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Saturday, 10 December 2011 00:00

Flying Finish

What a night.  It started with Seatuck's annual Holiday Potluck at the nature center.  An amazing collection of food and desserts, great people and fantastic music from Bob Pinnola and Mike Immerman (the "acoustic" Suburban Brothers!).  During the party, I also had the great pleasure of giving our annual volunteer award (the Good Tern Award) to two of my favorite people: Peter and Noreen DiMento.  It was certainly a well-deserved honor, as they are simply two of the most important parts of the Seatuck family.

Then, to top off the night ... after getting home and heading out to walk my dog, Jackson, I had - for the first time in my life - the incredible experience of seeing a flying squirrel in flight ... twice!  

I was standing under the glow of a streetlight in the middle of an intersection waiting for Jackson to finish sniffing around a tree when some motion right in front of me caught my eye.  I looked up to see something drift across the dim light and disappear around the side of a large oak.  My first thought was woodpecker because it flew horizontally at first, then slowed down and straightened up to near vertical as it got close to the tree. Everything about the motion said woodpecker, but it was the middle of the night - it couldn't be.  And sure enough, when I moved around the tree for a better view there was a flying squirrel climbing up the trunk!  It was unmistakeable: big black eyes, crisp white under its chin and body, and that cute tail.  And just in case there was any doubt, it climbed a bit more and then launched off again, effortlessly gliding across a front yard to the trunk of another large oak.  It was such a beautifully unexpected thing to see that it literally gave me the chills.  There, in the middle of my densely developed Long Island neighborhood, was a wild flying squirrel going about its nightly rounds. You just never know when Mother Nature is going to treat you, do ya?  It was the perfect ending to a wonderful night.

- Enrico

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