04/08/17 6:00am
A screech owl in the author's backyard. (Credit: Chris Paparo)

A screech owl in the author’s backyard. (Credit: Chris Paparo)

Of all the birds that inhabit the North Fork, none draw more excitement than owls.

During winter months, birders flock to open grasslands such as those found at the EPCAL facility in Calverton. They hope to catch a glimpse of a short-eared owl as it swiftly soars above the fields looking for mice, voles and other “tasty” rodents. Area beaches are another popular owl haunt. Here, birders hope to spot a snowy owl, like Hedwig that was made famous by the Harry Potter books and movies.

Unfortunately, by April both species have left our area to return to their nesting sites in Canada and the Arctic tundra. There they will stay until cold winter temperatures once again drive them south to our open grasslands and beaches.

Even though these awe-inspiring owls have left the North Fork, there are still many opportunities for an owl lover to view these majestic birds. In fact, two species are true Northforkers, as they reside here year-round and often go completely unnoticed. (more…)

03/30/17 6:00am
Mashomack Preserve on a spring day. (Credit: James Colligan, courtesy)

Mashomack Preserve on a spring day. (Credit: James Colligan, courtesy)

There was a time when the phrase “get lost” was an insult. These days, it’s therapy.

When the world becomes too much for you, Shelter Island — the pearl in the prongs of the North and South forks — has thousands of acres of wooded trails, quiet country roads, and deserted beaches where you can treat your short fuse with a long walk. (more…)

03/08/17 2:05pm

Waking prior to sunrise on a cold winter’s day, I go outside to Emmy’s mew (enclosure) where she has spent the night dreaming about today’s squirrel hunt. Lifting her from her perch, I place her in a large plastic transport box, known as a giant hood, and load her into the back seat of my truck. I then toss my hawking satchel and walking stick into the truck and we drive off to one of our hunting locations. (more…)

02/06/17 6:01am
Chris Paparo with Emmy. (Credit: Chris Paparo)

Chris Paparo with Emmy. (Credit: Chris Paparo)

For those of you that follow my various social media accounts (@fishguyphotos), you will notice that during the winter months I frequently post pictures of a red-tailed hawk.

Typically, the hawk in the picture is located on the ground and holding a freshly caught squirrel or rabbit in her sharp talons. At first glance, it appears that I always seem to be at the right place at the right time, capturing a moment in nature that so few of us get to see in person. That feeling of awe quickly turns to disbelief when the next post is a “hawk selfie” or a video of a hawk landing on my hand. Why would such a majestic bird allow me into its world time and time again?

In addition to being the “Fish Guy,” I am a general class falconer and the hawk featured in those posts is my red-tailed hawk Emmy.   (more…)

01/17/17 6:01am
Ina Visich Baiting Hollow

Ina Pollifrone-Visich strikes a tree pose inside the new Solntse Hot Yoga in Wading River. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

Ina Pollifrone-Visich discovered hot yoga while researching treatments for fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder she was diagnosed with more than a year ago. The 27-year-old native of Belarus found that stretching under steamy conditions alleviated her symptoms, including headaches and fatigue.

The only problem? It was tiring to make the trek from Baiting Hollow, where she resides, to her favorite studio, Buddha Beach Yoga in East Moriches.

So Pollifrone-Visich decided to open a hot vinyasa studio closer to home. (more…)

01/06/17 6:00am
The Sherwood House Vineyards tasting room. (Credit: Randee Daddona file photo)

The Sherwood House Vineyards tasting room. (Credit: Randee Daddona file photo)

Have you heard of Hygge?

It’s the Danish word for cozy and for the Danes it’s a way of life. Now you can seek out your own hygge (pronounced HOO-gah) — a lifestyle that includes the pursuit of fuzzy socks, hot tea and good company — on the North Fork.

So while the NoFo winter might be bad for sunbathing and water sports, there are other ways of seeking bliss.

Here are eight places to get cozy on the North Fork. (more…)