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 (

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.