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 (

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Unfortunately we are CLOSED TODAY TUES AUG 6, because yesterday's Newsday article brought quite a lot of visitors, for which we are not really set up. While most of these carefully respected our guidelines, there was a lot of traffic and a few parked outside the designated lot. See my responses to the comments below.
In the meantime we will be broadcasting live commented reports from the sanctuary, around 10.30-11.30 am, then around 3.30-4.30 pm, and finally near sunset (7.30-8.30 pm). Please see our webcam link to the right of this post.
We hope to resume limited visiting soon, possibly by private appointment only. Details will be posted on this blog. In the mentime if you have already succeeded in visiting, this year or in the past, we would appreciate that you post your comments here at the blog, to tide us over this difficult period.

The recent photo is by Allen Siegel, and shows a hummer feeding at pink porter weed Stachytarpheta mutabilis. This is a tropical annual that must be overwintered indoors, but is worth the trouble because it's a wonderful hummer magnet. Notice that the bird is perching while he feeds, saving energy. Wherever possible hummers do this.


  1. So disappointed. I've been talking about visiting since last summer, but have never been able to carve out the time. I finally decided this afternoon would be perfect, only to find out that your closed :(.

    1. I'm very sorry about that Irene - it's beyond my control. Yesterday afternoon, during the peak of visitation, an owner of nearby property showed up (he does not reside here) and complained about the traffic on Terry Farm road and the fact that people were parking outside the designated lot. I immediately checked out the situation and found that there were some vehicles parked by the side of the road, not however blocking travel. I put up a sign down at the entrance to Terry Farm Road at Sound Ave, saying "Sanctuary Closed" and things subsided. Shortly after an officer arrived from the Riverhead Town Attorney's Office, to whom complaints had apparently been made. I explained the situation, in particular that although we normally only get low or moderate visitation, because a front-page article just appeared in "Newsday", there was a temporary spike in interest. Note that I did not request the Newsday article, they approached me, and I agreed to meet with their reporter only so that I could make reasonably sure that only correct and very limited information about visitation was published. In particular I insisted that they point out that all potential visitors should look carefully at this blog for information etc, and this was clearly stated in the published article. I did not know in advance when the article would appear so culd not plan ahead. Note that on sat afternoon (aug 3) we had only 2 cars and 4 visitors! The Officer was polite and reasonable, just taking down some info. He suggested that we close to visitors for a couple o days until things cool down and he could check out the situation.
      Large numbers of people enjoy the sanctuary which I operate completely noncommerically, and these vistors are almost always polite, well-behaved, and aware that some rules are necessary if we can continue to operate (as we have for 15 years now).
      If you would like to visit privately please let me know when and I will give you special permission

    2. Thank you so much - I do understand. I will email you privately.

  2. It is unfortunate that this has occurred. Your place is just stunning and your hospitality is such a welcomed change in the hustle and bustle that has become today's norm. I have been struggling coming to terms with my mother's cancer diagnosis and the thought of loosing her, sitting on the porch chatting with you and being immersed in nature's beauty this weekend was a much welcomed escape. Your knowledge of the plants one can plant to attract hummingbirds is extensive. I listened eagerly as you spoke to others asking for plant advice. I would like to plant some of them in my garden. The magic of spotting a hummingbird is unparalleled. I hope that you will be able to re-open soon or take appointments as I was hoping to return with my mother so she could witness all the beauty and sit peacefully with me. Thank you for sharing all you do with us.

  3. Bridgette- yes, the peace and simplicity here and the spiritual beauty of hummingbirds is unique, especially when one is experiencing the ongoing trauma of modern life and personal tragedy. This is partly why I try to provide a place where one can commune with nature and enjoy the simplest of life's pleasures: a magical bird buzzing amongst flowers with dazzling blue glimpses of the sea behind.
    I hope that we can re-open very soon, though perhaps in a more controlled and complicated way than in the past. In the meantime I will offer regular broadcasts from the sanctuary, with the sort of information I normally provide in person to visitors. Let's keep up our spirits and I thank you for your comment. - Paul

  4. Paul, I saved you the Explore section of Newsday just incase you did not get a copy. Please let me know if you would like it and I will mail it to you. You can inbox me information where to send it should you like to have the copy. All the best, Bridgette

  5. Paul, I am so sorry to hear that this happened. I was there yesterday morning and had no idea that such things were happening. I hope that the tide changes and all settles down. I am glad to hear that the officer was reasonable and heard you out. I feel blessed to have had a chance to visit your sanctuary.

    Amy Halpin

    1. Amy - thanks for your support at this trying time. Today we had the private visit of a group of 15 children organized by "Birds of a Feather" (see link at right) day camp. It was marvelous to watch the rapt wonder of these youngsters as they watched hummingbirds, in many cases for the first time. The amazingly talented and knowledgeable group leader, Johhny Cuomo, ended the visit with a fabulous solo (2 irish folk tunes, one about butterflies and the other about moorland) on his penny whistle as we all clustered round. Life does not get any better than this!