BASICS


BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (paul.adams%stonybrook.edu).

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

still some hummers after Jose: closed to humans but not to hummingbirds!

A couple of hummer clips from this morning - still at least 2, enthusiastically chasing each other, despite the strong winds over the last 24 hours, which cause the feeders to swing violently, even in relatively sheltered spots, as shown here. Unfortunately the general public can no longer visit the sanctuary, as a result of a lawsuit by a neighbor, but I will be regularly updating this blog with hummingbird news, videos and images, both at the sanctuary and elsewhere. Stay tuned!





there was also a much bigger bird soaring in the wind:


and here are some clips of the waves on the beach below the sanctuary







Monday, September 18, 2017

We enjoy the quiet weekend

Claire and I watched the remaining hummers and walked the clean beach this weekend.



Friday, September 15, 2017

4k vid; Now Permanently Closed to the General Public - Surrender?


A perching hummer filmed at the sanctuary recently in 4K.

We have now closed permanently to the general public, in accordance with the terms of a lawsuit settlement I reached with my neighbor Kamal Bherwani. The title of the printed version of a recent Newsday article about the sanctuary closing was "Surrender" but I would describe it more as a strategic retreat. The sanctuary will continue to exist but I will no longer invite members of the general public - only my friends and other personal guests. However, part of the existing sanctuary may well be taken over by the Seatuck Association, and will hopefully be open to the public on a much more extended basis than I have attempted. Details will be announced at this blog.
Although the southward migration is now in full swing, there are still several hummingbirds at the sanctuary, competing for flowers and feeders as they fatten up in preparation for the long journey ahead. I also am "fattening up" - or at least earning my living as a part-time professor at Stony Brook University, and turning more of my energies and enthusiasm toward my students and collaborators. But then as the winter sets in, I and my wife Claire will be migrating south to the sunny isle of Eleuthera - fortunately spared by Irma's recent close passage (though Jose still churns 400 miles to the east of our beach) - and once again surrounded by magical hummingbirds.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Beak rubbing and preening


Hummingbirds usually carefully clean their bills after a feeding session.

No more available appointment dates. After September 15 we will permanently close to the general public, because of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. However, we hope to re-open next year under a new owner, the Seatuck Association. If you would like to help make that happen, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to them, mentioning the Hummingbird Sanctuary. 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Manorville Vids; Dates





Manorville is a good location for hummingbirds, mainly because it has extensive woods. I visited a friend, Dominick, and filmed some of the hummers frequenting his feeders. Dominick later visited the sanctuary and I will feature some of the photos he took here in my next post.

Currently available appointment dates are as follows:  tues sept 12, pm only; wed sept 13, am only; thur sept 14 am,pm; fri sept 15 pm only. am = 10-12.30; pm = 3-5.  Please email paul.adams$stonybrook.edu to request an appointment. If you could walk up the half-mile from Sound Ave, please let me know. After September 15 we will permanently close to the general public, because of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. However, we hope to re-open next year under a new owner, the Seatuck Association. If you would like to help make that happen, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to them, mentioning the Hummingbird Sanctuary. 

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Footless; Dates


Today's brilliant photo from the sanctuary is by Bob Immoor.

Currently available appointment dates are as follows:   tues sept 12, pm only; wed sept 13, am only; thur sept 14 am,pm; fri sept 15 pm only. am = 10-12.30; pm = 3-5.  Please email paul.adams$stonybrook.edu to request an appointment. If you could walk up the half-mile from Sound Ave, please let me know. After September 15 we will permanently close to the general public, because of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. However, we hope to re-open next year under a new owner, the Seatuck Association. If you would like to help make that happen, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to them, mentioning the Hummingbird Sanctuary. 

Hummingbirds are traditionally placed, together with swifts, in the order "Apodiformes", meaning "footless". This is a reference to their very small feet, which are not used for walking. However, as Bob's picture (and Mark's picture in my previous post) beautifully illustrate, their feet are far from totally lacking, or even particularly small. However when flying they are held tucked under the body, like a plane's undercarriage, and not very obvious. Hummingbirds now have their own order, the Trochiliformes, which is part of a "super-order", the Apodimorphae. This is an extremely large order, exceeded in species richness only by the songbirds.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

New Dates


recent photo by Mark Schaller

Visiting dates (by appointment only: paul.adams!stonybrook.edu) for sept 2-8: ; wed sept 6 10-12.30 only

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Hummers Facing Off; Rockport (Texas Gulf Coast) Hummingbird Festival; dates



This recent sanctuary photo by Shirley Chan shows a typical face-off between 2 hummingbirds. They are very similar, and very aggressive, to each other. One hummer is perched on the stem of porterweed, perhaps the best of all hummingbird plants, obtainable only at lihummingbirdplants.com

Rockport is in the news because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey. But it was already famous for hummingbird enthusiasts because of it annual festival, which was going to be held this year on sept 14-17. It's timed to coincide with the peak of the southward migration on the Gulf Coast, when millions of hummers congregate in the town waiting for a favorable  north wind to speed their way across the Gulf of Mexico. At times the daytime sky there can be black with the crowds of hummingbirds. With a favorable tailwind they can make it across the Gulf and into the Yucatan peninsula in 14 hours of nonstop flying at cruising speed of 30 mph. But if the wind should turn to the south or storms brew they are probably doomed -  though fishing boats and oil rigs can offer help to some - their decks can be covered in resting hummingbirds trying to outlast the weather. My guess is that a hummer has only about a 50% chance of making this crossing both ways - but they have no choice, and for thousands of years enough survive that the species flourishes.
Here at the sanctuary hummers are feasting at flowers and feeders, fattening up to fuel the incredible journey they soon face - each one alone and usually for the first time. They need to double their weight to attempt the gulf crossing - and in the course of that epic flight their weight will fall back to half the take-off weight, as they consume fat to power their wings. Everything about them is a miracle, but almost everyone on Long Island can get to see them in their own back-yard (or, until sept 15, in mine!), with a little effort and love. I will soon (middle of next week) be posting new available dates for visiting (by appointment only) for the remaining 2 weeks of the season.
New visiting dates are posted at the previous post ("Lawsuit").

Friday, August 25, 2017

Lawsuit


recent sanctuary photo by Bob Immoor. No current visiting slots available - more will be posted soon.

Here is the "Motion for Summary Judgement" filed by the plaintiff's attorney Anthony Tohill. This Motion requests the Judge to decide "summarily" (without trial) the lawsuit in the plaintiffs' favor. Essentially it marshals supposedly very strong arguments why the case should be decided against me, based largely on the testimony I gave during "Discovery",  the process where defendants, plaintiffs etc give preliminary sworn testimony. After summarizing some of the testimony I gave, the Motion proceeds to the crux of the matter, claiming (Paragraph 25) "Plainly defendant Paul Adams is operating a commercial business in a residential zoning district".

So, what was this damning testimony that showed I was operating a commercial business? One might assume that a "commercial business" involved some form of financial transaction, but I testified that I neither charged an entry fee nor requested a donation, and no testimony or other other evidence was offered to the contrary.  In fact none of the testimony cited in the Motion (such as it being possible to park as many as 15 cars on various parts of my 3.4 acre property, or that there are chairs scattered over my property) seems at all relevant to the central issue of whether I was operating a commercial business.
I was totally baffled by this Motion - it seemed Kafka-esque, completely devoid of logic or sense. If these were their strongest arguments I had clearly entered a realm where normal rules of evidence and reason did not operate. It was at this point that I realized that I could not continue the lawsuit, and that I simply had to get out, for my own sanity and health. So I agreed to close down the sanctuary to members of the public - at least to the 40% of visitors who I testified were strangers. It seems to me that I have a perfect right to invite to my residential property individuals with whom I am not already personally acquainted but who might become friends, based on shared common interests etc. However, it appears that this is not so.
If this is a typical example of the American justice system, woe betide us!

Visiting dates (by appointment only: paul!adams@stonybrook.edu) for sept 2-8: ; tuesday sept 5,  am, pm; wed sept 6 am only; thur sept 7 am, pm; fri sept 8 pm only (am = 10-12.30; pm = 3-5).

Walking to the Sanctuary


Another beautiful image from Bob Immoor - rosebud salvia.

Under the terms of the lawsuit settlement, a maximum of 6 cars is allowed at the sanctuary. However, if you are willing to walk up Terry Farm Rd (about 0.6 miles) you could visit even at times that have filled up already (and are therefore no longer posted). To arrange a visit, you still need a confirmed appointment for a specific date/time: email paul.adams#stonybrook.edu. All slots for visits by car are now full for the coming week, but slots for the first 2 weeks of september will be posted here soon.  We will then permanently close to the public (though of course all my friends, old and new, will be welcome to visit next summer when I'm in residence).