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, May 1, 2015

Shep Jones Lane on May Day; more hummer arrivals

I went to a faculty meeting at Stony Brook University this morning, partly to test my strength. My colleagues seemed happy to see me alive, and I even managed to chip in a couple of relevant comments. I also renewed my parking garage car and my Stony Brook ID card (and, what's nice they turned out to be one and the same: one less card to carry.) However I grew tired as the morning advanced, and went home for lunch and a nap. I hope to go out to Baiting Hollow tomorrow and shoot some decent video of "my" hummingird, assuming he's still there as I think he will be.

But in the afternoon I went for a very short walk along Shep Jones Lane and the surrounding fields of Avalon Preserve - an absolutely beautiful spot just 5 minutes away from our house by car. My most dedicated readers may remember that I posted about Shep Jones (also the originator of a well-known folk-song) last fall. I've recently acquired a "smartphone" (Huawei Vision 2, cost $80 total at Consumer Cellular, with a $15 a month phone-and-data plan). So I took a photo at Shep Jones, and even managed to send it via Bluetooth to my MacAir computer (where I compose all these posts). Here is is:

Interestingly the fields at Avalon have just received their annual mowing. This allows all the marvelous wildflowers to self-seed, while keeping the fields open and free of perennial weeds and invasives.  They also look wonderful. If only I could persuade the Open Space Committee of Riverhead Town to proceed in similar fashion at the Town Preserve (the "Sound Ave Preserve") that lies very near the hummingbird sanctuary, at Sound Ave and Terry Farm Rd. But it's being completely neglected and choked with invasives (Rosa multiflora, Russian Olive, japanese honeysuckle etc), with wildflowers unable to establish. Their main focus seems to be in putting up signs and laying down thick coarse mulch on all the paths making them nearly un-walkable. Perhaps I will write more of my interactions with this committee when a more generous mood descends. I think that many visitors to this preserve prefer to walk up Terry Farm Rd itself, though even there the footing is not ideal, because of the gravel my neighbors like to deposit there. And of course the hummingbird sanctuary at its northern terminus is private and strictly closed until august (and not much to see till then either, except an invalid trying to rest). You can see how much more attractive, walkable and rural Terry Farm Rd used to look when I first arrived in Baiting Hollow 25 years ago here:

The above image shows part of the northwest Avalon field, and you can just make out a nice nesting box (for bluebirds?) . The footpath is the slightly more green part in the middle; in a few weeks the wild flowers will have grown up on either side of the footpath (which might receive a bit of additional mowing as the season advances. No horrible thick mulch on the paths, which makes for good walking. When the monarda and cardinal flower (the latter along the stream banks) come into bloom I expect to see hummingbirds there.

In the meantime here's a very recent nice hummer photo taken april 23 in Manorville by Bob and Alicia Evers. You can see the classic "ruby-throat" of the adult male (who are always the first to arrive).

And here's another, from Donna DeSousa in Greenlawn - her first ever northward migrating adult male, on april 30:

Enjoy Donna's Facebook Page "Friends of the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary", inspired by the legal attack on the sanctuary (ongoing saga of which more soon) but now a very useful general source of info about hummingbirds and hummer photography, with a focus on Long Island (see also the link to the right of this post).

Of course today is May Day, my traditional first arrival date for a male hummingbird in Baiting Hollow (though in recent years I've usually missed it because we would still be in Eleuthera). May Day is celebrated throughout the world (except the US) as International Workers' Day. Ironically this was initially started to honor some demonstrating workingmen who were executed long ago in Chicago (see Le plus ça change le plus ça reste la meme chose (sorry no circumflex accents on my keyboard). But we have Labor Day, when plutocrats helicopter en masse over the sanctuary on their way to East Hampton.

Has my illness made me dyspeptic? Or just given me the leisure to read and spout?


  1. I'm glad you posted about the Haymarket affair! So true. In addition to enjoying your blog about hummingbirds, I greatly enjoy your commentary about other important issues. It's also interesting to see photos from the past, to compare them with the present, such as the way neighborhoods/the environment may have changed. -Adrienne, one of your blog admirers.