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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

Driving rain and an early start time did not deter 600 people who arrived at Crest Hollow Country Club recently to celebrate the Women’s Fund of Long Island’s 20th year and to honor four exceptional women.

The breakfast started with a meet and greet and a chance to showcase Women’s Fund contest winner Patti Hogarty, designer of “Women as Bamboo.” Inspired by her neighbor’s bamboo, she entered the contest drawing a design of the bamboo, which Ambalu Jewelers of Roslyn then turned into various pendants of which 40-percent of the profits would go to WFLI. Hogarty wrote a short essay comparing women to bamboo in that they are strong and can weather difficult storms, yet remain graceful and continue to grow sending out new shoots.

Oyster Bay High School Principal Dr. Dennis O’Hara addressed the board of education at Tuesday night’s meeting about offering a summer school program at the high school. It would be the first time the district had a summer school program in more than 12 years.

Dr. O’Hara explained that with the institution of the Common Core state standards, students are faced with a greater level of academic rigor and more challenging coursework. The program would offer remedial and enrichment classes for students both in and out of district.


Sports

In the history of Oyster Bay High School athletics, no one has ever won a Girls’ Tennis New York State Championship. Celeste Matute and Courtney Kowalsky became the first when they won the 2014 New York State Doubles Championship in Latham on Nov. 3. What makes this tremendous achievement even more remarkable is that Matute is a junior and Kowalsky is a sophomore.

The girls, who are usually singles players, teamed up to take on the very best players in Nassau County and New York State. They won all 10 matches in the section XIII and NYSPHSAA tournaments and left Latham as the 2014 New York State doubles champions.

The conditions were as fierce as the competition earlier this month at Oakcliff Sailing’s Halloween Invitational.

Ten teams from the U.S., Canada and Bermuda battled 30-knot-plus winds, heavy rain and biting cold to see who would take top honors at Oakcliff’s final match racing event of the 2014 season.


Calendar

Raingarden Workshop

Wednesday, November 19 & Thursday, November 20

Informative Hospital Talk

November November 20

Opera Night

Sunday, November 23



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