • This the last weekly column of the year 2016, and I decided to write a little bit about my peculiar daily data-taking habits, which may come to an end one day soon. After Saturday I will begin saving a few trees and a little time.