Cold snap in January brought so-called slurpee waves as slushy cold water rolled in. Jeanna Shepard

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Natural highlights for the year that was included a pod of about 150 dolphins frolicking not far off Menemsha and filmed by the Finkelstein family. Grasshopper sparrows returned after a long absence to the plains of Katama, a possible sign of ecological health, while a brown booby was spotted in Menemsha, another avian sign of global warming as territories move ever northward for many species, including kudzu, an invasive plant discovered this year in West Tisbury.

Cattle egrets enjoyed a respite near Middle Road, a cold stunned  loggerhead turtle was saved just before Thanksgiving, and a leatherback turtle was saved earlier in the season after being entangled in a lobster pot.

Sheriff’s Meadow introduced a trail app to help hikers know where they are in the woods, along with its Take a Break campaign to put benches along the paths for weary walkers.

On the downside, Ice House Pond was closed much of the summer due to high bacteria counts and the plight of the Right Whale population continues to be in jeopardy.

Polly Hill Arboretum unveiled its list of 20 iconic trees to mark its 20th anniversary and the Mill Pond Watershed study was released.

Old friends visited too, like the snowy owl, one of whom extended its stay into June.

Squibnocket Beach enjoyed a makeover to its beach and parking lot as the surf continued to beckon as well as the woods and ponds and inlets of the Island outdoors.




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