Notes from Quogue

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With the weather we’ve been treated to starting on Sunday of this week, I think we have to acknowledge that spring has finally, beautifully sprung. And what better way to celebrate this beautiful season’s arrival than a walk on the trails of the Quogue Wildlife Refuge?

The perennially popular May Walks program has returned to the Refuge, and there are two coming up on the next two Saturdays, May 10 and May 17, starting at 9:30 a.m. on both days. All ages are welcome to venture forth with a Refuge staffer and see what changes spring is bringing to the lovely unspoiled landscape of this jewel in the crown of Quogue’s ecological splendor. For reservations; call 653-4771.

This Saturday, May 10, the walk will likely wind up in plenty of time for strollers age 6 to 10 to join other nature lovers their age for a QWR program on hummingbirds, from 11 to 11:45 a.m. Participants will learn all about these tiny avian creatures, check out some real hummingbird nests, and then make their own hummingbird feeder to take home and hang in their yards.

These easy-to-make feeders—everyone needs to bring an empty plastic bottle with a cap—will serve as an invitation to native ruby throated hummingbirds to come and hover magically in your yard. Reservations are required for this program, which is free for Refuge members, or $3 for non-members.

And everyone should mark their calendars for the Tuesday, May 20, Full Moon Hike at the Refuge at 7:30 p.m. when possible wildlife sightings (and hearings) could include peepers and woodcocks and owls, to name just a few. Each exploration at the Refuge is different, and one never knows what Mother Nature will present. Join us for a hike up to North Pond as we look and listen for nocturnal creatures, and enjoy some night vision activities. The walk will last approximately 1½ hours. Reservations required 24 hours prior. A free program for adults and families with children ages 11 and older.

While we’re on the topic of the beauty—and the drama—of nature all around us, it’s time to consider once again the vernal activities of those magnificent marine arthropods, the horseshoe crabs. This is their mating season, and there are typically scores of them stranded on and around Dune Road by receding waters after a full moon high tide.

But spring tides also accompany the new moon, and when I was driving to work on the barrier strand one morning this week, I saw a few scattered along the way, in tidal puddles on the road or stuck in the marsh grass some 15 to 20 yards from the water’s edge. After I drove past about a dozen of the hapless, no-evolution-necessary-for-400-million-years creatures, I couldn’t take the sorrow and the pity anymore and I had to pull over and rescue a couple.

Of course, then I was in a bind: How do you save some and turn your back on all the others you see on the soggy walk from the road to the edge of the bay? So there I was, a curious sight for passersby to be sure, in my coat and tie and completely inappropriate footwear, walking back and forth across the marsh with a horseshoe crab in either hand, until I had cleared my purposefully limited field of vision and could proceed eastward with a clear conscience.

I only mention this because if any local residents share my sympathy for the randy and inadvertently landlocked prehistoric spiketails, it’s a simple matter to cruise the DR and pick a few up and return them to their estuarine paradise. Just remember to wear galoshes.

Credit the Quogue School PTA for having an excellent sense of timing, choosing to sponsor a flower and plant sale at the school on Friday, May 9, smack in the middle of prime planting time and just before Mother’s Day. Prices will range from $2 to $12. Children and parents will be able to purchase plants before dismissal as well as after school.

Students in pre-k through first grade can buy plants at their dismissal times; grades two through six will be scheduled separately. The sale will be held in front of the school building, weather permitting.

Today, Thursday, is the day for the Save The Dunes and Beaches Foundation educational meeting in New York City to discuss the status of the Quogue dunes and beach and efforts to protect them. Look for coverage in next week’s paper to see how it all shook out.

And don’t forget that the date for the annual State of the Village address to the Quogue Association by Mayor George Motz at the Community Hall will be held this year on May 17 at 10:30 a.m. All residents are encouraged to attend.

Calendars should also be marked for the date of this summer’s Quogue Association party at the Village Beach: July 12.

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