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, August 30, 2017
Sunday, August 27, 2017
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org) 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).
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).
Wednesday, August 23, 2017
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
another slo-mo vid showing feeding at cardinal vine
Doug Geed, who covers the East End for Channel 12, spent the morning at the sanctuary on monday. As he requested I invited several sanctuary enthusiasts (from as far as Staten Island: thanks Maryam) for him to meet, including past "volunteers" (thanks Gini and Chuck) and representatives from Great South Bay Audubon and Nature and Wildlife Photographers of Long Island, both of which have been visiting the sanctuary for over 15 years. Apparently the results of his efforts can be seen at
story/36182874/man-closing- backyard-bird-sanctuary-to- the-public-after-lawsuit
if you can login (which I can't). Dates for visiting next week will be announced very soon.
Sunday, August 20, 2017
Hummingbird feeding at flowers of yellow coral honeysuckle (and ignoring its own reflection); 4x slo-mo
According to the settlement of the lawsuit against me by one of my neighbors (Kamal Bherwani), and certain other individuals, I may only open the sanctuary to my "public" invitees during the period july 20 - sept 15. I put the word "public" in quotes because the issue as to what is "public" was never clarified. Let us assume here that it refers to persons who respond to my public announcement that I will receive visitors on particular days, whether these persons are friends, acquaintances or merely those with an interest in hummingbirds who I would like to meet. Prior to the settlement I only welcomes such general visitors during the month of august, so paradoxically the settlement actually enlarged visitation. I believe the plaintiffs stipulated this "restriction" because they were totally unaware of the dates I was actually open. This expansion of general period was offset by a stipulation that I could only receive visits 3 and one half days per week (the half day being at the weekend). I am at liberty to choose the exact dates, and I try to judge when the weather would be most favorable, and the noise from helicopters and seaplanes minimal, within constraints set by my personal private activities. The settlement of the lawsuit, to which, under considerable pressure, I agreed, also stipulates that all "public" visitation to my property will cease after sept 15 2017. In my next post I will turn to the lawsuit itself.
Saturday, August 19, 2017
Here's a slo-mo view of a hummingbird feeding at the little red flowers of cardinal vine (a type of morning glory), and perching when it can. The purple flower is porterweed - also a hummer favorite (get it only at LI Hummingbird Plants).
There is no more availability for next week (aug 21-25) but one morning or afternoon (to be decided but not aug 27 am) next weekend will be available. Please bear in mind that under the terms of the lawsuit settlement we can only open 3 1/2 days a week, either 10-12.30 or 3-5 or sometimes both. The exact times are determined a few days ahead by weather and other factors.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
Things are filling up real fast for next week, but we still have 3 weeks more after that so hang in there! Today (friday) terrific rain but everyone who braved the storm saw hummingbirds and stayed more or less dry! All appointments are rain-or-shine.
recent photo by Isaac Lebowitz. ALL DATES NEXT WEEK NOW FULL! You must now wait to request permission (paul.adams#stonybrook.edu) to visit the sanctuary until new dates are posted. You can arrive/depart any time within the designated period (no early birds) but you must have a confirmed reservation. See right-hand column of this blog for more information.
Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Fully booked this week. Plenty more visiting dates, until sept 15 after which we permanently close,
will be posted here soon. For more info, see the right-hand column of this blog.
Hummingbirds put on some good shows for intrepid visitors this afternoon, despite the drizzle. But here's a clip from couple of days ago, showing a hummer feeding at Canna flowers. Look carefully at the very end - as often happens this hummer is driven off by another.
Sunday, August 13, 2017
Thursday, August 10, 2017
Photo by Judy Lindo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/judylindo/). The flower is Canna.
We will be open to visitors (by appointment only, email your request with selected date/time and your first and last name to paul.adams+stonybrook.edu): wed aug 16 am, pm, (am = 10-12.30, pm = 3-5). Plenty more visiting dates, until sept 15 after which we permanently close, will be posted here soon.
Saturday, August 5, 2017
Thursday, August 3, 2017
photo from the sanctuary by Sung Kim. The flower is rosebud sage (Salvia involucrata "Bethellii"). The sanctuary will be open to visitors (by appointment only: paul.adams^stonybrook.edu) sunday aug 6 am, and tues, wed, (aug 8,9) am,pm, thur (aug 10) am and fri (aug 11) am (am = 10-12.30, pm = 3-5). Please see righthand panel of this blog for details.