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, September 25, 2015

hummers are back!

It seems as  though the low activity yesterday was fluke: numbers have picked up again - but we probably have only a couple of weeks more. Here's some video I shot 2 days ago. The hummer is feeding mainly at the red flowers of Salvia greggi (Autumn Sage) "Cherry Queen".

On sept 22 (the Autumn Equinox) the setting sun, which has been swiftly moving southward in the last 2 weeks, was exactly at Old Field Point.  For 6 months it's been setting over the sea (more exactly LI Sound) but now for the next 6 months it will set over land.
Last weekend I showed the sanctuary and the hummingbirds to the Facilities Manager of the 4H Camp, Bob Peck and his charming companion Katherine. They were fascinated by all the hummer activity. They walked over from their home,  the "Ranger House", quite close to me, where they maintain a hummingbird feeder, and get occasional visits. This confirms what I always thought - the hummers prefer the areas near the bluff, though I do see them regularly in the parking lot and along the Woodland Walk, by means of which  my invited hummingbird enthusiasts arrive at the sanctuary area, essentially unobserved or heard by my neighbors. I'm very lucky that my 3.4 acre property was never subdivided and runs all the way from the Mean High Water mark just above the Sound, to the Parking Lot (about 1000 feet). This means that the visitors walk entirely on my property after driving up Terry Farm Rd, finally reaching the cottages and the main blufftop viewing area.  I've also been very careful to preserve all the trees on my property, so my neighbors look out on a sea of green. It's a Nature Preserve, as well as a sanctuary for hummingbirds - as it has been for thousand of years. And as you know the views, 25 miles west, east and north, are almost unparalled on Long Island. I hope it can be kept this way for ever, for the enjoyment of all hummer-lovers.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

A visit to Long Island Plants; activity starting to fall

Until today the above clip of a hummingbird attack (one of the birds then goes on to feed unmolested) was a very typical scene which has played out many times every day since early august. But today I've only seen a couple of hummers here, one of then a young bird with a short beak feeding on jewelweed.

Just in time I went out on monday to see Bill Koller's place in Medford, where he runs Long Island Hummingbird Plants. As in previous years he is hosting at least 3 very active hummers, buzzing around the magnificent plants (all top-notch hummer-friendly) that flourish in his yard. His Salvia involucrata is the tallest I've ever seen, and his Pachystachys lutea, S "Phyllis's fancy" and numerous other superbly grown varieties (including a rampant Mina lobata, tall cardinal flowers, were amazing, and clearly appreciated by his flying jewels. Bill observes his hummers closely, and has an way of getting inside their avian thoughts, almost as though he is involved in their lives.
He still has some wonderful plants, excellently grown and in peak condition, for sale, and while we are sadly nearing the end of the season, now is to the best time to acquire some new beauties so that late-visiting birds on their way south will remember your place on their return to the Island in late spring.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 11, 2015

More of Daniel Hauben's work at the sanctuary

here's another of Daniel's evocative and exotic recent pastels at the sanctuary, entitled "Spanish Moss" :

and here's a photo of me and Daniel chatting while he's sketching me in a corner of a large oil canvas, taken by his charming and equally talented librettist-wife Judy:

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Bill Koller's clever idea; boy hummer


Lovely recent photo by Johann Schumacher shows a young male (note the beginnings of the adult forked tail).

Bill Koller, at Long Island Hummingbird Plants , and his wife Peg came over for their regular Labor Day visit. Of course we discussed all matters hummingbird, and I told him that I was having problems with wasps and bees going for the tiny seeps of nectar where the cap screws on the minifeeders. They also go to the outlet (not Tanger!) but when these stick their head in, I simply quickly (that's the key to avoid being stung) squish them between thumb and forefinger. But those on the seeps (invisible to the naked eye) are more easily able to see and evade their looming doom.

Bill said he dealt with this problem by simple putting plumber's teflon tape on the screw part - brilliant. I tried it out yesterday and it really works. Bill still has some excellent hummer plants for those late arrivals (or, in the case of columbine, for those arriving in the spring.)

Monday, September 7, 2015

Firecracker; Helicopter Noise Petition; Friar's Head Lawsuit

The top photo (a very recent one by Bob Immoor) shows a ruby-throat juvenile feeding on firecracker plant (Russellia equisetiformis)  at the sanctuary. The video underneath shows a Bahama Woodstar feeding at huge sprawling firecracker at Calypso, our winter place on Eleuthera. It was shot in early april when I first fell ill (I'm now almost fully recovered). In both locations it's an excellent hummingbird plant.

Please sign my Helicopter Noise Petition.

Returning to the Friar's Head scandal, let me quickly summarize my interpretation of what happened - in my next post

Friday, September 4, 2015

Daniel Hauben paints more pictures at the sanctuary; Sign the Petition! Lawsuit


Here's the Mike Pawluk photo I posted in my last post, and here's Daniel Hauben's delightful pastel version of much the same scene (though done a month earlier, with different things blooming):

Daniel ( is from the Bronx, and is famous for his wonderful and often animated Bronx street scenes. In late july he was artist-in-residence at the excellent East End Arts Center  (EEAC) on Main Street in Riverhead (near the Suffolk Theater and Atlantis Aquarium), and came up here to paint. I'll be featuring more of his work here and on the north fork, and I hope you will be able to order giclé prints - and even splurge on one of his originals. Let me or Daniel know if you are interested in giclés - I imagine his pricing will depend on volume.
He's back again this week at EEAC and has been painting more at the sanctuary - more to follow.

In the mean time please sign my noise petition to Schumer , if you have not already done so:
I'll get back to the Friar's Head saga, and the lawsuit, in my next few posts.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Please sign my petition to Senator Schumer on; sanctuary now closed

recent photo by Jim Grant. The hummer is feeding at the white flower of shrimp plant. The "shrimp" is the red bract of the bloom, but the hummer has to learn that the white flower has the nectar, not the red shrimp.
Though hummers continue to be active, we are now closed for the season.

I have created a petition to Senator Chuck Schumer asking him to intervene to limit the noisy overflights of helicopters and seaplanes, on their way to or from East Hampton to Manhattan. They interfere with conversation and make it difficult or impossible to hear the subtle hummingbird  sounds which are often a good clue to where to look. Please sign the petition: