BASICS: Long Island gets hummingbirds throughout the summer, but not many. The Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary and Garden may be the best place on the island to see them.
However we are ONLY open certain dates/times, typically in august only, and ONLY by appointment, at specific "slot" times which are posted at this blog.

You need a printed, dated SIGNED WAIVER, which will be sent to you to confirm your appointment, along with directions and instructions. We are always closed 12.30-3. You visit AT YOUR OWN RISK - there are steep narrow uneven paths and dilapidated chairs and structures, and parking is limited: carpool if possible. Be careful not to trespass on neighbors, as indicated by ropes and signs. Hand-held cameras only please, except by previous arrangement. There is no admission charge BUT YOU MUST BRING a signed dated liability waiver form. Dated waiver forms are provided only by request, in conjunction with your appointment. Private groups (eg photographers, birders, gardeners) can request their own dedicated session.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pete shows up after sunset?

The last few days I've only seen Fred, the dominant male. But last night after this sunset:

a male showed up at a feeder near the front deck that seemed more hesitant that Fred, who is always very quick and certain. Pete?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fred pays a call of nature; sunset; where to get good hummingbird plants; Nest Cam

Fred continues to spend times, and pennies, on his favorite perch:

Yesterday was a clear cool evening (woodstove still going). Here is the sunset:

And here is a west-east panorama just after sunset.

In my last post I wrote that the best (and only specialized) place for hummingbird-friendly plants is Long Island Hummingbird Plants. Bill Koller knows what works, since he gets hummers in his yard. But many of the plants centers and nurseries on the island carry good hummer-plants. However, you must be careful to remember that the sales staff might not know what is best. For example, they might have seen a hummer visiting a geranium, petunia or impatiens in their yard, and recommend these plants. However, the key is to see what hummers PREFER not what they visit. They will also visit bits of red tape, but I don't recommend you festoon your yard with red tape - the flower has to reward the hummer with nectar (preferably lots of it), ortherwise he won't come back.

That being said here are a few of my other favorite places, mostly either near Baiting Hollow or Stony Brook.

Peconic River Herb Farm (Calverton)
Beds and Borders (wholesale, but with a retail outlet in Laurel, and wide distribution).
Colorful Gardens (wide distribution, and an outlet in Jamesport)
Long Island Perennial Farm (Baiting Hollow)
Kunz (Port Jeff)
B & G (St James)
Homeside Florist (Tropicals, Riverhead)
Olde Towne Gardene of Setaukete
Trimbles (Cutchogue)
Lynch's Garden Center (Southhampton)
Marders (Bridgehampton).

I'll soon write about more, and also give specific plants recommendations (see also

Here's a cool live webcam showing 2 babies in a hummingbird nest in California (see also link in right column of this blog):

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Fred's second favorite perch; Another type of flowering maple; A visit to Long Island Hummingbird Plants

Here's a video of Fred on his second favorite perch, in a wild cherry that's about to bloom - though he spends much less time here than at his favorite spot. You can see Old Field Point, 23 miles away, on the horizon. Immediately after I filmed him, he shifted back to his favorite perch.

Also today, a very kind friend who overwinters some of my tropicals in a greenhouse she has access to brought a first batch to the sanctuary, including several in full bloom: a yellow angel trumpet (Brugmansia), a shrimp plants (hummer ***) and a flowering maple (abutilon), also an excellent (**) hummer plant. Thanks Rosa for taking such good care of these full-grown babies. Here's a view of the abutilon.

You can get both shrimp plant and abutilon - and a whole host of other superb hummer favorites, at Bill Koller's "Long Island Hummingbird Plants", located in Medford near exit 64 of the LIE. In particular, during my visit there 2 days ago, I saw he has treasures such as Coral Honeysuckle "Major Wheeler", many salvias, cardinal flower,  Mina lobata, and best of all Lavender, Purple and Pink Porterweed, which he propagates himself. Definitely the best place on Long Island for hummingbird shopping!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Shep Jones wakes up; Bahama Woodstar Hummingbird filmed the day I fell ill.

back on may 5 I filmed parts of the Avalon preserve that lies on both sides of Shep Jones Lane, the dirt road that links 25A in Saint James to Harbor Rd in Head of the Harbour (see,+St+James,+NY+11780/@40.9079909,-73.1515259,1042m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m2!3m1!1s0x89e83932f7c4835b:0xfd0f7483f3b129d9)/ Here are some of the results.

I'm in Stony Brook and have no fresh hummer vids from Baiting Hollow, so here's a movie I shot april 4 at Calypso, Eleuthera, the day I fell sick. It shows a male bahama woodstar (note the purple gorget) feeding at firecracker (Russellia equisetiformis), which is abundant in my large garden there. Shortly after I took to my bed, where I languished for 10 days before returning urgently to the US.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Southold Mile-Posts; Fred posing in morning light

This is the first of a series of old granite mile markers that record the distance along the "King's Hwy" (now Route 25) from Suffolk Court House ("CH"), in what is now Riverhead, Long Island. These may have been positioned by Ben Franklin when he was Postmaster General under George III. The ones in Riverhead have, not surprisingly, all disappeared, but the ones in Southold still exist. The first in a series of videos featuring these mileposts. This one is located near the southern end of Aldrich Lane, on the south side of Franklinville Rd, in the front yard of the beautiful and historic Cleaves-Kuester House (circa 1703). It's just behind the front fence. On the other side of the house lies busy Route 25. You can just about make out the "Suffolk" but the mileage above and the "C.H." below have been effaced by the many elapsed years. It would be a wonderful project to re-create the missing Riverhead markers, in or near their proper place, even if most of them end up in Gas Stations and Seven Elevens.
Here's an interesting article about whether the mile stones were indeed installed by Ben Franklin:

Fred's on his habitual lookout. Here I filmed him in morning light, with the sun in the southeast. 2X slo mo. At the end he takes off, and in another short clip I show this take-off in much slower motion.
I modified my set-up slightly so I no longer have to climb on the rickety table, though the tripod/camera are still there, 40 feet away from Fred's perch.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

2 females battle it out in Manorville

Dominick has posted this wonderful video of 2 female hummingbirds fighting over his feeders in Manorville. One of them is presumably Lady Di (the female who successfully nested in Dominick's backyard last year), and I will call the other one Camilla (for reasons that will be obvious to Brits and those Americans who follow the antics of the British royals; see for example Notice that although there are several feeders, each with several ports, they absolutely will not share.

Dominick has also posted the following cool vid of one of his ladies feeding at a window feeder.

Makes one want to move to Manorville!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Paul's favorite perch; what's in flower?

My last 2 posts have feature's Fred's favorite perch at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary. Funnily enough my favorite perch looks out over the same wonderful view - what I call the western valley, really a more a dell or dingle (in Scotland a glen). But it's not on a thin dead twig at the top of a 50 foot maple, but instead at the northwest corner of the front deck of the front cabin "Seagull Lodge". This spot overlooks both the full extent of the little wooded valley that runs in a southerly direction, and also Long Island Sound 150 feet below - all the way from Old Field Point 25 miles to the west, and Orient Point 25 miles to the east, encompassing the widest part of the Sound. In the usual humidity of summer one cannot (rather thankfully) see the coast and mountains of Connecticut. Furthermore one cannot see another house anywhere in view! From this position I can sometimes see hummingbird mating dances, for which it's a preferred location. And of course the spring and summer sunsets are spectacular. Of course I'm not really looking for potential mates, just enjoying the unrivaled (at least on Long Island) panorama. Here are 2 quick vids.

And here are some videos featuring some of the things that were blooming at the sanctuary yesterday, of which the native columbine Aquilegia canadensis is the best hummer flower. I'm currently in Stony Brook (morning duties at the University and a shopping trip to Ikea with Claire to pick up some Applaro garden seats for the sanctuary and a new bright red sofa for Stony Brook) and taking advantage of the much better bandwidth here to upload movies to YouTube.

Fred on his favorite perch, in evening light

He's on his favorite perch, 40 feet away, with the evening sun illuminating his back. Baiting Hollow.
2X slo mo.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Fred on his favorite perch, 40 feet away but close-up

Fred is the dominant male hummingbird at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary. His favorite perch, where he spends more than 50% of his time, is near the dead tip-top of a red maple tree, that's probably about 50 feet high. From this spot he can watch several of his feeders, but above all the whole of the western valley beneath him. Luckily though the maple is tall, the base is about 30 feet below the upper garden and the decks. But that still means he's 20 feet above me, and my closest approach is 40 feet away. Furthermore, he's silhouetted against the silvery sky. The maple is also somewhat concealed behind a tall oak. However I've found that I've a clear view of this perch from the side deck of the back cabin, below which the ground falls abruptly down more than 50 feet. Nevertheless even from this vantage point he's still silhouetted against the sky. Furthermore, because he's 40 feet from me, I have to use my 1.5 X teleconverter lens on my Vixia G30, in addition to the standard 20X zoom plus the 2X digital zoom, for a total zoom of 60X! Even if I carefully brace my arms against the armrests of a good chair, there's still too much camera shake at that high magnification. So I have to use a tripod (my trusty, and slightly rusty after 20 years, old Bogen). To reduce the silhouetting problem, I have to get the viewpoint quite high above the deck (about 10 feet) so I've put the fully extended tripod on top of an old rather wobbly table that's on the deck. From this higher viewpoint (about level with the hummer) I can see the bird outlined not against the sky but against the woods on the other side of the valley. I have to climb on top of this ricketty table to set the focus. Once focussed, I can wait a short while for him to show up, always exactly at the same spot, and then press the "roll" button. Here's the first result. It's not quite in focus on the bird (the depth of field is only a few inches), and the lighting is not good (the sun was near it's zenith and slightly behind the bird) but not too bad for an initial attempt. You can see the ruby-red throat, though it's not exactly flashing, because of the bad lighting. He sometimes takes off briefly to catch an insect, out of view, but often quickly returns. 2X slo-mo.

Prince Charming in Manorville

Dominick sent me this cool photo:

Here at the sanctuary activity has died down: I'm seeing males and females (possibly only Fred and Suzy) very briefly and individually, either perching, feeding at my widely scattered feeders, or zipping . I suspect that Fred has driven Pete away.
Lilacs and crabapple in magnificent bloom, as well as columbines and wonderfully fragrant daphnes. Will post videos soon.