Sometimes, when putting together a community column like At Quaquanantuck, a writer gets lucky: a story pops up that combines seasonal phenomena (aka Signs of Spring) and environmental conservation with can-do community spirit, cooperation and kindness, along with the added bonus of a happy ending.
Another way of looking at it, of course, is that this writer is lucky right out of the gate by virtue of having Quogue as his subject, because our charmed village is continually generating stories of the kind described above, and which At Quaquanantuck is happy to detail below.
Nest Knocked Over, Ospreys Get New Home from Human Helpers
Thanks to Quogue Wildlife Refuge Program Director Marisa Nelson, At Quaquanantuck received this report of a disaster that turned into a great day for a pair of Quogue ospreys.
Attentive readers may recall the horrifying tale of the pair of ospreys that lost their young last year when their nest caught fire on top of a utility pole on Beach Lane. Well, apparently the welds securing the replacement nesting platform atop a new pole provided at that time by PSEG couldn’t stand up to the wind last weekend, and the disc shaped platform buckled and bent sideways, with all the nesting materials gathered so far by the ospreys sliding off and falling to the ground.
Fortunately, homeowner Steve Weiner has been looking out for the birds since last year’s tragedy, and when he saw what had happened to this year’s new nest under construction, he immediately called Chief Chris Osborne at the Quogue Fire Department. As many residents know, one of the assistant chiefs at the QFD is none other than Wildlife Refuge Director Mike Nelson, who sprang into action and quickly constructed a new nesting platform.
At left, the new platform built by Mike Nelson; center, Westhampton Beach Fire Department Captain Tom Glover gives the thumbs up from on high; at right, the new platform, custom perch, and recovered nesting materials. —All photos courtesy of Quogue Wildlife Refuge
Then a team of QFD and QWR volunteers, with help from Westhampton Beach Fire Department Captain Tom Glover and the WHBFD ladder truck, set about taking down the bent disc platform and installing the new platform, within hours of the call from Mr. Weiner. Once the new platform was in place, the crew gathered some of the sticks the birds had already collected and put them on top.
The happy ending, according to Ms. Nelson, is that the ospreys watched as their new nesting base was being installed, and then returned to continue their nest building soon after.
Top Honors for Quogue Journalist and Colleagues
Not only did New York Times journalist Nick Confessore and a group of his stalwart colleagues win this year’s 70th annual George Polk Award in February for national reporting, this week they also were named finalists for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for national reporting for their coverage of misuse of power by social media giants.
As the citation for their achievement noted, the team’s coverage “documented how the social media giants of Silicon Valley misled regulators and the public, and empowered hucksters and propagandists as they followed the quest for ever larger growth.”
Congratulations, Nick. We are all grateful for your vigilance.
Eggstraordinary Events for Easter Weekend Ahead
With Easter coming up on Sunday, everyone should get ready for the eggstravananzas being scheduled by the Quogue Fire Department and the Quogue Wildlife Refuge.
On Saturday, April 20, the QFD event—which Chief Chris “Big Chill” Osborne calls “Quogue’s version of the Fast and the Furious”—will begin at precisely 10 a.m. in front of the Firehouse. Parents are advised to have their egg hunter-gatherers on site and ready at least five minutes ahead of the start, so they have a chance of gathering some of the ovoids scattered around the premises and across the street around the pond.
Over at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, the morning eggstravaganza session is already fully booked, but their may be some space available in Session II, which runs from 2 to 2:45 p.m.
Aspiring eggsperts age 5 to 12, who are advised to bring a smock or an old shirt, are invited to inspect the Refuge egg and nest collection for ideas to create their own nest craft. “Nests” will be hand decorated and then participants will color and decorate hard-boiled eggs to take home. Reservations (by telephone only: 631-653-4771) are required, as space and supplies are limited. The fee is $10 per child; all are asked to dress appropriately, as the program may take place outside.
As Sally Jennings pointed out when sharing a photo of a baby seal last week, it’s perfectly natural for seals to haul out and sun themselves on the beach at this time of year; if you see one, there’s no need to call the police or the Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research. The animals do not need to be “rescued.” At left, getting comfortable in the warm sand; at right, Officer Barbara gets a closeup. —Lulie Morrisey Photos
Spring Wildlife Camp Returns to Refuge for Schools’ April Recess
There’s likely still time to sign up children for the Spring Wildlife Camp at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge offered during next week’s April school recess.
This popular camp program, running from Tuesday through Friday, April 23 to 26, with sessions of different duration offered, is for kids age 5 to 11. The morning session starts at 9 a.m. and ends at noon; the full-day session also starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. each day.
Both sessions provide hours of immersion in wildlife, along with education and plenty of fun.
A hike and a craft will be offered each day, so parents are asked to dress the young outdoorspersons appropriately for the weather. In addition, all campers should bring an individual snack and drink each day, plus lunch for those who are signed up for the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. extended session.
In addition to other activities, children will be able to feed and handle some of the animals that live in the Nature Center.
The morning session fee is $45 per day, or $150 for the four-day program. The extended session fee is $90 per day or $330 for the four-day program. Registration and payment are required in advance. Registration and payment are required in advance; call 653-4771. For more information, visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org or call 653-4771.
At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.