We don’t have a nickname.* But if we did Westport might be called “Ospreyland USA.”
Every spring we go ga-ga when the magnificent raptors return. In the past few years we’ve forced an electric utility, shopping center owner and large corporation to protect nests, move equipment — or else!
So even though our ospreys are wintering down south, we’ll highlight some important news.
The Aspetuck Land Trust owns 2 significant parcels in Sherwood Mill pond. It’s an exceptional habitat for osprey and many other bird species.
There’s long been a well-producing osprey platform on the Allen Salt Marsh Preserve there.
A couple of years ago, the Land Trust dreamed of adding another. Board member Heather Williams asked birder extraordinaire (and fellow Westporter) Tina Green for advice on a suitable spot.
Tina contacted Terry Shaw at Menunkatuck Audubon in Guilford. He donates his time building platforms around the state, and was eager to help. It would be his 99th installation in Connecticut.
Not long ago, on a calm and beautiful morning at high tide, the platform was rowed out in sections, then assembled.
Ready to row out to the site … (Photo/Nancy Moon)
Terry says it was a perfect day, a relatively easy job — and a perfect spot.
This was the 2nd osprey platform Terry built here this year. The other is behind the Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park.
Two years ago he added the replacement platform on the southern end of the pond.
… and the assembled platform. From left: Heather Williams, Terry Shaw, Ed Haesche, Tina Green. (Photo/Deanna Broderick)
Now all we need are the ospreys to come back. Fortunately, they love Westport.
Almost as much as we love them.
* Well, we do, but “Land of Entitled Drivers” is not one we’re proud of.
(To learn more about Aspetuck Land Trust, click here. Hat tip: Nancy Moon.)
This Thursday (July 21, 5 p.m., Zoom session), the Planning & Zoning Commission considers 3 COVID-related items.
Two are text amendments aimed at striking a balance between promoting economic vitality and protecting nearby residents.
One would extend the current temporary outdoor dining regulations through March 31, 2021. The other would allow fitness businesses to use certain outdoor spaces, enabling them to serve clients in a socially distanced way.
In addition, Pierrepont School is seeking to use additional space at 220 Post Road West — across the street from its current home at 1 Sylvan Road North — to provide more social distancing space for its approximately 48 students in grades 7-12, and staff.
The meeting will be livestreamed on www.westportct.gov, and shown on Optimum channel 79 and Frontier channel 6020. Public comments may be sent by noon on Thursday to PandZ@westportct.gov, and during the meeting as well (PandZcomments@westportct.gov. For full details, click here.
Outdoor dining has been successful on Railroad Place.
Yesterday’s Roundup featured a photo of the Fresh Market osprey fledglings.
A bird-watching friend writes about other osprey platforms in town. They include:
Two on the exit road from Longshore. One is along Gray’s Creek at the back of the out-of-town parking lot for the marina. The other is along the exit road just past Gloria’s mooring, opposite the 12th green.
Two are at Sherwood Island. One is north of the Nature Center in the salt marsh between the island and Beachside Commons; the second is on the west side of the island, in the marsh alongside Sherwood Mill Pond, north from the end of the second bridge at the tidal gates,
One more is off Beachside Avenue, east of Burying Hill Beach and Harvey Weinstein’s former home.
All 5 are occupied, and have 2 or 3 hatchlings each. They’re practicing flying and fishing prior to their late summer migration to South America for the winter.
A local osprey nest (Photo/Jen Greely)
Staples High School 2003 graduate Justin Paul has gone on to fame (and many honors) for his off-the-charts songwriting (“Dear Evan Hansen,” “La La Land,” “The Greatest Showman”).
But he has not forgotten his home town. He recently volunteered as a judge for the Norwalk-to-Bridgeport Project Census Throwdown contest, encouraging high school students to write creatively and educationally about the 2020 Census.
Justin was very impressed with the winning rap submission, from Elijah Atkins of Bridgeport’s Bridge Academy. He encouraged Elijah to further explore his gift for lyrical structure and creativity.
Congratulations, Elijah — and thanks, Justin!
A few spots remain for the Earthplace Summer Teen Volunteer Club. Daily activities include animal care, special event preparation, and maintaining the Earthplace private preserve.
Sessions run July 17-August 7, and August 10-21. For information, click here.
The Westport Downtown Merchants Association has decorated the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge downtown with summer-color lights: blue, green and white.
And finally … Happy 72nd birthday, Cat Stevens (Yusuf Islam). There are so many songs to pay him tribute. Here are 3. What’s your pick? Click “Comments” below.
David Pogue is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Unlike most chocolate boxes though, with the Westport tech guru/writer/TV star/jack of all trades, there’s never anything you don’t like.
Yesterday, as part of his regular “CBS Sunday Morning” gig, Pogue poked behind the production of the world’s largest virtual choir.
How do 17,000-plus voices come together in perfect harmony? Click below.
Oh, yeah: Pogue himself was one of the performers. Were there any other Westport connections? If so, click “Comments” below.
Yesterday’s New York Times story on the Rio Grande Valley — where poverty and chronic illness compound the coronavirus — was sad and compelling.
It was made more powerful by the images that accompanied it. They were shot by Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist (and 1991 Staples High School graduate) Lynsey Addario. As always, her images show far more than what is in the frame. Click here for the full Times story. (Hat tip: Kathie Motes Bennewitz)
Nurses surround a coronavirus patient moments after her death. (Photo/Lynsey Addario for the New York Times)
The Fresh Market ospreys continue to fascinate Westporters. Intrepid raptor-watcher Carolyn Doan reports that the 2 fledglings have fledged. Here’s one:
The Westport Library has reopened, with limited service. There’s an alternative, at 95 Kings Highway South.
Sure, the selection is limited. But you don’t have to worry about masks or crowds.
And finally … on this date in 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk walk on the moon. Ten others have followed. The last 2 — Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt — made the journey in 1972.
Posted onJune 15, 2020|Comments Off on Roundup: Reopening; Grad Merch; Ospreys; Music; More
Jillian Elder’s “Finding Westport” is another resource for events around town.
Right now, she’s updating her “What’s Open” list. If you’ve got a retail store, accounting or law firm, insurance or real estate agency, childcare center, landscaping or creative services business, restaurant — or anything else with customers or clients — contact her.
The basic listing is free. There are advertising packages and other options too. Send a brief description, website link, logo and photos to email@example.com, or DM Jillian on Instagram or Facebook @findingwestport.
Staples High School graduates make their marks on the world in many days.
Class of 2009 alum Mike Bowen — known professionally as Mike Waxx — made it in the rap and hip hop world. His Illroots brand then branched out from music and videos to apparel and footwear.
On his custom apparel platform, users add their own text and images to create their own looks. He launched with Travis Scott, and added a COVID charity shirt featuring Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande.
On Friday Waxx released 2020 Grad Merch. To give a gift to a grad, select the school; the logo and stickers are pre-loaded. Just add a picture to the commencement image. Then get creative.
Carolyn Doan reports that 2 little chicks have appeared in the nest near Fresh Market. There may even be a third.
“They were making a lot of noise. Mom looks very proud,” Carolyn says.
We haven’t heard much from Burt Bacharach in years. But he’s back — with a local connection.
Now 92, the legendary songwriter just released “Blue Umbrella.” The 5-song collaboration was recorded in Nashville with Grammy-winning writer/producer Daniel Tashian.
If the last name sounds familiar, it should: Daniel’s father, Barry — the front man for the legendary Remains band — went on to play with the Flying Burrito Brothers and Emmy Lou Harris, among many others. For the past 30 or so years Barry and his wife Holly — Daniel’s mom — have established themselves as great Nashville-based writers and performers.
For a Los Angeles Times story on the Bacharch-Tashian project, click here.
And finally … Otis Redding kicks off the week, with a kick-ass song.
Comments Off on Roundup: Reopening; Grad Merch; Ospreys; Music; More
Time for an osprey update! Carolyn Doan — who for several years has taken magnificent photos of the Fresh Market raptors — reports:
At first glance today I was excited to see the female, but also a bit worried. She looked disheveled, and was definitely having a bad feather day.
However, she stood on the edge of the nest looking inward and down. That’s a good sign that there are probably chicks in there.
As I watched, the male flew in to offer support. He spruced things up a bit by shifting around some outer sticks, and stayed for awhile. After making sure all was well, he flew off again — most likely in search of fish.
I had a lovely conversation with the workers in the parking lot, who offered to call up to a co-worker on the roof to check for chicks.
I didn’t hear back from them, but they suspect there is a family due to lots of noise and the female calling downward — maybe to ask that the noise be kept to a minimum!
Last week’s Photo Challenge featured a Westport favorite: ospreys.
One held a fish under its talons. Both perched on a dock, a wooden duck between them. The scene could have been many places. Where was it exactly?
Off Harbor Road, in Saugatuck Shores. I cropped Mark LaClair’s image so only a few clues were visible: The tip of Stony Point on the left, the Longshore golf driving range on the right. (Click here to see.)
That was enough for Andrea Cross, Tom Risch, Tyler Kupper, Seth Van Beever and Marj Brous. Others hovered in the general vicinity, but were off by a road or direction or two.
This week’s Photo Challenge involves one of the many memorial plaques that we see — but never really look at — all around town.
If you know where this one (with its mysteriously whimsical homage) is located, click “Comments” below.
Every spring, the magnificent raptors return “home.” They build nests at Longshore, Sherwood Mill Pond — and, most visibly, on a utility pole between Fresh Market and Terrain.
Last year though, Regency Centers — the owner of the property — suddenly removed the pole.
It took awhile to untangle who exactly did the deed — the management company or a sub-contractor (who claimed falsely to be Audubon Society workers). They also lacked the required permit from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Then we found out that the illegal osprey nest removal was done prior to Planning & Zoning Commission approval for parking lot renovation work.
A year later, the parking lot project is still underway.
But — as Westport hungers for a bit of good news in the midst of a brutal pandemic — we’ve got some.
The ospreys are back!
Eagle-eyed “06880” reader Carolyn Doan — who took these magnificent photos — reports, “They are doing their mating ritual. She calls out to him from the nest. He brings her food, and sits in a nearby tree. Sometimes he helps tidy up a bit.
“The construction guys who are there love to talk about them,” Carolyn adds. “They fill us in about the activities — what food the male is bringing in (mice, fish), which trees he likes to keep watch in, when she calls out. It’s very sweet.”
Meanwhile though — because every silver lining has a cloud — there is this, from equally alert “06880” reader Dick Stein:
The last tree standing at the Fresh Market shopping plaza was cut down on Wednesday.
The 80-year-old oak sat on state property. The town of Westport had no say.
Joe Agostino, an enthusiastic participant in the STAR program for people with disabilities, is a budding DJ. Tonight (Saturday, March 21. 6:30 to 7 p.m.) he’s hosting a Facebook Live Virtual Dance Party, in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day. Go to Facebook; search for @djjoegetdown — then get down!
Need a delivery of food? Medications? Toilet paper (the holy grail)?
Cup of Sugar can help. Its mission is simple: make deliveries for those who need them.
It’s simple — just click here, then click “Request a Delivery.” I’m not sure who is behind this, but for many people it could be a literal life saver.
She la la in Playhouse Square is closed. But the popular store placed a box by the front door. They’re collecting N95 masks, face shields, wipes and sanitizers for health professionals and first responders. If you’ve got some to spare — give generously!
With shipments coming in to Compo Farm this week and next, “06880” reader Peter Huggins says, “It would be great if people order flowers for delivery both to help a local business survive, and make their homes a little happier in these troubling times.”
Stacey Henske is helping ease isolation, loneliness, fear and anxiety among seniors. Kids, teenagers, adults — anyone — can write poetry, letters, short stories, essays, cards, illustrations or anything else that can be slipped under a door.
They can be dropped in a bin by the front door at 10 Poplar Plains Road, off Wilton Road. If you can’t leave the house, email firstname.lastname@example.org; she’ll arrange for pickup. PS: Please don’t lick any envelopes!
Logan Goodman is a Bedford Middle School 8th grader with a great business customizing sneakers. Some designs are her own; others are based on famous artists’ works.
With time on her hands, she’s eager for work. Check out her Instagram (@lacedbylogan), then DM her for details.
The UPS store at 606 Post Road East next to Dunkin Donuts is considered an “essential business.” It remains open, offering printing, scanning, faxing and notary. For anyone working from home, those services can be truly essential.
Starbucks may or may not be an “essential business.” But dozens of Westporters believe it is.
They’ve voted with their feet — well, their tires. This was the scene on the Post Road at 10:45 this morning.
Gotta have that quad long shot grande in a venti cup half calf double cupped no sleeve salted caramel mocha latte with 2 pumps of vanilla substitute 2 pumps of white chocolate mocha for mocha and substitute 2 pumps of hazelnut for toffee nut half whole milk and half breve with no whipped cream extra hot extra foam extra caramel drizzle extra salt add a scoop of vanilla bean powder with light ice — well stirred!
Not long ago, Westporter James Mapes created a 2-disk toolkit, all about helping users manage stress.
In these stressful times, he’s giving away the download to the first 20 healthcare workers who email him (email@example.com). Include your affiliation, please. For more info, click here.
Now — thanks to Cantor and Denton, and their desire to bring a bit of rock joy into socially isolated America — you can relive (or learn about) those amazing days.
They’ve made it available — free — on YouTube. Just click below.
And even if you’re quarantined in your room, start dancing.
Running out of things to do? Board games are great — and right around the corner.
Looking for educational toys for your schooling-in-place child? They’re right around the corner too.
Amazing Toys in Compo Shopping Center offers curbside service. So does Age of Reason on Post Road West — and they deliver (within reason). Just call ahead!
Hank May’s Tire & Auto Centers offer curbside drop-off and pick up. Call ahead to be checked in by phone. Cars can also be dropped off before or after hours. Leave keys and information in the night drop box; they’ll call back.
This has absolutely nothing to with the coronavirus, other than raising everyone’s spirits when we need it most.
Alert “06880” reader Lynn Wilson reports that the ospreys are back at Fresh Market!
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