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  •     On Sunday the South Fork Natural History Society hosted memorial service for the late Christopher Roberts, who passed away in August. Chris was a long-standing naturalist, musician, D.J., TV show producer, and landscaper who also worked for me in the East Hampton Town Natural Resources Department on and off. There was nothing environmental that he couldn’t master in a short time, be it wetland mapping, plant and animal identification, nature preserve caretaking, oil spill cleanup, or what have you.

  •     Acorns falling on the roof, isn’t that a phrase from a popular song? Acorns have been falling on my roof since the last week in September. Most of them get caught in the gutter and are easy picking for jays, squirrels, chipmunks, white-footed mice, and raccoons. Long Island’s forests are derived primarily from the eastern deciduous biome centered in the Appalachians. While key Appalachian states like North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania have more oak species than any other states or other countries, Long Island has its share.

  •     It’s getting to be that time of year again, that time when we love fall at its most colorful moment. Fall has been creeping up on us since the last day of summer. Summer birds have been leaving for the south and northern birds have been stopping by on their way south while others have been arriving to spend the winter here.

  •     Stuart Vorpahl, an East Hampton Town historian, doesn’t have an office on the town’s campus of historic buildings. His office is in his house on Muir Boulevard in East Hampton. He knows his history, but in a community where the attention is often directed to the situation at hand, history has a very small role to play, if any at all, and thus Stuart is rarely called on to reiterate the local past, which he knows by heart.

  •     Another week without ticks, while the tree crickets are still filling the night with their monotonic stridulations. Blowfish are back after a relatively long hiatus (I know why, but I won’t tell), but the winter flounder are still but a few. Scallops are scarce, slipper shells are having a banner year. The hickory nuts are dropping like flies. The acorn crop isn’t half bad, at least on the shoulders of the South Fork moraine. The scarlet, black, and white oak acorns that are now falling on our roofs were two years in the making.

  • Fall is here with all its glory. Ticks have gone missing!
  • I know a lot about nature, but very little about art, especially fine art. A lot of artists, as well as a poet or two, live in Springs. Some of them are not only respected artists but also environmentalists, thus “artist-activists” in my way of thinking. Good for art, good for the environment, good for nature. They feed on each other.

  •    Fall is coming down the tracks and the asters and goldenrods are taking over the countryside. The two are part of the sunflower family, formerly the compositae, now the Asteraceae. The East End of Long Island is rich in aster and goldenrod species, having more than 20 local species combined. In the world of flowering plants, the sunflower family is the most ubiquitous in species, and one of the reasons for that is the way the different members disperse their seeds.

  •    The great migration south is about to begin. It will include millions of birds, millions of fish, many different bats, and quite a lot of butterflies and dragonflies. Although at the boreal latitudes, many mammals, including two species of caribou, use their legs to march long distances, in the temperate zone where we are, migration is a matter of wings and fins. Shorebirds, terns and ospreys, to name a few, have already started down. Some of them go thousands of miles, deep into South America, a few like the Arctic tern, all the way to Patagonia.

  •    It wasn’t that long ago in the history of the United States that small communities made the world go round. Urbanization took a back seat to farming, fishing, hunting, and gathering fruit and vegetables from the wild. You would be hard-pressed today trying to survive in a big city if you had to grow, catch, and gather your own food.