Wild Westhampton

…nature in the Hamptons…

Archive for October 2008

Happy Halloween!

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Dress up? Free candy? Yes, ma’am! Gimme, gimme! Today if you swung by Main St around three or four, you likely noticed the swarms of princesses, hurricanes, goblins, and ghoulies that descended upon the businesses in the village proper. Hopefully you got some candy (or were one of the ones handing it out), and didn’t get trampled in the process. I think there was an even bigger crowd this year than last year, although it seemed there wasn’t really much of a parade — kids seemed to come from nowhere and then disappear again. (I did see a few coming back from seconds, thirds, and even fourths, although for the kids with the more unique costumes it was harder to do.) I myself was a flapper, and apparently there were several people who knew me but didn’t recognize me. Such is the life. (I dye my hair too much.)

Here’s hoping you a safe and happy Halloween!

The Pumpkins in the Hay
Quogue Wildlife Refuge, Quogue, NY
20 October 2008

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The Snowy Egret in July

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The same Snowy Egret I discussed previously.

The Snowy Egret in July
19 July 2008
Westhampton Beach, NY

Written by Al

October 31, 2008 at 9:26 pm

The Green Heron in Flight

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I have to be honest here. I never in a million years expected to see one of these guys so close to home. I’d seen one, once before, on a trip to Huntington Gardens in Los Angeles, who was kind enough to pose for me while pretending to stalk a fish, but generally green herons are skittish and shy, keeping to the reeds and staying absolutely still.

So picture me surprised this past summer when not one but two little green herons flew out of the reeds close to the roadway where I not so cleverly hid. Hopefully it was a breeding pair! The above picture is not of that incident (I was a little too shocked, and the photos from that day came out unfocused), but of another day at the same pond when I was stalking a snowy egret, another wader I’d not seen as frequently as say, a great egret or great blue heron. The snowy egret, in his flight across the pond to another sheltered bit of reeds, startled this green heron into a flight of his own.

(Ah, but justice is sweet, for not ten minutes went by when a great egret came by and startled the snowy egret out of this favored spot of waders.)

The Green Heron in Flight
19 July 2008
Westhampton Beach, NY

The Deer on the Dunes

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Sometimes the natural world and the man made world collide. One of the biggest hazards to living in even a semi-rural area is deer on the road, usually at dawn or dusk. You should always be aware of your surroundings when operating an automobile, but in November, at the peak of the rutting season for deer, auto collisions with the animals are usually higher than usual.

Often, people are surprised when they hear that there are deer on Dune Road, but it makes sense if you think about it. After all, from Labor Day to Memorial Day they have practically have free run over the whole barrier island (even the post office stops delivering down there in October). There are still wild, undeveloped sections like the one I found this deer in, despite all the crazed building that has gone on in recent years (Westhampton Queens Dunes, I’m looking at your McMansions). And of course, there are the same bridges that we use to cross the bay — you didn’t think they were just for people use, did you?

The Deer on the Dunes
25 April 2008
Quogue/East Quogue, NY (pretty much right on the border here)

Written by Al

October 30, 2008 at 11:07 pm

The Woods in Early Fall

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The same magical spot as seen in the Forest for the Trees, just a little bit earlier. It never fails to amaze me how much changes in a month. I’m sure when I go back next month (if it’s not too cold!) the leaves will be completely bare, the trees mere skeletons amidst the underbrush.

The Woods in Early Fall
23 September 2008
Quogue Wildlife Refuge, Quogue, NY

The Egrets on the Stump

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June is a beautiful month on Long Island (I know it’s October, but I’m already dreaming of next year, okay?). In June, all the best shore birds make their home in the wetlands, including my personal favorite, the Great Egret. In this Quiogue creek, I’ve seen up to six commingling at a time, gracefully wading through the water and plucking fish to swallow whole.

In this particular instance, I happened upon two egrets and a Great Blue Heron. The herons around here (year round residents, so I have a special affinity for them, as well) seem to be a little more shy than their paler counterparts, and this one was no exception, flying away before I even processed that he was there. These egrets, however, stuck around, obliging me by posing on the nearest stump.

The Egrets on the Stump
19 June 2008
Quiogue, NY

Written by Al

October 30, 2008 at 10:34 pm

The Leaves in the Trees (for now, anyway)

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So it looks like fall is here in full swing, and it’s not going anywhere. We’re lucky here on Long Island to have missed that snowstorm that those upstate got hit with (snow! Three days before Halloween!).

For now, the leaves are turning their reds and golds, the air is crisp but bearable, and the sun is not yet setting at 4:30. So get out there, and enjoy it.

The Leaves in the Trees
20 October 2008
Quogue Wildlife Refuge, Quogue, NY