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, May 29, 2017

Fred snacks at bedtime; visiting procedures

The past few evenings, just after sunset,  Fred has been feeding at a clump of Autumn Sage (Salvia greggeii "Autumn Sage") even though he completely ignores it throughout the day. Maybe it's because the light is better (though still not good)  on the front deck than almost any other location, or maybe it's simply because that's the time I almost always sit there.
Happy Memorial Day everyone! - even though the weather continues wet, gray and cold on the unofficial start of summer.
Reminder: this will be our last year for public visitation, and only during the period july 20 - sept 15. Although you need an appointment to visit, you can only request this once the actual open days are posted at this blog, starting around july 15. Please do not request an appointment until the available dates are posted.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Calypso garden clips

More gray cold wet weather so to cheer me up (and I hope you) here are some garden scenes from our winter place in the Bahamas, "Calypso"

This is the view I see when I wake from my afternoon nap.

Finally, for those wondering where the hummingbirds are, here is a century plant bloom (30 feet high), with a hummingbird and bananaquits enjoying the feast.

Monday, May 22, 2017

More Fred Clips; McKee Gardens

Here are a few more videos of Fred perching from the same session as my last post.

The day before we visited Mepkin Abbey, we went to 2 Florida gardens, Heathcote (Fort Pierce) and McKee (Vero Beach), both of which we had visited during previous NY-Fort Lauderdale trips. Here are a somne videos from McKee Botanical Garden. How I wish I were back at McKee on this cold, wet gray day in Baiting Hollow!


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fred and Coralita - mating dance

Yesterday (saturday) evening I sat near the bluff-edge feeder where I had often seen a female hummingbird. However, when she arrived she actually visited the large coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens, an excellent native north-eastern  American vine) which climbs up the northeastern corner of the front cabin. Because of her liking for this vine, I am calling her Coralita. Shortly after I saw Fred, the resident male hummingbird, visiting this feeder repeatedly, and perching in the vicinity, perhaps hoping for a date (or more) with Coralita. One of the perches was part way down the bluff itself, and here is a long video of him preening, bill-cleaning, chirping and scrutinizing his surroundings.You can see some dull red flashes from his gorget, but he was in shadow and the angle was not ideal. The soundtrack is other birds singing and the waves on the beach below.

Then after a while Coralita came to the feeder, and quite quickly Fred intervened. I could not quite see what happened next but within a few seconds I saw that Fred was performing a mating dance just below me, presumably for her benefit, though I could not see where she was. Here's Coralita snacking on coral honeysuckle, and then another video of Fred, with a clear red flash at the end when he quits his perch.

Next, Coralita visits the bluffside feeder (perhaps best played back at 0.25 speed - use the Youtube cogwheel) - and just as she leaves Fred arrives (not shown).

Shortly after, Fred does his mating dance. The video shows only the last segment of the dance, and it's difficult to follow, until you watch carefully the upper left and right corners, where Fred briefly swings above the level of the vegetation. He then plunges down to the center middle of the frame and swings rapidly up to the other top corner. Presumably the object of his affections is located somewhere in the plant tangle at the bottom center of the frame. He's almost impossible to see as he moves rapidly across the vegetation. You can try running the vid at 0.25 speed, though he's still streaking near the dance nadir! The female judges the male largely based on the speed and accuracy of the dance.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Initial Hummingbird Videos at the Sanctuary; Visiting

Here are a couple of rather poor clips showing the adult male (I presume it's "Fred", from previous years - though it could be "Son of Fred") in residence at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary. The top one shows him perching at the tip of a dead black pine tree, located part way down the eastern slope of the western valley. From this spot he gets an excellent view of this valley (though since it's quite far away and not on my property) I do not get an excellent view of him. He spends most of his time scrutinizing his territory for either intruders or potential mates. But sometimes he very briefly visits one of my feeders. The second video shows him perching on a branch just above a feeder.

We will be open to visitors (by appointment only) certain days during the period july 20 - sept 15. Details of available dates and how to obtain an appointment will be posted in july at this blog. Please note no appointments can be made until the exact available dates are posted. Do not request an appointment until available dates are announced. This will be the last summer I open the sanctuary to the public, because the settlement of the lawsuit (brought by a neighbor) to which I agreed stipulates that public visitation will cease after sept 15 2017. However I will of course continue to welcome visits by friends and personal guests.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Back at the sanctuary - 2 hummingbirds sighted; Mepkin Abbey

I'm back at the sanctuary, and have already sighted 2 hummingbirds - a male and a female. The male is perching a lot near a feeder between the 2 cabins, and the female is dashing briefly to a feeder on the edge of the bluff - very typical behaviors at this time of year. I will try to get video but in the mean time here are some clips I recently filmed during our visit to the garden at Mepkin Abbey, on the Cooper river north of Charleston. It's a Trappist (= silent) monastery and suitably quiet, as you can appreciate on the soundtrack.
I can't believe it's nearly 2 months since my last post, my only excuse is the rather limited bandwidth in Eleuthera and then during our weeklong drive north from Fort Lauderdale to Stony Brook, via Wilmington N.C.