Walking the grassy trails along South Beach and Whistler Ave. this time of year, you’re bound to find a bird feather or three.

Dr. Adam Mitchell explains:

“As a rule, most birds will molt at least once a year—some do so for migration, and others do so to replace damaged feathers with age. The kind of feathers that are replaced can determine the difference between juvenile and adulthood.”

This local resident pheasant won’t be strutting so proudly around the Parade Grounds these weeks. Shedding its long colorful plumage, it prefers basking in the lazy days of summer.

From the Field, Field Note by Justine Kibbe, July 10, 2019

It’s not uncommon to hear Barred owls in broad daylight here on Fishers Island.

Ever so curious of the view below, this youngster is getting to know the neighborhood and shaded woods near Silver Eel Cove. Passersby can hear its call to “Mom” these July days.

From the Field, Field Note by Justine Kibbe, July 8, 2019

Off the tip of Race Point is where you’ll find healthy marine habitat, especially with the continuous flush of churning tides.

Bladder wrack (shown) is actually a brown algae. While providing shelter for Tautog (blackfish), this seaweed species also provides food to many organisms that live in Fishers Island Sound, including hungry harbor seals.

From the Field, Field Note by Justine Kibbe, July 5, 2019

Like Mother nature’s necklace…
Gossamer strands of translucent dew droplets sway in delicate fog.

Transfer Station, Fishers Island

*Please recycle….

From the Field, Field Note by Justine Kibbe, July 5, 2019

These very still and hazy early mornings of summer are just the thing for deep diving double-crested cormorants. Waterlogged feathers actually help these birds dive deeper for fish, while low tide’s rock clumps assist with their “drip-dry”.

Southside, Fishers Island

From the Field, Field Note Justine Kibbe, June 29, 2019

For the first time ever, I saw 8-10 piping plovers (adult and growing chicks) scurrying around “together” on Sanctuary of Sands.

Fishers Island’s piping plover chicks were born in two separate hatchings on Sanctuary of Sands and near the Race Point Parking area in late May.

In 2014 and 2015, I spotted only a single piping plover at the Big Club Beach and had documented none on the West End. How exciting to see “our” piping plover community expanding!

The New York Times recently reported that Fire Island’s piping plover population has nearly doubled since Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012. Sand and seawater washed over the island during the storm, and the combination of new sand flats and coastal repair increased plover habitat by 50 percent. (Piping plovers like to nest on dry flat sand close to the shoreline.)

From the Field, Field Note Justine Kibbe June 26, 2019