As the snow and ice begin to melt, our local waters will awaken from their long winter sleep. An increase in the amount of daylight and an influx of nutrients from winter upwelling and snow/ice melt runoff are catalysts for phytoplankton blooms. (more…)
A juvenile bald eagle. (Credit: Chris Paparo/fishguyphotos)
One of the most recognizable and majestic birds of the North Fork is the bald eagle. This symbol of our great nation is a year-round resident, but its population soars during the winter months, especially after the deep freeze we have been experiencing lately. (more…)
In just a couple of weeks, many of us will be gathering with family and friends around the dining room table to indulge in the feast that is Thanksgiving. For many, the centerpiece of the celebration is a large, plump, juicy turkey. Unfortunately, other than a good recipe, few people know many details about the majestic bird that Benjamin Franklin had praised as being a more respectable bird than a bald eagle.
There are two species of turkey that can be found throughout the United States, Mexico and southern Canada. The first, simply named the wild turkey, is divided into five subspecies (Eastern, Merriam’s, Rio Grande, Osceola, and Gould’s), each varying slightly by plumage and separated by region. The second species, the Ocellated turkey, is found to live in a small range of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. (more…)
A juvenile red-tailed hawk. (Credit: Chris Paparo)
As if someone turned off a switch, October brings an end to the summer ambiance we have enjoyed for the last several months. Days become shorter, nights become cooler, the leaves begin to fall, and many local species begin a long journey south in search of a warmer climate to spend the winter months.
With the passing of Labor Day, it is as if Mother Nature flips a switch and shuts down summer. The days are noticeably shorter. Winds begin to blow from the north, pushing in cooler temperatures and forcing local beach bums to vacate their favorite haunts. Not only do the beachgoers hightail it out of here at the onset of autumn, but so does much of our local wildlife.
Seasonal migrations are very common in the animal kingdom. The most noted of the local journeys is the one taken by the osprey. Osprey of the North Fork head to Central and South America every fall, returning the following spring. Although this is an extremely far distance, it is not hard to fathom how such a powerful bird can make such a flight. (more…)
A female blue crab tagged with a DEC tag. (Credit: Chris Paparo)
As we enter August, the summertime blues will slowly creep-up as the realization that we are halfway through our summer vacations begins to sink in. I however, welcome a different type of summertime blues. They have created many fond memories over the years and are the foundation of many of my summer cookouts.
My favorite is the blue crab. Another is the bluefish
This former can be found throughout the small back bays, creeks, and harbors of the Peconics and the Sound. Their olive-colored carapace (topside) allows them to go unnoticed while they lurk along the seafloor searching for their next meal. Although they are scavengers, their sharp, powerful claws can crush through the shells of armored prey such as clams, mussels, oysters, snails and even other blue crabs. Additionally, their paddle-like rear legs enable them to chase down fast moving prey, such as fish, with ease. (more…)
Nestled between the north and south forks with an eastern boundary of Shelter Island are the Great and Little Peconic Bays. These large, relatively deep bodies of water are popular places for rafting up for a barbecue, cruising from port to port, water skiing, tubing and many other summertime boating activities.
But what about fishing? Are there any fish worth pursuing in the Peconics this time of year? (more…)