Water Mill Community Notes, June 20

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For years, many of us have passed by the osprey pole that juts from the land once owned by the Zaluskis and that is now part of the polo farm adjacent to it. We waited anxiously for the return of the adult osprey and watched as they brought food to their young, recently hatched in the nest that sits on top of the pole.One of those osprey-watchers, Harriet Hellman, called me on Thursday morning concerned that the nest was no longer atop the pole. I immediately called the closest person I know to the nest, Joan Zaluski, who got back to me right away with confirmation that, in fact, the nest was off the pole, and that she could see two large osprey attempting to rebuild it. I hung up and contacted Group for the East End, which, in turn, called the local wildlife rescue organization.

The level of concern so many people had for the osprey was just incredible. At some point, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was called by the Evelyn Alexander Wildlife Rescue Center in Hampton Bays because the volunteers there needed help gaining access to the property where the osprey pole is situated.

The caretaker of that property is Duane Arnister and he was called while DEC Police Officer Don Damrath made his way over to the site in Water Mill. Meanwhile, Duane attempted to check on the fledglings, now on the ground, but he could not get very close because one of the adult ospreys was dive-bombing him to protect its offspring.

When Officer Damrath arrived, along with Jack Corcoran, a raptor handler from the wildlife center, he drove his vehicle close to the pole, which kept the adult osprey a bit farther away. Now able to get close enough to the nest, it was clear that one of the fledglings was dead and two were alive. The nest, unfortunately, was not salvageable. Jack took the fledglings to the wildlife center, the dead fledgling for an autopsy and the live fledglings for evaluation and care.

Unfortunately, at the wildlife center, one of the fledgings succumbed to its injuries. One was well enough to return to a makeshift nest that was constructed by the wildlife volunteers out of a basket and some of the natural materials left over from the old nest. By the way, it’s worth noting that one of the problems with osprey nests is that the birds are using plastic grocery bags as part of the construction and these end up making the nests watertight and sometimes the babies drown. Another clear reason to stop using those bags.

Several people are keeping an eye on the nest and I hear that the adults have returned to feed the youngster and hopefully there will be a happy ending. Eventually, the pole will be moved to a more stable and secure location on the property.

In other local news, five Water Mill residents trekked 35 miles on June 8 and 9 for a good cause—breast cancer—as members of Team Heaven Can Wait in the Long Island 2-Day Walk. Hats off to Abby Cummings and Natalie Cummings, both still in high school, their mom Julie Cummings-Bosch, Susie Barry Roden and Mary Willets. Last year, team Heaven Can Wait brought back $10,000 to the community and they hope to top that this year. Donations can still be made on the team Heaven Can Wait page at www.li2day.org.

The Water Mill Museum will open its 21st annual art show and sale on Thursday, June 20. More than 75 fine works of art ranging from sculpture to photography to oils and pastels are on display. A brunch reception will be held on Sunday, June 23, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

While there you can also take a peek at the history exhibits on display.

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