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 (

Friday, April 17, 2015

Back on Long Island - sick! Hummingbirds are here on Long Island! The future.

A nice video from last summer in Baiting Hollow.

My last 3 posts were already composed from my sickbed at Calypso, where I came down with the flu and also a mysterious GI illness involving some abdominal pain, diarrhea and most notably a complete loss of appetite.  On tuesday april 14 we flew back to NY (a month earlier than planned), and early wednesday morning went to the Stony Brook University hospital, where they diagnosed me (based on blood work, Chest X ray and abdominal CT scan) with 3 problems: low sodium, pneumonia and diverticulitis. The latter is a fairly common disorders where pockets form in the colon wall which then become infected. They put me on an IV saline drip with 2 broad-spectrum aniibiotics. Of course I've not yet been out to Baiting Hollow but Claire will go today or tomorrow to set up feeders and inspect the property - the so-called "sanctuary".

When I used to be on Long Island in the early spring, before starting to spend the entire winter/ early spring in the Bahamas, the consistent first date on which I would see a hummer (always an adult male) was may 1. That's when I would put up my feeders. But there's no doubt that generally, due to global warming, all over the eastern US, hummer arrival dates have shifted earlier, by at least 2 weeks. Indeed, I received a report that april 11 a male hummingbird was seen in Islip Terrace, investigating a piece of red fabric pinned outside an apartment door. So although Lanny Chambers migration map (at  shows a first report this year for Long Island dated april 14, they were already on the island on april 11.  Indeed, in the not too distant future I suspect we will see them here by the end of march!

Speaking of the future, I've been pondering the future of the Sanctuary. Quite apart from the hassle of the ongoing lawsuit (see below),  setting up the garden in Baiting Hollow each year, and organizing the smooth flow of visitors involves quite a lot of work and time commitment, and my overall health is not improving, I'm seriously thinking of shutting up shop and selling this gorgeous property, freeing up substantial financial resources so Claire and I can enhance our lifestyle with more travel, good dining etc. ......... on the other hand being privileged to sit every summer evening on the deck in Baiting Hollow bug-free and watching the hummers flit amongst the flowers as the sun sets against the vast expanse of Long Island Sound from Old Field Point to Orient Point is unique and .... priceless.

On the topic of the lawsuit, maybe the 2 neighbors have a point that even an orderly regulated flow of a relatively small number of visitors to my place during august, over the long and narrow (though now well-paved Terry Farm Road), places an intolerable burden on my 2 neighbors. I would not have thought so but reasonable people can disagree on this sort of question. But if I ever get advice from anyone I respect (other than my 2 neighbors and their fancy lawyer) I would listen intently and incorporate that advice into my thinking.


  1. I have just become interested in hummingbirds. See that you have a lovely spot here on LI-my wish for you is that you become well and are able to do what you wish with your property. Hope to be able to visit this summer-I alive in Islip-but your health comes first. God speed!

  2. Thank you for your kind comment, and I'm delighted to hear of your new interest in hummingbirds - they are indeed fascinating.

  3. I agree in that I hope you become well and are able to do what you wish with your property. Last year I found your blog and read about your experiences. While it's not quite the lovely sanctuary you have created, I now have a successful hummingbird garden in NYC. So thank you!

  4. Examiningroots, thanks for your support. I'm delighted that you have established a hummingbird garden in the city, the garden will give you joy and the hummers sustenance, and when the 2 come together - pure bliss!

  5. Best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery Paul! Sorry to hear that you were so sick. Rest and get well.

    1. Sonia - thanks for your kind wishes - am taking the first steps on a long recovery path.

  6. Hi Paul... I am sorry to hear that you have not been feeling well and I pray you are better soon. I feel that Yes you should do as you wish with your property. I have to tell you that I have learned so much from visiting and volunteering at your sanctuary. I share all I have learned with everyone so that this continues for many years to come. I remember the very first time I saw a ruby throat was at my childhood home under my granmother's mimosa tree. Ironically,my home was close to Islip Terrace where my daughter's friend saw her first one ... I was transfixed watching and could not breathe and thought I must be seeing things. Once I made my first visit to your sanctuary, I came home and put up feeders and planted more butterfly bushes and one night almost burst from excitement at my first real sighting .. I had seen one years before looking but had no idea what to do .. until I met you and learned from your sanctuary . I owe this passion to you . If you did nothing else Paul, you lit such a fire under those of us who value the beautfy of hummingbirds and from you have learned how to bring them to us and keep them coming back and sharing the magic with everyone we meet . Thank you from the bottom of my heart .. as much of this came at a time in my life where I needed some magic and it came in the form of a tiny beautiful bird and man who has an amazing passion for sharing his knowledge of them.. whatever happens .. I will never forget and not stop telling the story of your sanctuary, Someone should write a book about you .It would be lovely . Love and Hugs ... Carolyn :)

  7. Carolyn - thanks for your heartwarming story. I think I'm on the first steps of what will be a long recovery, but I should be able to film any hummers that come to my newly-hung feeders, and hopefully have something for this blog. I appreciate your kind encouragement. Let's hope the summer is good hummerwise!