Posted tagged ‘flying point road’

Egrets, herons and sunsets on Flying Point Road

October 10, 2013
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Sunset, October 2013

I’m out on eastern Long Island right now. The landscape, despite the ever-proliferating McMansions, remains stunningly beautiful.

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Flying Point Road and Mecox Bay.

And so do the birds.

Great egrets are everywhere.

Great egret flies over Mecox Bay.

Great egret flies over Mecox Bay.

Great blue herons, too.

Great Blue Heron fishes in Mecox Bay.

Great Blue Heron fishes in Mecox Bay.

Usually the herons and egrets are loners. But sometimes they share a good fishing location.

Great Blue Heron and Great Egrret on dock.

Great Blue Heron checks to see if the Great Egret is catching more fish.

Many swans have flown away for the winter, but some still sail and dabble on Mill Pond and Mecox Bay.

Dabbling at sunset.

Dabbling at sunset.

It’s always a pleasure to see the kingfisher (even if at too great a distance for a clear photo).

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Kingfisher on a branch.

So, yes, it’s beautiful out here.

Just don’t come looking for direction.

Um, okay ...

Um, okay …

Hurricane Sandy Report: Flying Point Road, Long Island Update

October 30, 2012

Flying Point Beach signpost, September 2012. Photo: Melissa Cooper

The YouTube video below was filmed yesterday, presumably in the early hours of Hurricane Sandy. It shows Flying Point Road in Water Mill, Long Island, from a vantage point very close to my family house, where my brother has weathered the storm.

Our house sits just before the curve in the road where the filmmaker’s car sits. On the near side of the curve, the bay laps the shore and there is a small stretch of land between the bay and the road to absorb its overflow. On the far side of the curve,, the bay is contained by a small retaining wall. The road is wider here, but there is no shore.

Mecox Bay, Water Mill, NY in calmer days. Photo: Melissa Cooper

This is where people park their cars on the side of the road to fish for crabs.

Crabbing in Mecox Bay in September 2012. Photo: Melissa Cooper

When we first started coming to our house in the mid-1960s (Well, it was Mr. Jennings’s house then), there was only one other house visible on the road between us and Flying Point Beach, maybe two. Today, there are many, even on the bay side. But the old farmers knew what they were doing in not building closer to the water. Yesterday, beyond this curve, the road was completely submerged as Hurricane Sandy pushed vast amounts of water from the ocean into the little skillet of Mecox Bay.

Here is a terrific photo taken a little further down the road between our house and the ocean, at approximately 11 am Monday. The roadside and retaining wall break off briefly for this little stretch of shoreline.

Photo: Austin Handler; SouthamptonPatch.com

I believe that stretch of land and water usually looks like this. Note the fence on the right in both photos.

Crabbing on Flying Point Road in early summer 2012. Photo: Melissa Cooper

The road stretches half a mile from the curve to Flying Point Beach. Just before the road rises to the beach parking lot, it makes a sharp left and runs another half mile straight out to the beach we call “the far beach.”  This morning, the road to the beach remained under water. My brother hitched a ride to the far beach on a huge flat-bed truck that was going to check on damage; his own car would never have made it. On nearby Luther Drive, about 100 feet in from the road, he spotted a 12-foot plastic jet ski dock that belonged, my brother was informed, to people living on the far side of Mecox Bay.

At the far beach, the ocean had pushed vast amounts of water into the bay, and flooded all the way up to the road.  The beach is now completely flat, no slope at all.  My brother described lines of breaking wines reaching to the horizon. The ones breaking on shore were six or seven feet high, but the ones farthest out near the horizon rose up over the water like a house, maybe twelve or thirteen feet high. We’ve been watching the ocean in storms all our lives, but my brother says he has ever seen anything remotely like this.

I’m writing from NYC, so I don’t have any photos of my own to show the wild transformations wrought by Sandy. Instead, I’ll show you another photo of beautiful little Mecox Bay, as it often appears.

Heron at sunset in Mecox Bay, March 2012. Photo: Melissa Cooper

I hope the herons, egrets, swans, ducks and all the other birds and animals have weathered the storm safely,

Deer and Cormorants in the Hamptons

October 28, 2012

One day in mid-October, coming over the dunes on a boardwalked path, Esau the dog and I encountered a single white-tailed deer. Alert, the deer watches us.

deer near Flying Point Beach

Alert.

Equally alert, Esau watches the deer.

gray dog, gray boardwalk

Also alert.

Suddenly, the deer bounds off into the brush.

white-tailed deer

In case you were wondering why it’s called a white-tailed deer…

Esau and I continue our walk through the moors beyond Channel Pond,

through the moors

A path through the Hampton moors.

passing through tall reeds and small ponds.

Gorgeous habitat for birds, deer, foxes and more.

Double-crested cormorants gathered in one of the ponds, possibly Jule Pond or Phillips Pond.

flock of cormorants

A collection of cormorants.

As we watched, more cormorants came flapping in.

flying cormorants

Cormorants fly over the reeds.

I’m guessing that these birds are migrants gathering in a resting spot before they continue southward.

Cormorants coming in for a landing.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many cormorants at once.

Cormorants, cormorants, cormorants.

I don’t have my binoculars with me, but I can see that many of the birds are juveniles, not yet in their full black plumage. Below is a juvenile cormorant I found dead by the side of the road in 2010.

juvenile cormorant

Dead cormorant by side of the road.

And here, by way of contrast, is an adult cormorant drying its wings in NYC’s Morningside Park in spring 2011.

cormorant with one wing extended

An adult cormorant dries its wings after fishing in Morningside Park’s tiny pond.

And lest you imagine the cormorant is all monochromatic black, take a look at this close-up of its brilliant green eyes and orange facial skin.

cormorant in breeding plumage

Eyes like emeralds.

Note also the sharply hooked bill of this voracious fish-eater. And in case you’re wondering about the mysterious eponymous double crests, they are visible only during breeding season.

Double-crested cormorant during breeding season by Mike Baird, Flickr/Wikimedia Commons.

To my mind, the so-called crests resemble more the horns of an aging devil or Grandpa’s unruly eyebrows than the more familiar peaked crests of a bluejay, say, or a cardinal.  But other cormorants apparently find them attractive. The cormorant population, once in serious decline from DDT poisoning, has bounced back strongly since the pesticide was banned in the United States in 1972. Some fishermen consider cormorants a threat to fishing stocks, and advocate for a hunting season. In Japan, fishermen once used cormorants as a kind of living fishing rod.

fishing cormorants 1936

Photograph by W. Robert Moore, 1936. From the National Geographic book, Through the Lens: National Geographic’s Greatest Photographs, 2003

The fisherman has tied ropes around the necks of the cormorants. When one of the birds catches a fish, the rope is tightened to prevent them from swallowing the fish, which is collected by the fisherman.

The lives of wild animals can be quite bizarre, when they intersect with the lives of humans.


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