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How’s The Water: February 1, 2013

Winter has arrived with a vengeance. The forecast is for warmer weather to return, but it is currently 14°. At this time, it is perhaps nice to stay indoors and prepare for the warmer weather ahead by listening to sounds of the natural world. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is a tremendous resource not only to birders, but to all those people interested in the natural world.  

The Cornell Lab’s Macaulay Library is the world’s largest and oldest archive of natural sounds and video.  Its mission is “to collect and preserve recordings of each species’ behavior and natural history, to facilitate the ability of others to collect and preserve such recordings, and to actively promote the use of these recordings for diverse purposes spanning scientific research, education, conservation, and the arts.” The library has completed an effort to fully digitize its 150,000 audio recordings, which represents close to 9,000 species. The primary emphasis is on birds, but the lab also has sounds of whales, primates, great cats, frogs and other animals.  

The database is easily searchable by species name. In its press release, Cornell mentioned some of the highlights of the library. Among them are the very earliest recording, made of a Song Sparrow in 1929, and the sound made by an ostrich chick while still in the egg!  If you are yearning for the tropics, there is a recording of the dawn chorus in Queensland, Australia. The call of a common loon on an Adirondack lake makes me eager to visit my family’s camp, where I have heard the loons calling many times just like the calls in the library.

Many of the sounds almost seem like they are not issued by an animal. The call of an indri (a lemur) is described as “Best candidate to appear on a John Coltrane record.” And what does a Curl-crested Manucode sound like?  What is a Curl-crested Manucode? The Macaulay Library can be found at http://macaulaylibrary.org. The Cornell Lab is at http://www.birds.cornell.edu. Both of these sites are tremendous resources for those interested in the the natural world.

News

On Saturday, July 5, Building J on the Western Waterfront was opened to the public for a free concert of classical music played by talented youth in the Oyster Bay Music Festival. The acoustics in the large metal shed were lively as the backdrop of the Ida May, a wooden oyster dredge under construction, lent artisanal flavor to the rich stew of mostly sea-related musical selections. People sat on stacks and benches of freshly milled wood or stood in the cavernous space. They soaked in beautiful solos, duets and trios that combined voice, piano, flute, cello and violin. Frank M Flower & Sons provided fresh oysters that engaged the palate, and representatives from Steinway & Sons gave a quick overview of how their pianos are made, relating several aspects of their meticulous process to the construction of the Ida May.

Last week was one of Oyster Bay’s biggest, most anticipated summer events, the Italian American Society’s St. Rocco’s Festival. Returning to its usually spot in Fireman’s Field on Shore Avenue, the festival was filled with amusement rides, live music, and great food and company.

“We come every year to St. Rocco’s with friends,” said Laura Regan of East Norwich. “The rides and awesome food make it a lot of fun.”


Sports

Oakcliff’s intensive training program provided a high level of competition last weekend at the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship in Oyster Bay.

This year, the teams selected for the event were highly ranked through the United States, and several of the competitors are past and current Oakcliff trainees, including Elizabeth Shaw, Kathryn Shiber, Madeline Gill, and Danielle Gallo.

A total of 11 members of St. Dominic Track Team (grades 1-8) recently medaled at the Nassau-Suffolk CYO Championship Finals at Mitchel Field. In the finals, the athletes competed against the finalists from all three regions, representing more than 2,500 athletes from 23 other parishes.

In addition to the student athletes’ success, the track coaches were honored as well. St. Dominic CYO Track coaches Phil Schade (grades 1-3), Julie and Mike Keffer (grades 4-6) and Rich Cameron (grades 7-8) were selected by peer coaches in their region for the NSCYO Team Sportsmanship Award. The Saint Dominic CYO track program, in its second year, has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with and the young runners are among the best on Long Island.


Calendar

OB Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 23

Music Under The Stars

Friday, July 25

Annual Chicken BBQ

Saturday, July 26



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com