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  •    Monday morning, the yard covered with a thick blanket of snow, but hints of global warming — six male robins and some starlings visited the privet and sniped the dark berries one by one. They were at it yesterday as well. The berries looked black, but when digested and defecated, they left deep purple stains in the snow. Privet berries must be emergency rations for berry-eating robins, which never feed on seed or suet.

  •    Punxsutawney Phil in Pennsylvania and Staten Island Chuck didn’t see their shadows on Saturday while Malverne Mel and Holtsville Hal did. It’s hard to believe that Pennsylvanians and Staten Islanders will be blessed with an early spring, while we Long Islanders will suffer prolonged winter, as we are relatively close to those areas and prevailing climate conditions stretch for hundreds of miles. What weather conditions eastern Pennsylvania has, we should also enjoy.

  •    It was gently snowing with big and little flakes on Monday morning when I went into the living room with my coffee to see if Noyac Bay had frozen yet. I was greeted by a flutter as something whizzed past my head and ended up on top of one of the Venetian blinds where it twitched nervously. The twitching little body, white stripe over the eye, and cocked tail gave it away immediately — a Carolina wren. Poor thing, it didn’t like the freezing cold and falling snow any more than I did.

  •    Across the face of the world thousands of new organizations are spawned every day. Just take a look on the Internet and you will find millions of groups and associations that have an e-mail address ending in .org. It isn’t hard to start an organization, but it is hard to keep one going.

  •    The two recent gang-rape incidents in India and the beheading of a Sri Lankan woman in Saudi Arabia, a so-called friendly nation, has caused me to wonder if we are making any progress at all. We are supposed to be culturally evolving and perhaps some of us are, but these atavistic acts by men makes me wonder.

  •    Calcium. An element that we and billions and billions of organisms cannot live without. All vertebrates, with their vertebral columns and many other bones and teeth need calcium. All shelled mollusks and barnacles require calcium. You don’t find many barnacles, if any, in freshwater environments. Calcium is found in a host of other animals where it serves a variety of vital functions.

  •    The last of the Long Island Christmas Bird Counts — the Orient Count — took place on Saturday. The count compiler over the last 20 years has been Mary Laura Lamont of Northville in Riverhead Town, and as of Sunday night all of the results had not been turned in to her. Nonetheless, after talking with Mary Laura, it is obvious that this was a very good count, especially for the North Fork territories and Shelter Island. Our part of the count was Cedar Point County Park on the east to Morton Wildlife Refuge on the west.

  •    There’s a war on locally. I don’t mean the war on D.W.I.s or the war on drugs, I mean the war on the white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginiana. It was here on Long Island before we were, even before the first Amerindians, and is the only member of the antlered-mammal family native to Long Island, we never had moose, elk, or caribou. Apparently, being too native is similar to being too alien. I once heard a well-known gourmet writer on North Haven call them “rats.”

  •    Saturday saw the beginning of the Christmas Bird Counts on Long Island, something that was started in New York City in the first years of the 20th century and has been continued annually ever since. At the beginning there were no bird field guides, no roll film cameras, no digital cameras, no birdcall players built into cellphones, no spotting scopes, and the binoculars in use were barely equivalent to opera glasses. There were many fewer observers and parties were still traveling around in horse and buggies.

  •    Friday afternoon I was driving my pickup along Daniel’s Hole Road passing East Hampton Airport when three healthy looking female deer jumped the low fence on the edge of the airport side of the road and bounded across in front of me to the mowed field beyond. I saw them from a fairly long distance and slowed accordingly.