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 in august 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.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Late hummer has left

The late hummer at the sanctuary was last seen, only very briefly, on saturday Nov 8. I did not see him on sunday nov 9. Nov 10 - 16 we were in Maine and I have not seen him since our return. The recent deep freeze has killed almost of the remaining flowers, and I do not expect to see any more rubythroats until april 2015. However, a vagrant rufous hummingbird is always a possibility (see my posts at this blog for february 2013).
The above image is by Bob Immoor (summer 2013). The flower is Salvia uliginosa (Bog Sage).

Saturday, November 8, 2014

He's still here!

My late hummer (or possibly another even more recent  arrival) is still here! Yesterday afternoon I only had a short time before dark, the conditions were bad, and I did not see him. But this morning, though busy, I clearly spotted him in the flower bed overlooking the Sound in front of the deck at the front cabin "Seagull Lodge". He was visiting the rosebud salvias there. I'll try to get video, though I've lots of other things to do too.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Update on the sanctuary's late hummingbird

After seeing our unexpected, very late, hummer several times on tuesday, I saw him only once, briefly but unmistakeably, at about noon on wed, after which I had to go to Stony Brook (work and home). I got back here about 4.15 this afternoon, but I did not observe the hummer, and there's a cold wind from the north. I'll be surprised if I see him over the weekend - he's probably safely on his way south. But it was a thrill to see him on tuesday, and to get some video (see my last post). Here's an older photo, by Jimmy Chiu. The hummer's feeding at cardinal flower, which have now largely retreated into the ground.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Very Late Hummer in Baiting Hollow!

I just got back to the sanctuary in Baiting Hollow a few minutes ago (I'm in the process of transporting tropical plants back to Stony Brook ahead of the looming cold weather) and a few seconds ago I saw a hummingbird! I've not seen one for several weeks, and certainly did not expect to see obe again this year. But as soon as I saw the ummistakeable movement in a flower bed near the front cabin, I knew it was a hummer. He/she was feeding on the flowers of rosebud sage (Salvia involucrata), which is still in full flower. I observed him from about 25 feet away for a full minute, and then he sped off down into the western valley - very typical behavior. I took down all my feeders a couple of weeks ago, but there are still lots of flowers everywhere - some more spectacular than all season. I'll put a few feeders back up again, and hopefully he will be back - probably until the next cold front comes through, on thursday. I'll try to get video too and will report back soon. I'm here overnight, busy chopping wood to keep warm (the woodstove gobbles up fuel, especially when the wind is whistling thorugh the cracks (actually, gaps) in the cabin wall and floor.

UPDATE: here are some videos of this very late ruby throat. The first one shows him/her feeding at Salvia "Waverley" - a small white flower. It starts out badly out of focus but I focus better at the end (I'm a little out of practice!).

The second video is better - he's feeding at Rosebud sage, Salvia involucrata.

In the third video he's feeding at pineapple sage (between the 2 feeders, which I just put up). Pineapple sage is a very late bloomer, so they are well matched.

In the last video, he's approaching pineapple sage, and I have him closer up.

Saturday, October 11, 2014


I guess all of us on Long Island are now in the same boat: hummerless! (at least until april). I returned to the sanctuary yesterday afternoon and spent several hours outside, but did not see any hummingbirds. Today has of course been wet but despite frequent glances at the flowers on the deck I've seen no action.
So I will have to make do with the videos I stockpiled over the summer. Here's one, in 4X slo-mo, with the bird feeding at rosebud salvia "Bethelli", which has now reached the peak of its height and bloom in the garden.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Salvia "Waverley"

Over the next weeks I'll be showing various sanctuary recent videos of hummingbirds feeding at various flowers. First, here are some showing the excellent hummer plants Salvia "Waverley". This has small white blossoms but nevertheless it provides much nectar. It grows as a perennial bush in California, but here on Long Island it's strictly annual - but nevertheless well worth it for the prolific late-season flowers. Another very similar salvia is the delightfully named "Phyllis's Fancy", which grows even taller.

Monday, October 6, 2014

All Gone!

When I awoke on sunday there was a very strong west wind, it was very cold but bright and sunny, and I had a foreboding that this would be the first hummerless day of the 2014 season. I was busy most of the day, so my failure to see a hummingbird could have just been chance, but when it was warm enough in the midafternoon to just sit outside and watch, I also failed to see a hummingbird. So I fear that indeed yesterday might have indeed been the last day. I will not know for sure because I'll be away much of the week, but I suspect that now the best I can hope for is perhaps the occasional brief sojourn of a straggler. But I'm leaving a few feeders up just in case, and of course there are more good hummer flowers in bloom now than any time so far this year. Here are a couple of videos I took on friday afternoon. Top: 2X slo-mo, bottom 4X slo-mo, both show feeding at pink porterweed.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Update from the sanctuary: still around!

After a busy week I got back to the sanctuary friday afternoon. The weather was beautiful but I was disappointed to see that most of my feeders were still rather full, after 5 nights away. However, I settled down in a sunny spot (it was chilly; has been since I got back in may!) in front of a nice patch of flowers (porterweed, cape honeysuckle, autumn sage and pineapple sage (only now coming to into bloom) and others. I needed to relax and was not really expecting to see hummers - but one came after about a half hour, and I saw him several times in the course of the afternoon, mostly viting various clumps of flower. And twice I saw a fight with a second hummer! So they are still around and I checked all the feeders (many less than I had up in the peak weeks) and cleaned and refilled some.

Then this morning, despite intermittent rain and almost steady fine drizzle, I saw one of them again, and filmed the above video. He starts by feeding on Cape Honeysuckle (orange-red flowers - technically Tecomaria capensis,  a tropical from South Africa, which also attracts hummingbirds at our winter place in the Bahamas). Then he switches to pink porterweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis), another tropical hummer magnet. At the start of the video you can see the pink flowers of rosebud sage (Salvia involucrata "Bethelli) and towards the end you can see on the left Golden Shrimp Plant (Pachystachys lutea), pineapple sage (S. elegans) and morning glory "Heavenly Blue", which is not a hummer plant.

Tomorrow the wind will be from the west, but if it should edge towards the north, I might lose my last hummers of the season.

Finally here is some video from yesterday (oct 3). Not in focus, I will upload better soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

still around! how much longer though? ; video

Here's a slo-mo video from earlier in the season. The hummer is feeding at rosebud salvia, but gets interrupted a couple of times by bees.

We still have at least a couple of hummingbirds around at the sanctuary, though activity is definitely tapering off, and I've greatly reduced the number of feeders. It will be interesting to see how much longer they stick around. However, it will be impossible to pin it down to an exact date, first because I'm spending less and less time at the sanctuary, and second because one can never be sure there are no longer infrequent visits. Often one can have a few days of no action, then they reappear for a couple of days (perhaps as laggards arrive from further north, and then scurry further south after a quick rest). Other reports indicate that there are still many sightings in the north of the country, though numbers are diminishing, and numbers on the Gulf Coast are climbing.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

drop of blood; still bickering in the rain and wind

Juvenile males often show one or 2 tiny scarlet throat feathers starting to break through the normal silver gray. This often looks like a drop of blood, viewed from the right angle in good light.  Here's an example in a recent photo taken by Dominick Gerace at a feeder at his yard in Manorville. However he thinks that this guy is not "Junior", who recently left the nest he had been monitoring, but another youngster.

Here at the sanctuary I ventured out today in the rain and wind, and saw 2 hummers fighting despite the late season and difficult conditions. I expect to see hummingbirds well into early october, though in decreasing numbers. Others are also continuing to see activity - check out the recent photos at Friends of the Sanctuary.
To end up with here's a neat older sanctuary photo by Tom Killip that shows a juvie with 4 "drops of blood".