Tag Archives: Trout Brook Preserve

COVID-19 Roundup: Shopping, Podcast, Yarn Bomb, Trout Brook And More

The other day Janet Nevas stood outside Gold’s, awaiting her order.

Others — spaced appropriately — stood waiting for theirs. She turned to one man, said she was having trouble finding a face mask, and asked where he’d bought his.

Another person stood by her car; her husband sat behind the wheel. Suddenly, he drove away.

The woman told Janet that they’d overheard her conversation. They live around the corner, so he was headed home to bring her a couple of masks.

Janet could not believe someone would do that for a stranger. The woman explained that she had a family member involved in healthcare, so they knew the importance. They were happy to share extra masks.

Soon the man returned, with 4 masks — in a plastic bag — for Janet.

“Unfortunately, I did not get their names,” Janet says. “But I know we in Westport will get through this difficult time together. What a great place to live!”


Urlist Shopping has just opened in Westport.

College students pick up groceries, and deliver the next day (except Sunday).

The website is very user-friendly. You can also text your order to 786-606-0992 or 516-998-6438, or email it to urlistshopping@gmail.com

The site offers shopping options at Stop & Shop and Stew Leonard’s — or “other.” Payment is by Venmo, PayPal, Zelle, check or credit card (3% surcharge for cards).

Urlist charges $20 for orders under $100; $5 delivery fee plus 15% charge on orders between $100 and $200, and a 15% charge (with free delivery) on orders over $200.

Staples High School graduates Zach Feinstein and Uri Cattan say, “We follow extremely strict COVID-19 guidelines when we shop to stay germ-free and healthy. Every driver wears a mask and gloves to ensure that he does not risk safety.”

Urlist shoppers make sure you don’t have to face crowds at local supermarkets.


In these unpredictable times, one thing is certain: Miggs Burroughs comes through.

Among his many side gigs, Westport’s favorite graphic designer hosts a very entertaining podcast with his brother, fellow artist/Staples High School graduate Trace Burroughs.

“Oh, Brother, Not Another Podcast!” is not just the best-named show on the planet. It also informs, educates and enlightens.

Yesterday, the Burroughs boys taped a great show with 3 of Westport’s most important officials: 1st Selectman Jim Marpe, Police Chief Foti Koskinas and Director of Human Services Elaine Daignault. They talk about how they’re responding to the virus, and its impact on our community. Click here to listen.


For a couple of weeks, yarn bombs have been spotted downtown.

Now the idea has spread to Compo Beach. The parking lot may be closed, but walkers, joggers and bikers can enjoy this as they pass by. (Hat tip: Karen Como)


Due to unsafe parking at and usage of Trout Brook Valley on Bradley Road in Weston, the trail system and parking is shut down until further notice. That leaves both Trout Brook and Devil’s Den in Weston closed for public use.


And finally … one of the few items on my bucket list I have not yet accomplished is being invited to Keith Richards’ house to hang. Like many Westporters, my encounters with him have been limited to a few sightings around town.

But on Saturday, I got a glimpse inside his Weston home. Sure, it was via YouTube. Still, it was fun. And the Stones’ message was surely apt, in these COVID-filled days.

No, you can’t always get what you want. But eventually all this will pass. And — because Keith will live forever — there’s still a chance that someday he’ll invite me over.

Jory Teltser Is For The Birds

Jory Teltser is one of Westport’s most passionate birdwatchers.

He’s seen over 250 species in this town alone. He’s taken nearly 100,000 photos. He raises money to help keep the Smith Richardson Preserve, a critical habitat for migrating birds.

And he’s still only a Staples High School junior.

Jory is not just a birder. He plays French horn in the orchestra and band, and this summer will tour Australia with Staples’ elite Orphenians singing group.

But birding — spending hours outdoors, figuring out calls, finding new species, learning everything there is to know about these fantastically varied vertebrates — is what gets him up in the morning.

Often very, very early.

Jory Teltser

Jory’s interest was piqued more than 8 years ago. Tina Green — a photographer and patient of Jory’s internist father — took them both to Sherwood Island. Ten feet away was a saw-whet owl.

“It was the size of a fist, all brown with giant eyes, sitting on a cedar tree staring right at me,” Jory recalls. He was intrigued.

But he did not get serious about the hobby until 4 years ago. Tina took him birdwatching after school, and nearly every weekend. “I saw her more than my parents,” Jory laughs.

Ornithology hooked him for many reasons. The biggest: “It gets me out in nature. I experience things most people never see. It can be relaxing and meditative. It calms you down.”

For a while, Jory admits, he was a stressed-out “serious lister.” He raced all around New England, trying to see as many different species as he could. In middle school and freshman year, he skipped school every couple of months to see a new bird.

A red-breasted merganser (Photo copyright Jory Teltser)

He does that far less often now. The most recent time was early March. The attraction: a varied thrush, in Simsbury. “It was an adult male, with very vibrant colors,” he explains.

But he focuses mainly on Fairfield County. There’s more than enough here to keep him excited.

Jory learns about new species and sightings in several ways. A statewide email listserv has about 1,000 participants. He’s one of 5 high school students (one other is from Staples).

There’s Cornell Ornithology Lab’s eBird database — with customized alerts about species he hasn’t yet seen — and several Facebook groups.

When Jory goes birding, he takes along a serious camera.

Jory is largely self-taught. He’s never read a field guide. But he can identify close to 2,000 species visually, and 1,000 by sound.

Being a musician helps, he notes. “I visualize and internalize notes, pitches, timbres, songs and calls.”

One of Jory’s favorite birding spots is Smith Richardson Preserve. “It’s small, but it might be the premier location in the state,” he says.

On May 12 he’ll raise funds for that site on Westport’s eastern border by taking part in the World Series of Birding. For the 3rd straight year he and 3 teammates (one is from Staples) will travel to Cape May County, New Jersey. Starting at midnight, they’ll spend the next 24 hours tallying as many species as possible, by sight or sound. Sponsors pledge money based on the total.

Last year Jory’s group — the Darth Waders — identified 162 species. That placed them 2nd out of more than 100 teams — beating out even traditional champion Cornell.

Common loon. Cockenoe Island is in the background. (Photo copyright Jory Teltser)

Jory also loves Sherwood Island. “We’re so lucky to have a state park in Westport,” he says. Over the past 60 years, more than 300 species have been seen there. That makes it one of the top 100 birding locations in the entire country — despite not being on an open ocean flight path.

Trout Brook Preserve in Weston is another favorite place. Jory calls it “a runway for birds.”

His favorite bird is the red-breasted nuthatch. It’s small and woodpecker-like, with a blue beak and white eyeline. Its migratory pattern, call, behavior and plumage all intrigue Jory.

Not many teenagers are so taken with anything. He may mention to a friend that he got up at “a godforsaken hour” that morning, but doesn’t often talk about it. When he brings friends along, they generally like the hiking and outdoor aspect. But many don’t have his patience, or ability to weather both the physical and mental stress of birding.

Jory has found plenty of friends in the Connecticut Young Birders Club. He’s in the front row, far left.

Jory is undeterred. He loves what he does. And he looks forward to continuing his work with the Aspetuck Land Trust (he’s on their land management subcommittee).

He may not pursue ornithology as a career. He’s considering science, particularly molecular biology.

But he’ll continue to look for — and listen to — the next species. There are 10,000 in the world.

(To donate to Jory’s World Series of Birding Smith Richardson project, click here. To see some of Jory’s many photos, click here.]