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 (

Monday, August 31, 2015

Closed For the Season - will reopen aug 2016. Long Island National Parks - Friar's Head? - a not-forgotten scandal

We are now closed to all except personal friends (and then only by appointment) until august 2016. In my next few posts I"ll be featuring recent photos by Michael Pawluk, for example the one above. In my next post I''ll write a "wrap-up" - an overview of the just closed month.

But for now I draw your attention to an opinion piece in today's NY Times, by Nicholas Kristof. He writes about his recent wilderness camping experience, and laments the ongoing attempt to "privatize" (i.e. commercialize) our fabulous national parks and other federal open space.  The comments are well worth reading, and one makes the important point that there are very few national parks east of the Rockies. Indeed the few along the east coast are usually a long drive and crowded. This makes it doubly important to preserve our dwindling open space and natural lands, especially here on Long Island, which is already as crowded as all other islands in the world, except for 16 others such as Taiwan. Indeed there is no national park on mainland Long Island (except for part of Fire Island), with its nearly 8 million people.

However there ARE (or, better, until very recently WERE) national park-worthy large tracts of land on Long Island. Indeed, there is (or was, until very recently) one only half a mile west of the sanctuary: Friar's Head, the former Talmage property (aka "the Grandifolia Sandhills", 450 acres with 1 mile of Long Island Sound frontage (yes, you read that right).
This candidate national park contains (or contained) 2 globally-rare natural features: perched parabolic sand-dunes and the best example anywhere in the world  ((yes, you also read that right). Anywhere else in the world (even N. Korea) would have made strenuous efforts to protect even one such feature, but The Town of Riverhead gave the golf resort then known as "Traditional Links" permission to bulldoze it on feb 1 2000 - and the following day (the dead of winter) it was a fait accompli.
More about this nightmare in my next posts. In the meantime I''ll  post some links that provide useful background reading to this disgusting saga in the column to the right of this post

Friday, August 28, 2015

blood drops; still some availability monday

click this photo by Bert Spitz

Young male hummers (the adult males have all left) sometimes have a small cluster of tiny ruby feathers on their throat - the future gorget. In the right light it flashes like a bright red stoplight - a fragment of the future gorget. Here's a recent photo of this drop of blood by Mark Schaller:

And here's an older video of Fred's full gorget -note how it looks black from the side, but flashes brilliantly when he turns towards the camera.

There's still some availability monday (our LAST DAY THIS YEAR)

Other Types of Hummingbird, in the Eastern US; Closing is Nigh, but still availability sat-mon.

Recent photo by Mark Schaller. Rosebud sage (Salvia involucrata)

There are around 340 species of hummingbird in the Americas (a species is a variety that does not normally interbreed with other varieties). They are found from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego, but only the ruby throat breeds in the eastern US (basically because this is the only species that has evolved the trick of crossing the Gulf of Access). However several of the US's western species can be seen rarely but regularly in the eastern US (but do not breed there). These are "vagrants", and the commonest vagrant species is the Rufous. In the winter of 2012/13 James Conforti hosted a rufous right here on Long Island, in Mount Sinai; here is one of my blog posts about this hardy soul, who we called Nemo, because he arrived during that winter storm. Rufous hummingbirds breed in the north-western US, up into Alaska, and migrate to Central America for the winter (mostly the Mexican state of Guerrero), but storms can bring them as far as the east coast (mostly in the South). Here is a map showing recent sightings of vagrant Rufous. Notice there's even a report in Nova Scotia! The reports include some cases where the observer could not decide between a Rufous and the very similar Allen's.
We will be closing for the season after monday aug 31, though of course personal friends are always welcome to visit (with notice and arrangement). There are still some openings available aug 29-31.
Here's a nice butterfly (american painted lady; Vanessa virginiensis, on Zinnia, shot by Bob Immoor:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Porpoises visit the hummingbird sanctuary - without a waiver! More slots posted thur pm and fri am

A group of visitors on sunday afternoon switched their attention from hummers to porpoises: we had a great view of a large pod of them frolicking in the Sound in front of us, about 1000 feet offshore. There must have been at least 50, slowly moving west. I shot video:

The first vid is in regular time (and thus has a sound track) and the other in 2X slo-mo

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ruby-throat Migration; Wall Street Mafia and Hummer Lifespan

Take-off. Yesterday's photo by Marvin Shepherd

Ruby-throat migration is in full swing and yesterday morning's north wind undoubtedly triggered a drop in numbers at the sanctuary, partly recouped later in the day by new arrivals from further north. The adult males (including Fred) have already left (though there's always the possibility of a new arrival from much further north, because once the females are no longer receptive to his considerable charms there's no point in sticking around. The male plays no part in rearing chicks. The earlier he arrives on his wintering grounds (see blue on the map), the better the new territory he can establish there. The wintering grounds extend from southern Mexico, down to Costa Rica (where I've personally seen ruby-throats wintering). Once the chicks are independent (a few days after leaving the nest), the adult females will follow, and then the juveniles in order of fledging. However, each must first spend a few days fattening up to prepare for the arduous journey ahead. This makes the birds come frequently to the flowers and feeders, which is why august and september sees the most activity at the sanctuary, and of course in your own back-yard.
I too must fatten up (financially) prior to my own southward migration (in late december) and indeed my first "fall semester" lecture at the University is tomorrow. Visitors to the sanctuary (confirmed reservation required) will be greeted by members of our wonderful band of volunteers. I'll write more aboutthe fascinating migration process in my next post, but now I must review my lecture notes in preparation for tomorrow's class!
Ww are now nearing the end of our august visiting period: we will be closed after aug 31, but I hope, all being well, that we will open most days until then: keep an eye on the blog for available slots!

When the judge asked Willie Sutton why he robbed banks, he famously answered, "because that's where the money is". But now it's the banks and hedge funds that rob us: median household wealth declined by $5K from 2001 to 2011 (see here) but the banks etc got bailed out and are now doing better than ever. Most financial profits are reaped by a variety of legal scams, and some not so legal. The dividing line is fuzzy, and I suspect that the closer you are to the borderline, the more money can be made (like sailing close to the wind). What's puzzling is why in a democracy the financial/legal system is rigged. The best explanation seems to be that we are not really a democracy, but a plutocracy, as we always were, except for a brief period after the great depression. This is why I refer to the Wall Street Mafia, which shades imperceptibly into the top echelons of big business. In the end it boils down to the fact that in a stable economy the only way to make money is to take it from other, weaker, people. This is not true in a growing economy, but as we are beginning to realize unlimited growth isn't possible, or desireable.
The ruby-throat population is rather stable (with minor year-to-year fluctuations). Since each bird produces around 1 additional bird on average per year, it must be the case that half the population dies each year, giving an average lifespan of 1 year (I'm using a simplified statistical model). However some skilled birds (all females) make it to at least 11 years. I suspect that the main cause of death is the perilous migration - especially crossing the Gulf of Mexico. We come, via the Wall Street Mafia, full circle.

                                                                       Angelo Mozillo

                                                      Lloyd Blankfein, doing God's work

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rainy morning but hummers active

Will post further updates soon, but those with reservations will find it dry under the front porch and hummers quite active. You will probably not get another opportunity this year.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Rain or Shine; Cherry Alert; Lawsuit

This fellow is probably a young male, even though there's not yet even a hint of red on the throat. There are black dots there, and his general appearance is masculine: short and squat not long and elegant. Very recent photo by Michelle Neacy.

Our policy for confirmed visits is strictly "rain or shine", though if you cancel more than 4 hours ahead we will allow you to try for another slot. If you simply fail to show, you get banned from the sanctuary for this year. By the same token, if you want to visit, keep an eye on the blog for last-minute cancellations. If the forecast is for less than 100% rain probability, it will likely only rain a bit during your visit. Furthermore, rain often provides the best viewing conditions: hummers deal with rain very well, continue to feed, and often come to the front porch (where there are sheltered feeders). You will be dry there, and can shelter in the front cabin if the rain becomes driving, and admire the numerous hummingbird photographs that adorn the walls. These photos have been brought by visitors over the years.

The sanctuary hosts a large number of wild cherry trees (Black Cherry, Prunus serotina; the closely related choke cherry Prunus virginiana, is more shrubby). These are picturesque small trees with fairly sparse foliage which are ideal for the Trumpet Creeper ( Campsis radicans; I'll write more about these beautiful and hummer-friendly plants very soon). These black cherries have pretty white flowers in late spring. However they can be very messy, and this year the fruit are abundant and often fall on the seats underneath. If you sit on them they can leave dark stains, so beware! I try to remove the night's crop from the chairs in the morning , but more may fall. If you do see some on the seat, sample them - they are tart but quite small. Claire and I once collected enough to make jam - probably the best I've ever tasted, but a lot of work. Birds, such as chickadees and cedr waxwing, love these cherries, and of course seedlings pop up everywhere. Do not sit on the ground - you will stain your clothes. And while on this general topic, please do not put your bag etc on the chairs - they are reserved for bottoms! Put them on the deck or, after scrutiny, on the ground. Someone very kindly brought 2 old but fairly sturdy park benches to the sanctuary - please think of us if you are throwing out sturdy old NON-PLASTIC garden furniture.

The ongoing lawsuit by several neighbors seeks to close the sanctuary. The Complaint is a public record, and its primary thrust is that hummingbird sanctuaries are illegal under the Code of the Town of Riverhead. However, the Complaint does not list the applicable section of the Code, and in fact the Code does not (of course) mention hummingbird sanctuaries. Thus the Complaint seems to be founded on a speculative interpretation of the Code, perhaps based on the hypothesis that everything that is not specifically permitted, is prohibited (like brushing one's teeth in one's backyard?).

More specifically the Plaintiffs' lawyer's line of argument might be that a hummingbird sanctuary (if allowed at all) would only be allowed secondary to a primary use, that my property (composed of 2 lots, only one of which is, minimally, developed is zoned for residential use only, and that in order to have a secondary use, there must already be a primary use - specifically, an existing residence. By this argument, someone who owns 2 contiguous lots, one with a residence, the other undeveloped, would not be allowed to have a vegetable garden on the undeveloped lot (and perhaps would not even be allowed to walk onto it) - clearly an absurd theory.
In my next post I will explore this and other aspects of the lawsuit.

Photo by Bob Immoor

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

walking to the sanctuary

I impose a 6-car limit in the parking lot, which limits the number of people who can visit (and is a good reason to try to share your ride with friends and neighbors). Of course at any one time there are usually fewer than 6 cars, but I cannot allow more than 6. However you can walk to the sanctuary from the south end of Terry Farm, parking either in the Sound Ave Preserve lot (immediately east of the southern end of Terry Farm Rd) or simply on the side of Sound Ave. It's a 0.7 mile, quite pretty hike, and often quite hot, at least until you reach the forest. But maybe you can catch a ride back with another visitor. Even walkers must ask for an appointment, either am (from 9.30 to 12.30) or pm (3-5.30) and must receive confirmation, waiver and directions. However you can apply to come on any day in august, regardless of whether that date is posted as available at the blog. BUT PLEASE DO NOT LIE: if you plan to walk, you CANNOT ARRIVE AT THE SANCTUARY BY CAR. Also, you cannot be dropped off at the sanctuary by an unconfirmed car: NO UNCONFIRMED CAR SHOULD ENTER TERRY FARM RD.

This photo was taken yesterday by Jason Ganz. More of his photos tomorrow!

Monday, August 17, 2015

If you cannot come, PLEASE CANCEL! Why is the US so litigious? Legal Blackmail


Before writing more about the ongoing lawsuit that seeks to close down the hummingbird sanctuary, I should address the following question: Why is the US so litigious, even compared to other countries? For example, the country that is in many ways closest and most similar to the US is Canada, but according to the above table the US litigates at 4 times the Canadian rate (on a per capita basis; the number hardly changes on a GDP/capita basis).

Very simple: if you file a suit that does not have a high probability of succeeding, in Canada your will likely have to pay the defendant's legal costs. Thus only very strong suits get filed. In the US filing a suit is often - even usually - a legal form of blackmail: if you don't do what I want, I'll sue you, so even though you are right and I'm wrong, you will incur tremendous costs, and possibly make a mistake and let me grab your assets. 

Of course another factor is that there are 15 times more lawyers per capita in the US than in Canada! However, this partly reflects US litigiousness rather than the other way round: in the US the best and safest way to make money is legal blackmail, fraud and robbery.

Are Americans healthier, wealthier or happier as a result? No. 
Life expectancies Canada 82 US 79
median per capita wealth: 48K v 40K
Happiness Ranking: 5 v. 17

Indeed, I suspect one of the reasons we are poorer, less healthy and less happy is our litigiousness, which hardly fosters social harmony.

On a happier note, here's a recent photo by Mike Chachkes

If you cannot come please let me know so I can open a place for another. Thanks!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Newsday Article

One of my guests today mentioned a recent article in Newsday about the hummingbird sanctuary. Here's a link:
It's behind a pay wall but by answering a few questions you can get access. What's nice is it's in their section for children, "KidsDay".  I'm always very happy when children visit (closely supervised by a responsible adult) - the future of our planet is in their hands, and even if I can get one child to get interested in nature, and put aside the electronics for an hour or 2, I feel the whole idea of a hummingbird sanctuary on Long Island is a good one. And what better way to enjoy nature than to watch hummingbirds performing their incredibe acrobatic antics. Of course it brings quiet, innocent, natural pleasure to people of all ages: yesterday we had a 93 year old lady, who has been coming for many years, and still as alert, lively and happy as ever, though now she uses a cane. She spent several hours on the front deck and was very quick at spotting the birds.

The new Newsday piece makes it clear we are open only in august, by appointment, and fortunately came out in april. It provides a link to our website, which spells out that visiting is BY PRIVATE APPOINTMENT only, and provides a link to this blog, where the appointment procedures are detailed (see right-hand column). Hopefully Newsday realizes that their last rather misleading and ill-timed article nearly closed the sanctuary down (and because of the ongoing lawsuit and the outstanding, though inactive, ticket issued by the Town of Riverhead, it might still be obliged to do so; of course Riverhead is serious about hummingbirds but not criminal activity)

Here are some great recent butterfly pictures from the sanctuary by Greg Olonoff.

In all 3, the flower is Butterfly Bush. The first 2 show Spicebush Swallowtail, and the last one Tiger Swallowtail.

Friday, August 14, 2015

helicopter meeting report and lawsuit; difficulties asking for an appointment

Recent photo by Steve Silberstein; the flower is bog sage

Last night I went to yet another helicopter noise meeting, in Southhold. The large room was almost full, as always. The supervisors of East Hampton (Larry Cantwell), Riverhead (Sean Walters), Southampton and Southold were there, Ken Lavalle (State Senator), Al Krupski (State Legislator), and a representative from Congressman Zeldin's office were all there, plus officers of various anti-noise group (eg the wonderful Kathy Cunningham).
Cantwell updated us on the status of their recently passed legislation, which imposes curfews and a once a week roundtrip limit. The latter provision has not taken effect, as a result of a preliminary injunction ("PI") issued by Judge Siebert in response to a lawsuit by an industry group, and as a result the noise is actually worse than ever. A PI requires there be immediate liklihood of irreparable harm to the plaintiffs (and probably  the one trip a week limit would undermine their business model). However, a PI also requires the judge to weigh the probable harm to the plaintiffs to the certain harm of the defendants (the citizens of E Hampton), and presumably the certain harm to the other East End Towns as well. Presumably her reasoning was that those suffering from aircraft are not suffering from financial harm. 
And that of course is the bottom line in most of these lawsuits: nonfinancial (though very real) harm doesn't count, but money does, as we all know. 

If you want to visit the sanctuary, you need an appointment. You can see how to do this at the top of the right-hand column of this blog. It's very straightforward, but nevertheless some people seem to have difficulties. I think part of the problem is that people are viewing the blog or their email on a hand-held device, not a proper computer. They cannot easily see the info, they make typing errors etc. If you have any difficulty I suggest using a proper computer before asking me to help.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hummingbird Mural in Downtown Riverhead Saved! The Lawsuit.....

There's a very pretty hummingbird mural in downtown Riverhead. It was recently threatened with removal, but it now seems as if it might stay:
The artist, Caitlyn Shea , created a Facebook page to petition to have it stay. Here's the link (see also my "Links" section in the right-hand column of this blog):

Here at the sanctuary it looks like yet another beautiful day ahead. The wind yesterday and this morning is from the north west, which often triggers southerly departure, and hummer activity was only moderate yesterday compared to the previous week. However it will turn southwesterly this afternoon, which I hope will cause some hummers to stop at the sanctuary on their southerly migration.

Here's another recent photo by Greg Olanoff:

Newcomers to the blog probably don't realize that some of my neighbors are suing me to close the sanctuary completely and for $3,000,000 damages. You can find links to various documents about this ongoing nightmare in the right-hand column of this blog, under "Interesting Links". I'll review the current state of the lawsuit in future posts, but meanwhile some of you might like to read these documents as background.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Corrected photo attribution; Perseid meteors tonight! fragrance too! Napoleon in Florida

I'll be out on the front deck tonight and tomorrow night looking for shooting stars (and enjoying the scent of Nicotiana alata):

Here's the daytime view (photo by Mary O'Connor)

I wrote in my last post about Frederick Delius, who might have fathered a mulatto child in Florida. Another even more likely Floridian was Prince Joachim Murat (in uniform, next to his mother, Napoleon's sister)

nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte,  who lived on this plantation

and became the mayor of Tallahassee and friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The Walk to the Paradise Garden"; the lawsuit

Yesterday in the rain, by Bob Immoor. New slots posted (see to the right of this post)

My title today is that of a wonderful piece of classical music by Frederick Delius. It makesme think of the sanctuary Woodland Trail that starts at the yellow minibridge and ends at the main hummingbird viewing area near the cottages and the bluff overlooking Long Island Sound. Many visitors compare the sanctuary to paradise, though I usually respond that's it's a cross between that and a junkyard. Indeed, the land here was for many years used as a farmers' garbage dump, and whenever I plant something I come up with old bottles and shoes, rusted-out engines and bedsteads (one of which still adorns the woodland trail) and so forth. Of course when the neighbors' "landscaping" team are here it's more like hell than heaven.

The Youtube video painting captures a bit of the flavor. It's by Atkinson Grimshaw who was born in and worked in Yorkshire, along with Delius and yours truly (all within a few miles of each other). The piece is an interlude from Delius's opera "A Village Romeo and Juliet", and the "Paradise Garden" is just the name of a seedy pub where the lovers meet. Again rather appropriate! One of the comments on this video (Barbirolli conducting) refers accurately to "sumptuous dream music".

Delius spent several years in the US around 1900, residing in Florida on the St John's river, and also in Danville, Virginia, both rather pretty places - back then. Claire and I once spent an afternoon searching for his orange plantation in Florida - as did the violinist and Delian Tasmin Little:

The good citizens of Danbury recently organized a celebration of his stay there. He often visited Burleigh Plantation, just over the North Carolina border. Delius finally settled in Grez-sur-Loing (near Paris). There's a marvelous Ken Russell video about his life:

Here's another wonderful piece he wrote in response to his garden in Grez.

I keep intending to write about the ongoing lawsuit seeking to close the hummingbird sanctuary, and the corresponding Town action, but the whole subject is so unpleasant that words seem, uncharacteristically, to fail me. But I will write something soon,  to update everyone. But there are no big surprises.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Minor disaster in Stony Brook delays responding to emails; Update

At the height of today's storm, at around 8 am, a large branch fell on our roof in Stony Brook. I rushed over and found that while the branch did not crush the roof, its jagged tip penetrated the roof and water was dripping inside the living room. It also smashed a window. We could not remove the offending branch, but managed to get a tarp over the relevant part of the roof, until repairs can be done, after clearing a lot of smaller branches with my small, quiet but trusty Ryobi lithium chainsaw. I will be a bit delayed in answering your requests for appointments, but will tackle them in the order received.
I had not been to Stony Brook since the big storm 10 days ago, and it was impressive, and rather daunting, to see all the debris still everywhere.
I should be back on track in Baiting Hollow tonight. Luckily, because of the rain, all today's visitors canceled. However, at 7.30 am I sat on the front porch, dry in the then light rain, and happily observed the hummers braving the drops to feed. The gray wet background was quite magical, and the heavy rain that came later very welcome.

The above photo is from a few days ago, by Bill Milanese. The flower is lavender porterweed ("hummer cocaine")

UPDATE: I'm back at the sanctuary, and have cleared the backlog of requests. My friend Bob Immoor was here in the rain and reports: "It was both an exhilarating and frustrating experience today. As you have said, the birds come out in the rain, sometimes swarming competitively in groups of up to four, and sometimes just hovering over my head. Unfortunately though, the numbers meant that as soon as one began to feed, another or others chased it away. I did get a few photos of the birds and flowers in the rain though".  Here's one of them, more tomorrow.

The flower is bog sage (Salvia uliginosa)

Monday, August 10, 2015

Lots of Slots; Hoping for rain; quick summary of visiting process

Lots of slots available, especially wed pm.
I've posted some more slots, and will continue to do throughout august, but you must ask for specific posted slots, not ones that are not yet posted. A one-line email with your name and the size of your party and requested slot date/time (i.e. am or pm) will do it, and anything else just slows and complicates for all concerned. Then if still available (almost always is) I will send an approval email with basic instructions, plus the vital waiver form, and directions. You must read this email, and make sure all in your party are aware of these basic procedures.

Photo by Greg Olanoff

I'm looking forward to much-needed rain tomorrow, and I suspect the hummers are too.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Jumpstart 2015; new visiting slots

Current visiting slots: mon,tues,wed, thur this week. See righthand column for details and procedures.

Friday evening there was an Arts Festival "JumpStart" in downtown Riverhead, and Claire and I spent part of the evening strolling around and enjoying some of the many activities, both outside and in. It was great to see downtown vibrant and once again it reminded us of the immense potential, and the positive signs that the sleeping beauty is awakening. Of course what's needed is more things to do (shops, gardens restaurants, galleries, bridge over the river etc) along the Riverfront, but the first things to do is multistory parking! Many good locations for this, but of course it needs some local government initiative. But Riverhead is  stalwart Republican, and therefore completely opposed to any type of public investment, however beneficial. Indeed, given their anti-Government attitude, I cannot see why they are always so eager to govern!

For a report on this exciting event, see

Another perfect day at the sanctuary. Here are some more recent images, from Ken Eddy.

The middle image is the Great Spangled Fritillary

Saturday, August 8, 2015

ALWAYS CLOSED 12.30-3; Available (by appointment) times ("slots" ) for visits are posted in the right hand column of the blog

Some of you email me with requests for specific times (e.g. 12.30 pm or 4 pm). However, you may come/leave any time within your appointed slot (either 9.30-12.30 or 3-5.30), but you must have an appointment, which is only available for specific dates posted at this blog (in the right hand column),by emailrequest. Please do not request times other than those posted at the time you make your request: I cannot reserve specific dates/times in advance of those posted. Thanks for your cooperation!

This recent photo is by Janet Rudolph. The plant is shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeeana), a 3-star hummer plant. Note the bract is red, but the nectar is in the white flower.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

another great day at the sanctuary; separating the boys and girls

Another beautiful day here, with well-behaved visitors who all got an eye
full of good hummer activity. Many visitors ask how one can tell apart the male and female juveniles, since they both have the silver throat and flat tail of the adult females. Often one cannot, but sometimes the boys already have a spot red under the chin -what I call the "drop of blood". Janet Rudolph took this great photo today, which shows this very well. The red spot is made up of several  tiny ruby individual throat feathers. Sometimes it has only 1 feather and is very difficult to see, and sometimes there are several red spots, or none. The males develop their complete ruby-throat during their winters in Central America.  Of course even though only the adult males have the full ruby-red throat, all members of this species belong to the "ruby-throats", and this is the only hummingbird species that breeds on the east coast, or even east of the Mississippi. The flower is rosebud sage, with bog sage in the background. Fred Junior?

More available slots posted to the right, and many more to come soon. Please,  only ask for an AVAILABLE, POSTED, slots.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

where to see hummingbirds on Long Island; more slots posted

Above are a couple of recent photos by Bridgette Kistinger, taken at Bayard Cutting Arboretum. The flower is trumpet creeper. Other good places are Mashomack Preserve (Shelter Island), Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, Avalon Park (Stony Brook/Head of the harbor), and Alley Pond (Queens). But of course the best place is the BHHS! Here are some recent photographs.

Jose Munoz, Lavender Porterweed ("hummer cocaine")

                                      Greg Olanoff - rosebud salvia

Robert Imoor - Salvia guarantica

more to follow (and more available slot postings)

Monday, August 3, 2015

More slots posted - and many more to come

Another aug 1 photo by Mike Chachkes rosebud salvia.

Today we had quite a few visitors (including 2 excellent photographers - some of their images soon to come). It was quite spectular on the back deck: there was a prolonged (and still ongoing) aerial combat between the resident adult male (probably Fred) and a young hummer (male or female) who both wanted to own the flowers in pots there. They kept weaving between us, above us and all around us. It all looked quite playful but I think it was in deadly earnest - you don't want to mess with Fred, but the youngster won't give up. I shot a lot of video some of which I hope caught the action - and others took a lot of stills. More to come.

IF YOU SUCCESSFULLY ASK FOR AN APPOINTMENT to visit at your chosen slot time you will receive an approval email with various instructions. Please ensure that ALL IN YOU PARTY follow these key instructions.
And if you cannot understand, after carefully reading the column (to the right of this post) titled "Visiting in August", how to ask for an appointment please don't email me guessing, or assuming, or asking or imploring me. There are more people who want to come than can come and I give preference to those who understand and follow the rules. These rules have been established to make my life, and my neighbors', easier. I'm delighted to welcome hummingbird enthusiasts, and many of you follow the rules and quickly receive an appointment.
Additional available slots have been posted in the right-hand column of this blog, and many more will be, gradually and on a rolling basis. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

another beautiful day; great spangled fritillary; please follow the rules!

choices, choices.... rosebud or bog? Salvia uliginosa on the right, S. involucrata on the left, and Archilochus colubris in the middle. Another great photo by Mike Chachkes, from aug 1.

IF YOU SUCCESSFULLY ASK FOR AN APPOINTMENT to visit at your chosen slot time you will receive an approval email with various instructions. Please ensure that ALL IN YOU PARTY follow these key instructions.
And if you cannot understand, after carefully reading the column (to the right of this post) titled "August Visiting", how to ask for an appointment please don't email me guessing, or assuming, or asking me. There are more people who want to come than can come and I give preference to those who understand and follow the rules. These rules have been established to make my life, and my neighbors',  easier.

Another beautiful day sunday at the sanctuary, with more visitors to enjoy it than yesterday. 2 of them spotted this gorgeous large orange butterfly, feeding on buddleia, and later identified it as a Great Spangled Fritillary. We get lots of butterflies, drawn by the nectiferous plantings, mostly swallowtails (tiger and spicebush), monarchs, sulphurs, skippers and painted ladies. This one was unusual - thanks Carole for the photo.

I've posted additional slots.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Opening Day quiet! - but good hummer activity

Our opening day today was very quiet, with only 1 visitor, the excellent photographer and old friend Michael Chachkes. He saw quite a bit of activity on the front deck, and here are some of the results. Thanks Mike!
It was a perfect day, warm but fairly dry, with a wonderful westerly breeze.

rosebud sage (S. involucrata "Bethelii") - a hummer magnet.

All visits are by private invitation only - for details, see the righthand column of this blog.

bog sage (Salvia uliginosa)

shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeeana)

More to follow......