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 (

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Paddleboarding Turtle Pond

My son Rafael owns Soposup, Maine's leading paddleboard store, and organizes various paddleboard events. He brought a couple of inflatable boards with him on his recent trip here, and of course paddleboarded many beaches and waves. Here's a glimpse of him and his son Dylan on Turtle Pond, a beautiful sheltered saltwater pond lined with mangroves. The pond indeed has many large turtles, some as big as a dining room table.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Old Painting of Calypso Beach

No posts recently since we have been busy with family (first Claire's cousin and her delightful son Pierre-Loup) and then our eldest son Rafael (also a target of the lawsuit, of which more later) and his family. But here's an interesting old painting of our beach done many years ago by Claire's brother Michel, who is a talented artist. The painting now adorns the wall of Rafael's house in Maine. Very soon we will be returning to Long Island!

Friday, April 18, 2014

strange fruit; beach books (literally)

These are unusual bananas but when ripe they are very good. From the excellent nearby Island Farm. Spent the afternoon on my favorite beach going through a new book,  The Beach Book, Eleuthera, which describes in detail with excellent pictures 135 of Eleuthera's many beaches (but not all). Is there any other island in the world that can boast a book about its beaches, let alone 2.  For Eleuthera there are 2 such books (the other one is The Elusive Beaches of Eleuthera).
My favorite beach is not even in the second book, but it got top rating (3 stars) in the first.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

lunar eclipse

Last night there was a brilliant cloudless full moon, with the coconut fronds sparkling in the silver light, and a floodlit ocean. We woke at 3.20 am to view the total eclipse: the black sky was spangled with the milky way (a sight one never sees on Long Island, even in the relative isolation of Baiting Hollow) and the moon reduced to an eerie reddish glow. Here are a couple of pictures. Bearing in mind the almost total absence of light it's surprising that the little camera functioned at all.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hummers already on Long Island!

The following picture was taken yesterday by Melissa Hahn at her home in Suffolk County! They're here!  Of course the first arrivals are the adult males, with the brilliant ruby gorget. They establish their breeding territories before the females (who get second choice) arrive. Make sure your feeders are out, and maybe a male will pick your yard as his territory.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

hummer and bananaquits at the feeder

There's a feeder just outside the windows near where we usually eat our meals; here's a typical example of what goes on. The bare branches you see are those of a frangipani tree (or "plumeria"), which is leafless until mid-may, when it explodes in yellow flowers, followed by its summer foliage (which blocks the view of the pond). Other frangipanis nearby are white and have delicious fragrance, and still others are red, pink or orange.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Frolicking at Halcyon; Hummingbirds now in New Jersey

Hummingbirds have now reached southern New Jersey - see the migration map here.

Since we are directly on the Atlantic Ocean, it's often quite choppy, and unsuited to leisurely and placid swimming. 5 minute walk east from our beach brings one to Halcyon Bay. This is sheltered by coral and limestone formations,  especially at its 2 corners, so that at low tide there are basically 2 huge saltwater swimming baths, surrounded by crashing waves which hardly ruffle its surface. We often swim there, and sometimes snorkel, in complete safety. Here are a couple of recent videos.

Monday, April 7, 2014

blue tail lizard

Eleuthera has many different types of lizard, including the curly-tail, the blue-tail, the green and brown anoles, and the tropical house gecko (originally from Africa). The video below shows a blue-tail lizard on our limestone patio. We have several house lizards in our house, and they are amusing to watch. They are mostly active at night, and have large eyes for the dark. They cling to the walls and ceiling, and silently hunt insects. As a result, we have very little problem with mosquitoes or sand-flies ("no-see-ums") or other insects (which of course can otherwise be a problem in the tropics). Because the walls are white, they adopt a pale gray color. I will try to film one. In the meantime, here's the (much larger) blue-tail.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Hummingbird on stilts, and in Maryland

Well, not quite. The video shows stilts on the pond, and then, hearing a hummingbird arrive at the nearby feeder, I quickly switch the view to film the hummer. One cannot imagine 2 more contrasting birds than the hummingbird and the stilt (both very aptly named).
The first hummers of 2014 have already reached Maryland - see the migration map and get your feeders ready!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

On the Pond

The main birds on Calypso Pond at the moment are coots, stilts and egrets. The above video shows a group of 3 egrets fishing on the pond. Notice how immobile they are until they pounce!