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.
We are ONLY open certain dates/times, typically in august only, and ONLY by specific private appointment, at particular "slot" times 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 approval, instructions and directions. Private groups (eg photographers, birders, gardeners) can request their own dedicated session. No visits of any type without a confirmed appointment.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Brookgreen and Caypso Gardens

It's too wet and gray to film today, so here's a very recent photo, taken by Bridgette Kistinger, at one of my favorite gardens, Brookgreen, near Myrtle Beach, S.C. It shows a male hummingbird feeding Salvia guaranitica. It's followed by 2 photos from my trip with Claire to Brookgreen in 2012. And then I show 3 clips shot just before we left Calypso (another favorite garden of mine, literally). These features various frangipani blooms (red, pink and yellow, a.k.a plumeria, which were coming into full flower as we left.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Today's videos; red horsechestnut

The first vid shows Fred taking off from his favorite perch. 2X slo-mo

The second shows Fred, in a rear view, perching on a branch hanging over the back deck.

This afternoon I was sitting in the lower garden, taking a break from planting a batch of Salvia involucrata "Bethellii" which I obtained from the Colorful Garden (a local wholesaler whose great flowers are widely available in retail stores throughout Long Island, including their Jamesport retail store). Some of you may remember that around this time last year I was featuring here on the blog the very pretty red horsechestnut Aesculus x pavia known as "Fort McNair". Well I was admiring this small tree, which is now in flower again, when who should roll up and sample the flowers but ..... Fred! It was quite sight to see Fred flaunting his red gorget as he buzzed between the spectacular pink flowers. The tree is actually a hybrid of Red Buckeye (which is also a good hummingbird tree, of which I have 2 at the sanctuary) and regular horse-chestnut A. hippocastanum. Of course I did not have the camera with me, but I will show some images of the tree tomorrow.
Last, a couple of bonus vids. The first shows treetops on the far rim of the western valley, with a striking cloud formation (2X fast motion). The second shows one of my lilacs, and then the oak tree at whose foot the lilac. I've cut some of the fragrant blooms for the 2 cabins.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

starring Fred

Although it's a cold gray day I managed to get some videos of Fred. The first 2 show him on one of his favorite perching spots - the same as last year.  In the first   he is silhouetted against the gray, not very horizontal, LI Sound. In the second, both he and I moved position. You can see him occasionally opening his bill- he's probably vocalising but the "squeak" he makes is too high-pitched for me to hear. The tree is a wild black cherry, and you can see the flower buds, which which will soon open to a dull white color, to be followed later by the tart but tasty black fruit. Unfortunately this perch is in a tree that's quite a way down the slope of the western valley, so although he's at an ideal height relative to my viewpoint, I cannot get very close without going downhill, and so viewing him from below. 

In the next 2 videos he's feeding at 2 different feeders. Actually he lingers at both of these feeders, and the clips were shot with a very small time gap, and I wonder whether this is actually Fred (who feeds very quickly). Another clue this might not be Fred: in the second video below he approaches the feeder with some hesitation, clearly not knowing exactly where the outlet is.  In the first video I pan upwards to show where he's perching to guard this feeder. In the second video you can see the red gorget flashing.

First Report from the sanctuary

I arrived back at the sanctuary late thursday afternoon. Thanks to the great help of a friend, there were already a lot of feeders up, and within an hour I saw a hummer briefly visiting a feeder along the woodland trail. Some of the minifeeders near the cottages had to be replenished, which was of course my first priority. The following day these feeders were also being (very briefly) visited, and I could see that, as expected, the resident hummer is a male. At one point I'm pretty sure he chased off another hummer, but it happened very quickly. The visits are too brief to film (shorter than the start-up time on my camera!), so here is a clip of some of the flowers already in bloom, irises and columbines (the latter being a good hummer plant). The coral honeysuckle is just beginning to bloom too - an even better nectar source.

The very brief visits to feeders are very characteristic of this time of year. The male, who I assume is Fred from previous years, is just checking that the feeder is good, and therefore needs guarding. Since his territory is rather large (typically an acre) he spends most of his time patrolling it, perching near each feeder and watching. As I get to know his favorite perching spots, I should be able to get good video.
UPDATE - while breakfasting this saturday morning on the back deck, I saw a female go to feeder 2, only to be immediately driven off by Fred. A few seconds later, Fred returned to the scene, perching near feeder 1 (the one at the northwest corner of the back deck) and briefly turning towards me flashing brilliant red. Of course I did not have the camera with me - I must learn that whenever I'm sitting watching, the camera should be ready.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

recent photo of a male hummer taken in Baiting Hollow

As usual in may, a male hummingbird is visiting the feeders in Baiting Hollow. Here's a recent photo, taken by Keith Bittner (thanks Keith for this and all your other help).

It's a side view against the light, so the red gorget appears dark, but even without that the squat appearance strongly suggests a male - perhaps Fred, the male that adopted the sanctuary as his territory the 2 previous years. I hope to get some better images and even video soon.

Friday, May 6, 2016

First Reports of Hummer Sightings on Long Island; some Calypso clips.

just a quick note to say that I now have 2 separate reports of hummingbirds on Long Island. Of course some have probably been here for a couple of weeks, but these are the first definite sightings I've heard about. More to follow soon.

UPDATE - I've just heard from a third person (in Shoreham) who's hosting a hummer. Indeed, this hummer showed up already 10 days ago - about when I expected the first arrivals.

Of course, a few video clip, from Eleuthera :

                         First, the typical puffy white clouds - my favorite

            Our beach (then my feet) on a choppy day, viewed from the ocean

Frangipani (aka Plumeria)


                   Danny Hauben painting (with pastels) during his visit here in january

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

soon back on Long Island

We will soon be back on Long Island, and I'm eager to see whether hummers have returned to Baiting Hollow - friends have been maintaining feeders there for several weeks but I do not yet have reports of hummer sightings. In the mean time I'm posting a few snaps from last summer - specifically from Danny Hauben's visits. Danny is an artist from the Bronx, who spent a summer residency at Riverhead's East End Arts Center. Here's one of the scenes he did.

And here's the result in progress

                                                          a close-up

another scene

Friday, April 15, 2016

Hummers Now Far North of Long Island; swimming at Halcyon

Lanny Chambers migration map shows that the first hummers have already reached New Hampshire, and some are doubtless already on Long Island. Make sure your feeders are set up! But bear in mind that the map only shows the leading edge of the migration, not the main wave, which is reaching Long Island right now.

Just down the beach from us is an idyllic bay we call Halcyon, which at low tide is sheltered from the Atlantic waves, and is lined with coconut palms.  Here's a recent 300 degree view; Claire is swimming with a friend, I'm swivelling on shore instead.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hummers may already be on Long Island; More Calypso Garden Scenes

Lanny Chambers' invaluable migration map that hummers have already reached Cape Cod, and some could well be on Long Island. Get your feeders out there!

I walked round part of the garden here at Calypso with my video camera and here I strung some of these clips together to make a movie, with added narration. More to follow.