The catbird, towhee and Baltimore oriole have returned to my backyard. And, although it is not a welcome guest at my bird feeder, the brown-headed cowbird is back as well. According to my Google resources, the cowbird was confined to the open grasslands of middle North America, where it followed herds of bison, feeding on insects that were stirred up in the herds’ wake. Hence its name—cowbird.
Because the cowbird is what is called a nest parasite, it has had a distinct impact on some species. Instead of building nests, the female cowbird puts all of its energy into producing eggs, sometimes more than three dozen in a summer! It lays these in the nests of other birds, usually at the expense of the host’s own chicks. If you happen to see a little song sparrow feeding a fledgling that is two times its size, you are probably a witness to this natural phenomenon.
Happy birthday to you, Katherine Constantopoulos. Katherine’s day to shine is next week, on Tuesday, May 21. And Ryan Holzman’s big day falls on Wednesday, May 22.
A champagne toast to Katherine Baucum and Michael Nogueras! The happy couple is engaged to be married next June.
A big shout-out for Priscilla Quiroz! Priscilla was the recent recipient of a 2013 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence from the State University of New York. Priscilla is a criminal justice student at Suffolk County Community College’s Eastern Campus. The award, created in 1997, recognizes students who have excelled in community service, leadership, athletics, creative and performing arts, campus involvement or career achievement. Nice going, Priscilla!
A tip of the toque blanche (chef hat) to Luke Gustafson! Luke was the first-place winner in the fifth annual High School Student Chef Competition held last week at Suffolk County Community College’s Culinary Arts Center in Riverhead. Luke’s winning dish was chicken with tomato and mushroom sauce, garlic mashed potatoes, and seared string beans. A senior at Hampton Bays High School, Luke is also enrolled in the Eastern Suffolk BOCES culinary program. In addition, Luke works as a line cook at Oakland’s Restaurant. As the winner of the competition, Luke will receive a scholarship to attend SCCC’s Culinary Arts and Hospitality degree program. Well done!
The Hampton Bays Historical and Preservation Society is having an “Art on the Lawn” event this weekend on Saturday, May 18, and Sunday, May 19, on the grounds of the Prosper King House, which is located at 116 West Montauk Highway. The art show and sale will feature local artists including Jacqueline Maloney, Mike Meehan, John Stuart, Pamela Thompson, James Wightman and James Witker. An exhibit of quilts from the society’s archives also will be on display.
Hampton Art Space is having its first-ever “Pottery Showdown” painting contest. All ages are welcome to compete using the theme “Summer 2013.” There’s a $15 entry fee ($20 for take-home), and that includes paint, choice of plate or trivet, and firing. Entries must be completed by June 1. To learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call (631) 594-3120, or just stop in at the shop at 21 West Montauk Highway.
On The Calendar
Monday, May 20: Hampton Bays Civic Association monthly meeting, 7 p.m., Town of Southampton Community Center, 25 Ponquogue Avenue. With the school budget vote on May 21, this is an opportunity to meet and speak with Superintendent Lars Clemensen, Business Facilities Manager Larry Luce and School Board candidates Rich Joslin, Adam Ortiz and Kevin Springer.
Monday, May 20: Hampton Bays Middle School EARTH Club “Dining to Donate” at Francesca’s Restaurant. For a flier, log on to the website www.hbschools.us/our_schools/middle_school, or you can pick one up at any of the schools.
Thursday, May 23: Free Educational Workshop on Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias, 1 to 2 p.m., Hampton Bays Public Library. RSVP to Home Instead Senior Care at (631) 594-3470.
Saturday, June 1: Hampton Bays Beautification Association’s annual Garden Party and Silent Auction, 1 to 4 p.m., Cowfish Restaurant. Admission is $40 per person, and that includes wine, beer, hors d’oeuvres, a light buffet, dessert and coffee. Tickets are on sale at Fandango, Erika’s and Village Real Estate.