Sunday Inspiration – Woodshrikes and Helmetshrikes

White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus) ©WikiC

White-crested Helmetshrike (Prionops plumatus) ©WikiC

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:17 KJV)

The two families this week are the Woodshrikes from tropical Asia and the Helmetshrikes are birds of Africa. Both are from the PASSERIFORMES – Passerines Order, which are Songbirds. The Lord has given them all a song to sing. Trust you will enjoy seeing them and listening to our orchestra play about ‘Joy.”

Large woodshrike (Tephrodornis gularis) ©WikiC

Large woodshrike (Tephrodornis gularis) ©WikiC

Tephrodornithidae – Woodshrikes and allies – 8 Species – is a family of birds that includes the genera Hemipus, Tephrodornis and Philentoma. The family was proposed in 2006 on the basis of a molecular phylogenetic study by Moyle which showed a close relation between Hemipus and Tephrodornis. Some taxonomists argue for a broader treatment of the genera under the Vangidae

Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike (Prionops scopifrons) ©WikiC

Chestnut-fronted Helmetshrike (Prionops scopifrons) ©WikiC

Prionopidae – Helmetshrikes – 8 Species –This is an African and south Asian group of species which are found in scrub or open woodland. They are similar in feeding habits to shrikes, hunting insects and other small prey from a perch on a bush or tree. Although similar in build to the shrikes, these tend to be colourful species with the distinctive crests or other head ornaments, such as wattles, from which they get their name.

Helmetshrikes are noisy and sociable birds, some of which breed in loose colonies. They lay 2-4 eggs in neat, well-hidden nests.

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But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:8-9 NKJV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, (Galatians 5:22 KJV)

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. (Psalms 51:8 KJV)

Listen to the Faith Baptist Orchestra play as you watch these two beautifully created families of birds:

” I’ve Got Joy” ~ by the Faith Baptist Orchestra

Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

Tephrodornithidae – Wikipedia

Tephrodornithidae – Le quide ornitho

Helmetshrike – Wikipedia

Helmetshrikes – Bird Families of the World

Wordless Birds


I.O.C. Version 5.2 Updated

Ashy Gerygone (Gerygone cinerea) ©PNG Katerina Tvardikova

Grey Thornbill (Acanthiza cinerea) – (was the Ashy Gerygone) ©PNG Katerina Tvardikova

For the last few days I have been updating to the new I.O.C. Version 5.2. This update wasn’t too bad.

“The IOC World Bird List 5.2 contains 10,567 extant species (and 149 extinct species)  classified in 40 Orders,  238 Families (plus 2 Incertae Sedis) and 2277 Genera.  The list also includes 20,803 subspecies.” I don’t list the subspecies here.

Version 5.2 added 10 species:

And Deleted 3 species:

  • Forsten’s Megapode (Megapodius forsteni)
  • Central Nicobar Serpent Eagle (Spilornis [cheela] minimus)
  • Northern Parrotbill (Paradoxornis polivanovi)

They changed the name of 8 species:

Bluebonnet (Northiella haematogaster) to Eastern Bluebonnet
Swan River Honeyeater (Melithreptus chloropsis) to Gilbert’s Honeyeater
Wattled Honeyeater (Foulehaio carunculatus) to Greater Wattled Honeyeater
Giant Honeyeater (Gymnomyza viridis) to Yellow-billed Honeyeater
Ashy Gerygone (Acanthiza [Gerygone] cinerea) to Grey Thornbill
Chestnut-backed Quail-thrush (Cinclosoma castanotum) to Chestnut Quail-thrush
Mottled Whistler (Rhagologus leucostigma) to Mottled Berryhunter
Blue Seedeater (Amaurospiza concolor) to Cabanis’s Seedeater

They changed 2 scientific names:

  • Ashy Gerygone – Gerygone cinerea to Acanthiza cinerea (then changed the name to Grey Thornbill – see above)
  • Yellow-bellied Fantail – Chelidorhynx hypoxantha to Chelidorhynx hypoxanthus

As far as I know, all Family pages and all the Indexes have been changed. The Update is so new that photos are difficult to locate at this time. Many of the “new species” are subspecies raised to specie level. I am sure the Lord knows all about how many birds He Created and where they all are.

My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: (Proverbs 24:21 KJV)

For I am the LORD, I change not; (Malachi 3:6a KJV)

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8 KJV)

Birds of the World


Zoominations at Lowry Park Zoo

Pandas - ZooMinations at Lowry Park Zoo

Pandas – ZooMinations at Lowry Park Zoo

On that last visit to Lowry Park Zoo a few weeks ago, we took photos of their Zoominations celebration decorations. It is a Chinese Lantern Festival. We only saw these fantastic festival luminations without the lights. I have included our photos and links to the LPZ Zoominations.

Peacock – ZooMinations at Lowry Park Zoo

The animals and critters are silk and other materials stretched over wire sculptures. I touched one, before I knew about how they were made, and could tell it was material. They are so gorgeous.

My favorites were the Pandas, Peacock and the Dragon.

Dragon - ZooMinations at Lowry Park Zoo

Dragon – ZooMinations at Lowry Park Zoo

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17 KJV)

Check these photos out:

Zoominations Video tells about it. 

Gallery of Zoominations lit up.

Who Paints The Leaves?


“Flag That Bird!” (Part 3)

“Flag that bird!”  (Part 3)

 As birds flying [‘aphôth = “winging” in air], so will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also He will deliver it; and passing over He will preserve it. (Isaiah 31:5)

Some birds are known for perching – we call them passerines.  Some wade in shoreline tidewaters – we call them waders.  Some birds don’t even fly at all – the flightless penguins only “fly” underwater!  Many other birds, however, we rarely see doing anything but flying — winging in the air (to use the Biblical Hebrew’s word-picture). Today’s featured creature, the Great Frigatebird, is truly a bird of flight – it is conspicuous in the air, and its wings are both acrobatic and enormous. Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Female by Ian In Flag those Birds! (Part 1)”,  we considered 4 “banner birds”  –  besides globally popular eagles  –  that appear on national flags:  Belgium’s Wallonian Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus); Portugal’s Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis); Burma’s Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus); and Dominica’s Sisserou Parrot (Amazona imperialis). In Flag those Birds! (Part 2)”,  we considered 2 more “banner birds”:  the British Antarctic Territory’s Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri), and the Saint Helena Plover, a/k/a Saint Helena’s skinny-legged “Wirebird” (Charadrius sanctaehelenae). As promised, this mini-series is continuing with more “flagged birds”, this time, with the Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor), the soaring seabird officially featured on the flag of Kiribati, a Pacific Ocean nation. God willing, we will subsequently review Papua New Guinea’s bird of paradise (on the flag of Papua New Guinea), the ubiquitous dove (on Fiji’s flag, as well as on the royal standard of Tonga), the black swan of Western Australia,  the white piping shrike of South Australia,  the condor of Bolivia;  and Uganda’s crested crane. So for now, let us consider the frigatebird, which appears on the flag of Kiribati. In case you haven’t visited Kiribati yet, the Republic of Kiribati is an archipelago  —  a cluster of islands — located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  Specifically it is comprised of 34 islands, one of which (Banaba) is a “raised coral” island, and the rest of which are reef islands or atolls. The term “middle” (in the phrase “middle of the Pacific”) is fitting, because Kiribati straddles the equator and the International Date Line. To avoid confusion about what “day” it is, — because it would be awkward for neighboring islands to be simultaneously experiencing different “days” on the calendar (e.g., some government offices were closed, observing Sunday, while others were open for business, observing Monday!), — the International Date Line is indented, so that now the Kiribati Islands are, technically speaking, Earth’s farthest frontal time zone (called “UTC+14”, meaning “Universal Time Coordinated”, a/k/a Coordinated Universal Time, f/k/a Universal Time [UT] or Greenwich Mean Time [GMT], — so UTC+14 is 14 hours ahead of the time observed in Greenwich, London,  at the Royal Observatory).   Sorry for taking so much time on this digression’s details. 

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) pair ©Flickr Len Blumin

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) pair ©Flickr Len Blumin

Interestingly, Kiribati’s time-of-day matches that of Hawaii – but it is deemed one “day” ahead on the calendar.  (Hawaii’s time zone is very “late” in the Earth’s rotational “day”,  a fact that I recall because I worked with some lawyers who took advantage of that once — when a contract option deadline appeared to be lost, because locking in a particular contract option required a signature before 5:00pm on a certain day, but no time zone was specified – the solution was to FAX the contract papers to the Hawaii office and have them signed there, before it was 5:00pm Hawaii time!). Previously Kiribati was within (and almost synonymous with) the Gilbert Islands, just west of the old “date line” – when it was a British colony.  (In fact, the name “Kiribati” is how the native language says “Gilberts”.)   And, if you think that is confusing, you should check out how “daylight saving time” (which may locally vary from “UTC” time, during parts of the year) is applied in the central Pacific Ocean and to some of the neighboring island nations, such as Tonga, Samoa, and Tokelau!

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor).  The Great Frigatebird is found soaring above tropical oceans all over the world.  Because it is almost always seen at sea, it is not surprising that English sailors (centuries ago) called it the “man-of-war”, a term that indicated a fast-sailing oceanic warship, the same kind of ship that the French called a “frigate” (la frégate). If you ever watch a frigatebird in the air, contextualized by a background (or foreground) that provides distance indexing – as I once did (a Magnificent Frigatebird “cousin”, actually, near the shoreline of Grand Cayman, one of the Cayman Islands), – you too will be impressed with the frigatebird’s speedy flight maneuvers.  In fact, its habit of stealing food (such as fish) from other seabirds is so well-known that the bird might have been better labeled the “pirate-bird”.   Why?  Frigatebirds often harass seagulls carrying fish, in the air, repeatedly, until the seagull drops – abandons – his or her piscatorial food-catch, in order to escape the threatening frigatebird.  As the bullied victim (seagull) flees the scene of the crime, empty-beaked, the buccaneering frigatebird swoops down after the plummeting food, snatching it out of the air before it drops into the water. The physical appearance of a frigatebird is not to be easily forgotten.  Frigatebirds are mostly black, with long angular wings, with a long sharply forked tail that looks pointed when “closed”.  (Males are almost all black, except for the red gular pouch (described below); the females have a white “bib” covering most of the neck-to-chest area (but have no gular pouch).  Frigatebirds “have long, thin, hooked bills and the males [each] possess an inflatable gular pouch which can be blown up to form a huge scarlet ball during courtship”.  [Quoting Marc Dando, Michael Burchett, & Geoffrey Waller, SeaLife, a Complete Guide to the Marine Environment (Smithsonian Institute Press, 1996), page 248.]  The male’s bright red “gular pouch” is a skin-covered (i.e., featherless) inflatable throat sac that connects the lower half of the bird’s beak down to and below the bird’s neck.  This inflatable throat sac, quite conspicuous during breeding season, is showcased during courtship displays, swelling into a balloon-like inflation (like a bullfrog), for a timeframe that may exceed 15 minutes!  The noise produced by this throat sac “sound-box” is the frigatebird’s rattling equivalent to yodeling.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

The Great Frigatebird is usually seen soaring above ocean waters, or swooping through the air near island beaches, looking (“on the fly”) for a meal.  In fact, frigatebirds are rarely seen on land during daylight, though they must use land for sleeping and for nesting activities, such as laying and hatching their eggs.  [See — citing Tony Soper, Oceans of Birds (London:  David & Charles Press, 1989), pages 82-83.] Oceanographer Tony Soper describes the winged magnificence of this oceanic flier:  “Frigatebirds live up to their reputation [i.e., “frigate” = seafaring warship] with spectacular manoeuvres in aerial pursuit and piracy, stalling and turning with total control in a way which outclasses any competition.  Supremely aerial seabirds, they can hang seemingly motionless in the sky for hours [gliding], waiting to pounce.  The air is their daytime medium, they alight on the water only at their peril, for they have small oil glands and their plumage is not waterproof. … They are equally at a disadvantage on dry land, for their legs are short and hopelessly inadequate for walking.  They must shuffle and climb to a point from which they can take off [and “land” on a rising thermal air current, as if it was an elevator].  By night they roost on a tree or bush which offers a convenient launch-pad when the sunrise brings a thermal lift.  They have huge wings, up to 7ft. (2.1m) in span….  With their shapely wings they float effortlessly in dynamic soaring flight, plunging only to retrieve food items from the surface or to snatch a flying fish.  Sometimes they chase other seabirds to relieve [i.e., rob] them of their catch. “   [Quoting Tony Soper, Oceans of Birds (London:  David & Charles Press, 1989), pages 82-83.] Frigatebirds congregate in breeding colonies, often near colonies of other seabirds (such as cormorants, pelicans, and boobies), not infrequently mooching food collected by their avian neighbors.

Republic of Kiribati, adopted AD1979 ©PD

The frigatebird appears to be soaring in sunrise-dominated sky above the ocean waters, in the colorful flag of Kiribati, with the three white stripes representing the three island subsets of Kiribati, the Gilbert Islands, Phoenix Islands, and some of the Line Islands.   (The national coat-of-arms is similar.) Earlier, when Kiribati belonged to the British colony of “Gilbert and Ellice Islands”, the colonial flag included the image of a yellow frigatebird (within a coat-of-arms emblem) soaring in the sunrise above ocean waters.

Gilbert and Ellice Island, as a British colony, AD1937 ©PD

Kiribati is a nation that celebrates its past, including its providential heritage as a colony Christianized by the British.  Its official public holidays not only include Easter (celebrating the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ) and related days (“Good Friday”, “Holy Saturday”, and “Easter Monday”)), as well as Christmas (celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ), but also “Gospel Day” (a moveable holiday scheduled on or near July 11th), to celebrate the coming of the Christian faith to these Pacific islands, thanks to God sending Christian missionaries.  Now that’s a day worth celebrating! (See Romans 10:20.) Other national holidays celebrate elderly men (“Unimwane Day”), elderly women (“Unaine Day”),  youth (“Youth Day”), servants (“Boxing Day” – for giving boxed Christmas presents to men and women who serve), and women in general (“International Women’s Day”).   So why not have a holiday to celebrate the value of men in general?  Maybe the omission should be compared to the difference between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, as they are celebrated in most churches.  On Mother’s Day the typical sermon raves about how wonderful and precious mothers are (and they are applauded, given roses, etc.),  —  but on Father’s Day the typical sermon castigates men for being such sorry fathers, failing, failing, and failing yet again to carry their paternal responsibilities properly — why won’t they do a better job?  (Yet consider this related fact about ingrates:  God the Heavenly Father, Who never fails, knows the ugly ingratitude of billions of humans who fail to appreciate His wonderful, caring providences.  The Lord Jesus was a “man of sorrows”, the Holy Spirit is sometimes “grieved”, and surely God the Father is often disappointed.) The next scheduled bird, on this mini-series list, is the Bird of Paradise, but that bird must wait for another day.  Please stay tuned (and don’t forget Mother’s Day)! * “Flag That Bird!”  (Part 1) “Flag That Bird!”  (Part 2) More Articles by James J. S. Johnson Orni-Theology Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family *

Tickle Me Tuesday – Laughing Kookaburras

Kookaburra at Brevard Zoo by Dan

Kookaburra at Brevard Zoo by Dan

…God has made me to laugh; all who hear will laugh with me. (Genesis 21:6 AMP – emphasis by me)

He will yet fill your mouth with laughter [Job] and your lips with joyful shouting. (Job 8:21 AMP)

While at the Lowry Park Zoo, we were able to hear and video the Laughing Kookaburras. They will put a smile on your face and a tickle in your heart. We have featured them before, but thought they should be featured again.

For You, O Lord, have made me glad by Your works; at the deeds of Your hands I joyfully sing. (Psalms 92:4 AMP)

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth and sing for joy, yes, sing praises! (Psalms 98:4 AMP)


Then were our mouths filled with laughter, and our tongues with singing. Then they said among the nations, The Lord has done great things for them. The Lord has done great things for us! We are glad! (Psalms 126:2-3 AMP)

See also:

Unless, I change my mind or someone sends me a link to some birds in a “Tickle Me” action, this will probably be the last one for now. While trying to find some videos to use or photos, I became frustrated while searching for appropriate items for this blog. Either evolution, cuss words, or innuendos were used, that I choose not to share. Call me “old-fashioned” or whatever, but we try to honor the Lord on this site.

Here are the Tickle Me Tuesday that were produced. This post will become a link on the menu under PLUS, so all of them can be found again, if you choose. Typing “Tickle Me” in the search will also bring them all back up.

Other Tickle Me Tuesday’s


Ian’s Bird of the Week – White-faced Heron

 White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) by Ia

Ian’s Bird of the Week – White-faced Heron ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter 4/19/15

This is the real bird of the week; the recent Collared Sparrowhawk was just a correction to an earlier one. Exotic herons, such as the Great-billed (Northern Australia) and the Boat-billed (Costa Rica) have featured as bird of the week, but, typically, I’ve neglected some of the common ones, so here is the best known Australian heron, the White-faced, to make amends. It’s not as if I have to go far to photograph them: the first photo was taken almost ten years ago on Bluewater Creek near the bottom of my garden.

Nor is it because they aren’t photogenic. I love watching them carefully stalking their prey with extraordinary concentration and poise, like the one in the second photo taken 15 years ago in the early days of digital photography – ‘digiscoping’ with a tripod, Leica spotting scope and Coopix camera held against the eyepiece of the scope.

 White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) by Ia

Digiscoping didn’t lend itself well to action shots, but this bird came the party. Six seconds later I took a second photo, and at that very instant it struck, producing this lovely sheet of water. Digital cameras in those days had appreciable shutter lag, so you had to rely on the bird doing things serendipitously in synchronisation with the camera rather than relying on your own fast reflexes, unless your were psychic and could anticipate what the bird was about to do.

 White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) by Ia

Nor are White-faced Herons hard to find in Australasia. They are occur throughout mainland Australia and Tasmania, except in the driest deserts, New Zealand and its Sub-antarctic islands, Christmas, Lord Howe and Norfolk islands, where the fourth photo of a bird in flight was taken, southern New Guinea and various islands east of the Wallace Line. It is extending range and became established in Tonga in 1988 and Fiji in 1997 and has turned up even in SE China.

 White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) by Ia

The fifth photo, also in flight shows a bird apparently chasing its bat-like shadow along the beach at the entrance to Botany Bay in Sydney. This bird has very little white on the face and is probably a juvenile bird or in transition to adult plumage as juvenile have white only on the neck and not the face.

I think herons and egrets took wonderful in flight holding their necks in a dogs-leg angle. It makes them look delightfully primitive and remind me of the fantastic birds in flight painted by George Braque like the one below of a Bird Passing through a Cloud: this one even has a white face. When I took up bird watching at school in the early 1960s I also became fascinated by Braque’s birds – very fashionable then as he painted the one below in 1957. I did pottery at the time and painted imitations of his birds onto various rather shapeless objects.

White-faced Heron (Egretta novaehollandiae) Lithograph from Ian

See? Common birds can be very interesting. However, the lure of exotic birds remain. Joy, my sharp-eyed and -eared birding Pal in Melbourne, and I have just booked a trip to New Caledonia for the end of June. Why? New Caledonia is home to the almost mythical Kagu, a very special, flightless, almost heron-sized bird and it would be great to be able to bring it to you as bird of the week.


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland: iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society

Lee’s Addition:

The stork, all kinds of heron, the hoopoe, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19 AMP)

Again, we have a Bird of the Bible from the “do not eat” list. Like Ian, Herons are common here, but yet they are a joy to watch (and not eat). Of course, we do not have this beautiful and neat White-faced ones. What is common to Ian, is a treat for us to see. Thanks, Ian.


Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s White-faced Heron photos

Ian’s Ardeidae Family photos

Herons, Bitterns – Ardeidae Family

Birds of the Bible – Herons

White-faced Heron – Wikipedia

White-faced Heron – Birds In Backyards



Sunday Inspiration – Whipbirds, Wattle-eyes and Allies

As you have been viewing the Sunday Inspirations lately, we have been going through the Passerines or Passerfiormes Order in taxonomic order. So far, I have shown you 30 families, which makes us almost a forth of the way through the 125 Passerine families.

Today’s families are the Psophodidae – Whipbirds, Jewel-babblers, Quail-thrushes Family with 16 members and the Platysteiridae – Wattle-eyes, Batises Family with 33 species.

Whipbirds, Jewel-babblers, Quail-thrushes that make up the Psophodidae family are native to Australia and nearby areas. They occur in forest, generally replacing each other at different altitudes. The painted quail-thrush is also found in the forests of New Guinea.The other quail-thrushes are restricted to Australia where they are found in drier habitats, occurring in open forest, scrub and on stony ground.[8] None of the species are thought to be threatened but one subspecies of the spotted quail-thrush is possibly extinct.

The whipbirds and wedgebills are all found in Australia, occurring in a range of habitats from rainforest to arid scrub. The western whipbird is considered to be near-threatened because of habitat loss and fires while the Papuan whipbird is classed as data deficient..

They are terrestrial birds which fly fairly weakly and prefer to squat or run when disturbed. They forage on the ground feeding mainly on insects and other invertebrates.[9] In the desert, quail-thrushes also eat some seeds. They build a cup-shaped nest among shrubs or on the ground. Two or three eggs are laid.

Eastern Whipbird (Psophodes olivaceus) by Ian

Eastern Whipbird (Psophodes olivaceus) by Ian

Here is the song of the Eastern Whipbird. It sounds like someone snapping a whip.

Brown-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteira cyanea) ©WikiC

Brown-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteira cyanea) Male ©WikiC

The Platysteiridae Wattle-eyes, Batises Family are a favorite of mine because of their eyes. They are a family of small stout birds living in trees, primarily of the woodlands and forests of sub-Saharan Africa. The family contains the wattle-eyes, batises and shrike-flycatchers. They were previously classed as a subfamily of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.

These insect-eating birds are found in usually open forests or bush. They hunt by flycatching, or by taking prey from the ground like a shrike. The nest is a small neat cup low in a tree or bush. The most important component of the diet of all species is insects, although spiders, millipedes and scorpions are also taken, and there are even records of small lizards being consumed.

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For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths. (Proverbs 5:21 NKJV)

My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways. (Proverbs 23:26 NKJV)

The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live. (Psalms 69:32 NKJV)

Listen to Sean play as you watch these two beautifully created families of birds:

” Be Thou My Vision and Battle Hymn of the Republic” ~ played by Sean Fielder

Sunday Inspirations

Passeriformes Birds so far:

Birds of the World

Cinclosomatidae or Psophodidae Family – Wikipedia

Platysteiridae – Wattle-eye – Wikipedia

Good News


Ian’s Bird of the Week – Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Brown Sparrowhawk ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 4/17/15

I sent the previous post by mistake when I was working on the ebook version of the birds of the week this afternoon. This was actually bird of the week in May 2009, and then I thought it was a Brown Goshawk until a raptor expert recently pointed out the error of my ways with these photos on the website.

I’m making good progress with the ebook. It’s getting quite large, so I’m going to publish it two volumes. The first will be 2002 to 2009. I’ll keep you posted on progress. I think I’m going to call it ‘Diary of a Bird Photographer‘ as it reads like a (weekly) diary.

Anyway, here is the full, corrected posting, six years late!

*Note: this was originally posted as a Brown Goshawk, but the bird is actually a Collared Sparrowhawk. Please accept my apologies.

I’m still sorting through the photos that I took at Gluepot last month. One surprising visitor to the watering point near the hide was a Collared Sparrowhawk that came in to drink and bathe. She (it was rather large) spent nearly half an hour at the tank and bathed several times. Naturally, all the other traffic at the watering point came to a standstill, though I was amused to see a flock of Brown Honeyeaters becoming increasingly restless and approaching much closer than I would have expected. Eventually, she vanished as swiftly as she had appeared and things returned to normal.
Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) by Ian
The Sparrowhawk seemed very wary, particularly when preparing to bathe and looked around repeatedly as if making sure the coast was clear. It was almost as if the Queen of the Forest couldn’t be seen to be doing her toilet in public and she certainly looked very undignified both when bathing, second photo, and when she emerged wet and bedraggled from the water, third photo. I was impressed by how soft and owl-like the feathers were – the original stealth attack aircraft, I suppose.
Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) by Ian
Collared Sparrowhawks are smallish hawks,30-40cm/12-16in long, with a wingspan to 70cm/28in. As with many birds of prey, the females are larger and this is thought to be to protect the nestlings from the males in a weak moment. The Collared Sparrowhawk is widespread in all except the driest areas of Australia and New Guinea and because of its furtive behaviour and confusion with the similar Brown Goshawk, is probably commoner than might be supposed.

Recent updates* to the website include new galleries for the Australo-PapuanTreecreepers (), additional photos of various Honeyeaters, Wedge-tailed Eagle and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

*recent in 2009, but the links are still valid.

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland: iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society

Lee’s Addition:

Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. (Job 39:26-29 KJV)

Another neat bird he has introduced us to, even though it is apparently six years late. Ian gave his permission and I started doing his newsletter in July of 2009. That Brown Goshawk (was dated in May 2009, so it was never written up) I did go back and catch some of his older newsletters as you can see from the list.

Wow! Has it been 6 years? Ian, thank you for that permission. With his newsletter and photograph usage, Ian has been a large input for this blog.


Ian’s Bird of the Week (list of newsletters)

Ian’s Honeyeaters, Wedge-tailed Eagle and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

Ian’s Accipitridae Family

Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks, Eagles Family

Collared Sparrowhawk – Wikipedia

Collared Sparrowhawk – Birds in Backyards

Collared Sparrowhawk – Avian Web


More of the Blackbird Family – Chapter 13

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

More of the Blackbird Family

The Orchard Oriole and the Bobolink.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children


CHAPTER 13. More of the Blackbird Family.

Peter Rabbit was dozing. Yes, sir, Peter was dozing. He didn’t mean to doze, but whenever Peter sits still for a long time and tries to think, he is pretty sure to go to sleep. By and by he wakened with a start. At first he didn’t know what had wakened him, but as he sat there blinking his eyes, he heard a few rich notes from the top of the nearest apple-tree. “It’s Goldy the Oriole,” thought Peter, and peeped out to see.

But though he looked and looked he couldn’t see Goldy anywhere, but he did see a stranger. It was some one of about Goldy’s size and shape. In fact he was so like Goldy, but for the color of his suit, that at first Peter almost thought Goldy had somehow changed his clothes. Of course he knew that this couldn’t be, but it seemed as if it must be, for the song the stranger was singing was something like that of Goldy. The stranger’s head and throat and back were black, just like Goldy’s, and his wings were trimmed with white in just the same way. But the rest of his suit, instead of being the beautiful orange of which Goldy is so proud, was a beautiful chestnut color.

Peter blinked and stared very hard. “Now who can this be?” said he, speaking aloud without thinking.

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) ©WikiC

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) ©WikiC

“Don’t you know him?” asked a sharp voice so close to Peter that it made him jump. Peter whirled around. There sat Striped Chipmunk grinning at him from the top of the old stone wall. “That’s Weaver the Orchard Oriole,” Striped Chipmunk rattled on. “If you don’t know him you ought to, because he is one of the very nicest persons in the Old Orchard. I just love to hear him sing.”

“Is—is—he related to Goldy?” asked Peter somewhat doubtfully.

“Of course,” retorted Striped Chipmunk. “I shouldn’t think you would have to look at him more than once to know that. He’s first cousin to Goldy. There comes Mrs. Weaver. I do hope they’ve decided to build in the Old Orchard this year.”

“I’m glad you told me who she is because I never would have guessed it,” confessed Peter as he studied the newcomer. She did not look at all like Weaver. She was dressed in olive-green and dull yellow, with white markings on her wings.

Peter couldn’t help thinking how much easier it must be for her than for her handsome husband to hide among the green leaves.

As he watched she flew down to the ground and picked up a long piece of grass. “They are building here, as sure as you live!” cried Striped Chipmunk. “I’m glad of that. Did you ever see their nest, Peter? Of course you haven’t, because you said you had never seen them before. Their nest is a wonder, Peter. It really is. It is made almost wholly of fine grass and they weave it together in the most wonderful way.”

“Do they have a hanging nest like Goldy’s?” asked Peter a bit timidly.

 Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) Nest ©HenryTMcLin Flickr

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) Nest ©HenryTMcLin Flickr

“Not such a deep one,” replied Striped Chipmunk. “They hang it between the twigs near the end of a branch, but they bind it more closely to the branch and it isn’t deep enough to swing as Goldy’s does.”

Peter had just opened his mouth to ask another question when there was a loud sniffing sound farther up along the old stone wall. He didn’t wait to hear it again. He knew that Bowser the Hound was coming.

“Good-by, Striped Chipmunk! This is no place for me,” whispered Peter and started for the dear Old Briar-patch. He was in such a hurry to get there that on his way across the Green Meadows he almost ran into Jimmy Skunk before he saw him.

“What’s your hurry, Peter?” demanded Jimmy

“Bowser the Hound almost found me up in the Old Orchard,” panted Peter. “It’s a wonder he hasn’t found my tracks. I expect he will any minute. I’m glad to see you, Jimmy, but I guess I’d better be moving along.”

“Don’t be in such a hurry, Peter. Don’t be in such a hurry,” replied Jimmy, who himself never hurries. “Stop and talk a bit. That old nuisance won’t bother you as long as you are with me.”

Peter hesitated. He wanted to gossip, but he still felt nervous about Bowser the Hound. However, as he heard nothing of Bowser’s great voice, telling all the world that he had found Peter’s tracks, he decided to stop a few minutes. “What are you doing down here on the Green Meadows?” he demanded.

Jimmy grinned. “I’m looking for grasshoppers and grubs, if you must know,” said he. “And I’ve just got a notion I may find some fresh eggs. I don’t often eat them, but once in a while one tastes good.”

“If you ask me, it’s a funny place to be looking for eggs down here on the Green Meadows,” replied Peter. “When I want a thing; I look for it where it is likely to be found.”

“Just so, Peter; just so,” retorted Jimmy Skunk, nodding his head with approval. “That’s why I am here.”

Peter looked puzzled. He was puzzled. But before he could ask another question a rollicking song caused both of them to look up. There on quivering wings in mid-air was the singer. He was dressed very much like Jimmy Skunk himself, in black and white, save that in places the white had a tinge of yellow, especially on the back of his neck. It was Bubbling Bob the Bobolink. And how he did sing! It seemed as if the notes fairly tumbled over each other.

Bubbling Bob the Bobolink - Burgess Bird Book ©©

Bubbling Bob the Bobolink – Burgess Bird Book ©©

Jimmy Skunk raised himself on his hind-legs a little to see just where Bubbling Bob dropped down in the grass. Then Jimmy began to move in that direction. Suddenly Peter understood. He remembered that Bubbling Bob’s nest is always on the ground. It was his eggs that Jimmy Skunk was looking for.

“You don’t happen to have seen Mrs. Bob anywhere around here, do you, Peter?” asked Jimmy, trying to speak carelessly.

“No,” replied Peter. “If I had I wouldn’t tell you where. You ought to be ashamed, Jimmy Skunk, to think of robbing such a beautiful singer as Bubbling Bob.”

“Pooh!” retorted Jimmy. “What’s the harm? If I find those eggs he and Mrs. Bob could simply build another nest and lay some more. They won’t be any the worse off, and I will have had a good breakfast.”

“But think of all the work they would have to do to build another nest,” replied Peter.

“I should worry,” retorted Jimmy Skunk. “Any one who can spend so much time singing can afford to do a little extra work.”

“You’re horrid, Jimmy Skunk. You’re just horrid,” said Peter. “I hope you won’t find a single egg, so there!”

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

With this, Peter once more headed for the dear Old Briar-patch, while Jimmy Skunk continued toward the place where Bubbling Bob had disappeared in the long grass. Peter went only a short distance and then sat up to watch Jimmy Skunk. Just before Jimmy reached the place where Bubbling Bob had disappeared, the latter mounted into the air again, pouring out his rollicking song as if there were no room in his heart for anything but happiness. Then he saw Jimmy Shrunk and became very much excited. He flew down in the grass a little farther on and then up again, and began to scold.

It looked very much as if he had gone down in the grass to warn Mrs. Bob. Evidently Jimmy thought so, for he at once headed that way. When Bubbling Bob did the same thing all over again. Peter grew anxious. He knew just how patient Jimmy Skunk could be, and he very much feared that Jimmy would find that nest. Presently he grew tired of watching and started on for the dear Old Briar-patch. Just before he reached it a brown bird, who reminded him somewhat of Mrs. Redwing and Sally Sly the Cowbird, though she was smaller, ran across the path in front of him and then flew up to the top of a last year’s mullein stalk. It was Mrs. Bobolink. Peter knew her well, for he and she were very good friends.

“Oh!” cried Peter. “What are you doing here? Don’t you know that Jimmy Skunk, is hunting for your nest over there? Aren’t you worried to death? I would be if I were in your place.”

Mrs. Bob chuckled. “Isn’t he a dear? And isn’t he smart?” said she, meaning Bubbling Bob, of course, and not Jimmy Skunk. “Just see him lead that black-and-white robber away.”

Peter stared at her for a full minute. “Do you mean to say,” said he “that your nest isn’t over there at all?”

Bobolink Nest ©Flickr Mike Allen

Bobolink Nest ©Flickr Mike Allen

Mrs. Bob chuckled harder than ever. “Of course it isn’t over there,” said she.

“Then where is it?” demanded Peter.

That’s telling,” replied Mrs. Bob. “It isn’t over there, and it isn’t anywhere near there. But where it is is Bob’s secret and mine, and we mean to keep it. Now I must go get something to eat,” and with a hasty farewell Mrs. Bobolink flew over to the other side of the dear Old Briar-patch.

Peter remembered that he had seen Mrs. Bob running along the ground before she flew up to the old mullein stalk. He went back to the spot where he had first seen her and hunted all around in the grass, but without success. You see, Mrs. Bobolink had been quite as clever in fooling Peter as Bubbling Bob had been in fooling Jimmy Skunk.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalms 91:1-2 NKJV)

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore associate not with him who talks too freely. [Rom. 16:17, 18.] (Proverbs 20:19 AMP)


Listen to the story read.


  • What was Peter Rabbit doing when he heard singing?
  • Can you tell what the Orchard Oriole looks like?
  • What does their nest look like?
  • Who was Peter afraid my find him?
  • Who told Peter not to worry as long as he was with him? Why?
  • What was Jimmy looking for?
  • What was Bubbling Bob doing to Jimmy Skunk?
  • Are we suppose to tell secrets?


Wordless Book

Bubbling Bob the Bobolink - Burgess Bird Book ©©


  Next Chapter (Bob White and Carol the Meadow Lark. Coming Soon)








Savannah Sparrow by Ray Barlow



  Wordless Birds



Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black-faced Monarch

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black-faced Monarch ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 4/15/15

On the way to Orbost in East Gippsland in March on the great owl hunt, we stopped for a break at Fairy Dell Nature Reserve between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance. This has a lovely walk through temperate rainforest along a creek with plenty of interesting birds – we saw our first Lyrebird of the weekend here. We also found this Black-faced Monarch showing its black face to great advantage through the fronds of a tree fern.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) by Ian

Black-faced Monarchs are usually inconspicuous solitary inhabitants of dense forest and are best located by their calls, the most distinctive of which is a vibrant fluty call, rendered by Pizzey and Knight as ‘Why-you, which-you’. Here they search for insects, sometimes making sallies after flying insects when they are easier to spot. The combination of grey back and wings, black face and rich, rufous underparts is striking, though the rufous breast is best seen in the gloom of the forest using a flash, as in the second photo taken in the highlands of Northeastern Queensland. These two photos encompass most of the breeding range of this species along the east coast of Australia from Melbourne to Cape York.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) by Ian

These birds are resident in the highlands of Northeastern Queensland but breeding summer visitors to areas farther south. In winter many migrate to southern and eastern New Guinea, and some immature birds spend their first summer there. In the lowlands of Northeastern Queensland, around Townsville for example, we see them only as passage migrants in March-April and September-October and I saw one last week along Bluewater Creek near the house, reminding me that autumn is here. The bird in the third photo is an immature one photographed on the creek ten years ago. Juvenile lack the black face, have brownish wings and dark bills with a pinkish edge to the base of the lower mandible – which you can just see in this photo.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) juvenile by Ian

Black-faced Monarch build beautiful, conical nests wedged into the fork of a shrub or sapling in moist gullies. This is constructed of fibrous plant material, including ferns and moss, glued together using gossamer from spiders’ webs as in the fourth photo.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) Nest by Ian

Autumn here means warm, clear sunny days and (relatively) cool nights with low humidity, very welcome after the wet season and my favourite time of the year. The wet usually leaves a legacy of lush green grassland and forest, though this year it has been fairly dry with good rain only in January. The Dollarbirds have left for the winter and the forests and gardens are rather silent without the loud calls of the Koels and Channel-billed Cuckoos, leaving just the Blue-winged Kookaburras and Bar-shouldered Doves to fill the gap.


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland:  iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society

Lee’s Addition:

“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days”. (Deuteronomy 22:6-7 NKJV)

What a nice looking bird, Ian. That breast color reminds me of our American Robin’s outfit. Thanks again for sharing so many birds with us over the weeks. With over 10,000 of the Lord’s avian creations flying around, you nor I will ever cover them all.

Here is the Black-faced Monarch’s call from xeno-canto:

You can see Ian’s Monarch family photos at Monarch Flycatchers & Allies [Family: Monarchidae]
Monarchidae – Monarchs Family

Black-faced Monarch –  Wikipedia
Black-faced Monarch – Birds in Backyards
Black-faced Monarch – New Zealand Birds Online


Boat-billed Heron at Lowry Park Zoo

Boat-billed Heron Lowry Park Zoo by Dan

Boat-billed Heron Lowry Park Zoo by Dan

For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills or upon the mountains where thousands are. I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind. (Psalms 50:10-11 AMP)

We went to Lowry Park Zoo recently because they opened up early for a special event for the kids. We headed to the aviary to get there while they were feeding the birds. Usually, that happens before the zoo opens. Besides that, most people were at the event and we had the aviary to us and the birds. Yeah!

One of my favorite birds in there is the Boat-billed Heron. I think they are just cute. Two of them like to sit just above or to the side of the walkway. (In fact, one of them managed to plaster Dan and his camera on a previous visit. Yuk!) This time they behaved and was able to shoot a video right up under one of my avian friends. They are adorable, to me.

Here is the video I took of our friendly Boat-bill Heron (of course my mouth was running in amazement) :

We have had other articles on this bird, but just had to share this latest Birdwatching Adventure.

Who Paints The Leaves?


Tickle Me Tuesday – Squirrels and Bird Feeders

Squirrel at a park in Daytona

Squirrel at a park in Daytona by Lee

Not sure how many have heard of the “Squirrel Proof” bird feeders, but Droll Yankees make a line of them. I am not selling them, but just want you to enjoy some of the antics of squirrels trying to feed from them. Also, there is a video of someone who put Vaseline on a pole and how a determined squirrel tries to get up the pole to the feed.

The Lord sure gave the squirrels a determined spirit. Enjoy and get “tickled”!

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; … (Ecclesiastes 3:4a KJV)

Let me hear joy and gladness;… (Psalms 51:8a ESV)

From Droll Yankee:

Mr Squirrel’s Wild Ride:

Squirrel taking a spin on a Yankee Flipper:

Squirrel and a slippery pole:


All The Tickle Me Tuesdays

Wordless Birds