Winter outings

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Many East End residents have not discovered the pleasures of getting outdoors during our winter months. There are many interesting natural phenomena that are unique to our winter season, and they should not be missed!

Winter birding here is excellent, particularly along our coastal areas, where a wide variety of seabirds is easy to observe. Join one of our expert birders on a winter birding trip to Montauk Point or Shinnecock Bay. Hugh McGuinness leads a winter outing for the South Fork

Natural History Society, and Steve Biasetti does one for the Group for the East End. SOFO also hosts night outings in search of salamanders beginning in late February through March (www.sofo.org/naturewalks.asp). Biasetti also leads a fun program in late March observing the courtship ritual of the American woodcock (www.eastendenvironment.org/explorations.html).

A visit to one of the seal haulout areas on eastern Long Island can be an unforgettable experience. A list of guided trips led by

naturalists can be found at www.cresli.org and mikebottini.com.

If you’d like to just get out and explore a different trail, consider joining one of the many weekly hikes sponsored by our local trail groups. Ken Kindler’s website www.hike-li.org/ has links to them all.

Mike Bottini is a naturalist and author of “The Southampton Press Trail Guide to the South Fork,” “Exploring East End Waters: A Natural History and Paddling Guide,” and “The Walking Dunes: East Hampton’s Hidden Treasure.” Check www.peconic.org for Mike’s field naturalist classes.

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