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 (

Sunday, February 28, 2016

close-up from a different angle, in the late afternoon sun

Mme W's second nest, filmed close-up from a different angle in the late afternoon sun at Calypso, Eleuthera. You can see that the breeze has picked up. As usual the nest is decorated with bits of lichen, just as on Long Island - but here there is very little lichen around, and I don't know where she finds it!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Close-up of Mme W on, and leaving, the nest.

I managed to get a bit closer without disturbing her - about 10 feet away. I'm also using a tripod so the movement you see is entirely due to the wind, which is not strong today. Mme W's last nest was wrecked by a combination of days of rain and powerful winds, which caused the branch not merely to sway, but to whip around. I'm sure that the current branch will sway a lot too, but we are unlikely to get prolonged rain - we are now well into the dry season, and indeed it has not rained significantly for 6 weeks. The major difficulties now will be that the gumbo limbo tree is starting to lose its leaves (which is always does in the dry season), eventually exposing the nest to the strong sun, and white-crowned pigeons loves the ripening fruit that undergird the nest.
At the end of the video she leaves the nest, as she does periodically. She takes off extremely rapidly - the clip is shot in real time, which is why you can hear faint background sounds, mainly the relatively clam ocean. I'll try to get some slo-mo shots of her arriving or leaving. Meanwhile here's a 4X slo-mo version of the current video.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Mme W does not give up - new nest in same tree!

Mme W is a female Bahama Woodstar hummingbird at Calypso, Eleuthera. A month ago she started a nest in a gumbo limbo tree but after successfully hatching her eggs the nest was wrecked in a windstorm. However, she does not give up - in fact she's started a new nest in the same gumbo limbo tree, this time on the north side which should be a bit more sheltered. She's incubating the new batch of 2 eggs. This clip shows the 2 eggs in the nest while she was absent from the nest. The nest is about head height in the tree, so I have to bend the branch cautiously with one hand and hold the camera with the other, so I cannot film the whole inside of the nest. But there are 2 eggs there, each the size of a small pea.
I'm fairly sure this is Mme W again, because she's chosen a very similar spot in a different low-hanging branch of the same gumbo-limbo (properly called a gum elemi) as in january. This time the tree is heavily fruiting and she's built the nest on a bunch of these fruit - exactly the same as Gumbo did 2 years ago (in a different gum elemi tree). It's even possible that Mme W is Gumbo!

The next 2 videos show her sitting on the eggs, taken from 2 different viewpoints (I zoom out at the end to show the general setting).

In this clip I'm looking north towards our cottage "Sea Star", and sitting in the white and blue chair.

In this third clip, I'm looking south towards the nest, and zoom out to reveal the host tree and the white and blue chair I used for filming the previous clip, then pan to the west to show the reddish trunk of another gumbo limbo and also yellow elder flowers. Her nest is actually well concealed by leaves, but there are a few narrow gaps through which I can see the nest.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Calypso Garden Movie

I've put together a short movie of Calypso garden scenes. Some of these clips will be familiar to my more dedicated viewers. It's very much a work in progress!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Calypso Rainbow

Sorry for the long silence - I've been busy with a family visit (9 extra people!). This evening a striking rainbow over the ocean here at Calypso.  Of course it was raining a bit and toward the end of the video a droplet lands on the camera lens.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Hummer feeding at red powderpuff

One of the prettiest hummingbird plants here at Calypso is red powderpuff (Calliandra hematocephala). The flowers looks rather like those of our Long Island Pink Powderpuff "Albizia julibrissin" which is also attractive to hummers, but are red, and the plant is a bush not a tree. If I sit near this for a few minutes a hummer is sure to soon visit the flowers. In this video initially there's a yellow butterfly on the flower, but it's quickly chased away by the hummer.

Here's another clip, at a different flower, and 4X slo-mo.

From my seat near this bush I can also see this view:

One can see the red flowers of a hibiscus, and on the right the massive trunk of a royal palm. A foxtail palm is in the background.and there are yellow butterflies flitting around. Royal palms are my favorite tree (together with live oaks, which do not grow here) and you will be seeing more of them - I have quite a collection at Calypso. Here's another nearby garden scene, with pink and red hibiscus, white bridal bouquet frangipani, and in the background Casuarina glauca (a suckering type of casuarina that unlike the much more common, and highly invasive,  Casuarina equisetifolia, does not produce the annoying seeds, and is more attractive, with darker, denser foliage.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Last LaLa photo;

This is whatI believe to be the last photo of LaLa, taken on wednesday jan 20 before the blizzard of jan 22/23. It was taken by the MaryLaura Lamont, an expert birder with a particular knowledge of hummingbirds. She confirms that LaLa is no longer around at the sanctuary. My heartfelt thanks to her and everyone else who worked hard to protect LaLa