Texas Rest Areas

Traveling across West Texas

Traveling across West Texas – Windy and Sand Blowing

Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree: (Genesis 18:4 KJV)

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. (Psalms 37:7-8 KJV)

In the last post, Moving On – Vacation – Part 3, I mentioned how far Interstate 10 travels across Texas (878.6 miles). When you travel for miles, you eventually have to stop. When stopped at one of the Rest Areas, I was totally unprepared for what was in the restroom.

I went back to the car and got my camera. From then on, every time we stopped I carried my camera with me. :)

The same mural was in both the male and female restrooms. (reported by Dan seeing my photo). Here are photos from two rest areas while going west, a mural seen while heading back east, and a Welcome Center, with no mural:

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 KJV)

If you search Google with “murals texas rest areas” look at the images. Many more than we saw. Quite different. We enjoyed traveling across LONG Texas. Who ever thought I’d write a blog about Rest Areas?

Stay tuned for more vacation adventures.

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More Vacation Blogs

 

Moving On – Vacation – Part 3

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) Houston Zoo by Lee

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) Houston Zoo by Lee

We have many more Houston Zoo photos to share, but for now, let’s move on with our vacation. In Birdwatching Along the Way, the last statement was “Vacation Goal #1 – Met.” We had arrived at Houston and visited with my niece and went to the Houston Zoo.

On Thursday of that week, May 7th, we were suppose to drive up to Dallas. On Friday, we were to visit James J S Johnson, who writes on this blog, at the Institute for Creation Research. Also, I was looking forward to meeting Ernesto E. Carrasco, and seeing his Noah’s Ark Model. (Ernesto and I follow each other’s blog.). This was to be “Vacation Goal #2″.

During the month of May, Dallas had tremendously bad weather. They had tornadoes and flood warnings most of that month. The weather was turning bad even in Houston, so, with a call to Dr. Jim, we all agreed that it would be best to not come up to Dallas, at least at this time. Vacation Goal #2 – NOT Met!

West Texas from phone camera 5-7-15

West Texas from phone camera 5-7-15

The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. (Psalms 72:3 KJV)

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14 KJV)

Dan and I decided to continue on west, taking the lower Interstate 10 route through west Texas and maybe try to get to Dallas on our return trip. We never did make it to Dallas. We were challenged coming back through lower Texas on our return trip because of the storms and flooding. Whoops! I’m getting ahead of myself. More about that later.

Let me tell you, Texas is one long state! I-10 across Texas, according to Wikipedia is – Length‎: ‎878.6 mi (1,414.0 km). You do not scoot across it in one day!

West Texas Speed Limit sign from phone camera 5-7-15

West Texas Speed Limit sign from phone camera 5-7-15

We were surprised to see this speed limit sign at 80 MPH. Never seen one that high. 70 or 75 maybe, but 80, not seen before. Forgot to put the camera up front, but grabbed the phone.

We ran 70, but, considering that there are miles and miles of open area, it is understandable why Texas has it this high out here. We got as far as Sonora, Texas and then on Friday we had some interesting things to investigate.

Roadrunner in Ft Stockton TX  by Lee

Roadrunner in Ft Stockton TX by Lee

I’ve already written about My Western Greater Roadrunners that we saw in Fort Stockton. That was on Friday, May 8th. At Fort Stockton, there is actually an old fort that was originally called Camp Stockton, now Fort Stockton.

Welcome to Historic Fort Stockton

Welcome to Historic Fort Stockton

“Military presence began here with the establishment of Camp Stockton in 1858 by troops of the 1st and 8th Infantry, US Army. It was named for Commodore Robert Field Stockton, a naval officer who distinguished himself during the Mexican War. This first site was southwest of the present location, near the present Courthouse.

The post protected travelers and settlers on the numerous roads and trails that made use of the abundant water supply of Comanche Springs. It was here that these trails crossed the Comanche War Trail.”

Below are some photos from Sonora and Fort Stockton. More tales to come before we leave Texas headed West. Next “Vacation Goal” – San Diego, California. On the way!

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Fort Stockton

Fort Stockton, Texas – Wikipedia

Birdwatching Along the Way

My Western Greater Roadrunners

Ernie’s Musings

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Sunday Inspiration – Crows and Jays

Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) by Dan

Florida Scrub Jay (Aphelocoma coerulescens) by Dan

The Corvidae Family has 143 species, of which many are known to people around the world. A member of this family, the Raven is a well recognized Bird of the Bible. On our recent vacation, in Arizona we were able to see a wild Common Raven and a Stellar’s Jay for the first time. Was able to add these to my Life List of Birds on eBird.

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) Wild SD Zoo Day by Lee

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) Wild SD Zoo Day by Lee

Steller's Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) by Lee at Desert Museum AZ

Steller’s Jay (Cyanocitta stelleri) by Lee at Desert Museum AZ

The Corvidae Family not only has Crows, Ravens, and Jays, but the family also hosts; the Choughs, Treepies, Magpies, Bushcrow, Nutcrackers, Jackdaws, and the Rook.

“They are considered the most intelligent of the birds, and among the most intelligent of all animals, having demonstrated self-awareness in mirror tests (European magpies) and tool-making ability (crows, rooks)—skills until recently regarded as solely the province of humans and a few other higher mammals. Their total brain-to-body mass ratio is equal to that of great apes and cetaceans, and only slightly lower than in humans.

They are medium to large in size, with strong feet and bills, rictal bristles, and a single moult each year (most passerines moult twice). Corvids are found worldwide except for the tip of South America and the polar ice caps. The majority of the species are found in tropical South and Central America, southern Asia and Eurasia, with fewer than 10 species each in Africa and Australasia, and Australia.” (Wikipedia)

Could this intelligent family of created birds from the Creator’s Hand be the reason the Raven was chosen by Noah?

And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made: And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth. (Genesis 8:6-7 KJV)

Enjoy these beautiful birds from their Creator:

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“Peace Medley” ~ by Faith Baptist Choir

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Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the Bible – Ravens

Corvidae – Crows, Jays Family

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Wonga Dove and Taveta Weavers at Houston Zoo

Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) Houston Zoo by Lee

Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) Houston Zoo by Lee

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 KJV)

Thought I’d share two videos and some photos of the Wonga Dove and the Taveta Weavers. They were in the Tropical Bird House which had enclosures with a glass in front of them and not a cage (YEAH!)

Tropical Bird House Houston Zoo by Lee

Tropical Bird House Houston Zoo by Lee

The Wonga Dove was calling and could be heard everywhere in the Bird House. One video is of the dove calling and the weavers next door. You will hear the sound of the dove even while videoing the weavers.

Taveta Weaver (Ploceus castaneiceps) Houston Zoo by Lee

Taveta Weaver (Ploceus castaneiceps) Houston Zoo by Lee

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O LORD, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14 KJV)

The second video is of the Guira Cuckoos. Forgot to add it to that article. Houston Zoo – Vacation – Part 2-B

Here are the photos of these two species of birds:

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More Robbers – Chapter 17

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

More Robbers

The Crow and the Blue Jay.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

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CHAPTER 17. More Robbers.

By the sounds of rejoicing among the feathered folks of the Old Orchard Johnny Chuck knew that it was quite safe for him to come out. He was eager to tell Skimmer the Tree Swallow how glad he was that Mr. Blacksnake had been driven away before he could get Skimmer’s eggs. As he poked his head out of his doorway he became aware that something was still wrong in the Old Orchard. Into the glad chorus there broke a note of distress and sorrow. Johnny instantly recognized the voices of Welcome Robin and Mrs. Robin. There is not one among his feathered neighbors who can so express worry and sorrow as can the Robins.

Johnny was just in time to see all the birds hurrying over to that part of the Old Orchard where the Robins had built their home. The rejoicing suddenly gave way to cries of indignation and anger, and Johnny caught the words, “Robber! Thief! Wretch!” It appeared that there was just as much excitement over there as there had been when Mr. Blacksnake had been discovered trying to rob Skimmer and Mrs. Skimmer. It couldn’t be Mr. Blacksnake again, because Farmer Brown’s boy had chased him in quite another direction.

“What is it now?” asked Johnny of Skimmer, who was still excitedly discussing with Mrs. Skimmer their recent fright.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out,” replied Skimmer and darted away.

Johnny Chuck waited patiently. The excitement among the birds seemed to increase, and the chattering and angry cries grew louder. Only the voices of Welcome and Mrs. Robin were not angry. They were mournful, as if Welcome and Mrs. Robin were heartbroken. Presently Skimmer came back to tell Mrs. Skimmer the news.

“The Robins have lost their eggs!” he cried excitedly. “All four have been broken and eaten. Mrs. Robin left them to come over here to help drive away Mr. Blacksnake, and while she was here some one ate those eggs. Nobody knows who it could have been, because all the birds of the Old Orchard were over here at that time. It might leave been Chatterer the Red Squirrel, or it might have been Sammy Jay, or it might have been Creaker the Grackle, or it might have been Blacky the Crow. Whoever it was just took that chance to sneak over there and rob that nest when there was no one to see him.”

Crow at Flamingo Gardens by Lee (210)

Crow at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

Just then from over towards the Green Forest sounded a mocking “Caw, caw, caw!” Instantly the noise in the Old Orchard ceased for a moment. Then it broke out afresh. There wasn’t a doubt now in any one’s mind. Blacky the Crow was the robber. How those tongues did go! There was nothing too bad to say about Blacky. And such dreadful things as those birds promised to do to Blacky the Crow if ever they should catch him in the Old Orchard.

“Caw, caw, caw!” shouted Blacky from the distance, and his voice sounded very much as if he thought he had done something very smart. It was quite clear that at least he was not sorry for what he had done.

All the birds were so excited and so angry, as they gathered around Welcome and Mrs. Robin trying to comfort them, that it was some time before their indignation meeting broke up and they returned to their own homes and duties. Almost at once there was another cry of distress. Mr. and Mrs. Chebec had been robbed of their eggs! While they had been attending the indignation meeting at the home of the Robins, a thief had taken the chance to steal their eggs and get away.

Of course right away all the birds hurried over to sympathize with the Chebecs and to repeat against the unknown thief all the threats they had made against Blacky the Crow. They knew it couldn’t have been Blacky this time because they had heard Blacky cawing over on the edge of the Green Forest. In the midst of the excited discussion as to who the thief was, Weaver the Orchard Oriole spied a blue and white feather on the ground just below Chebec’s nest.

“It was Sammy Jay! There is no doubt about it, it was Sammy Jay!” he cried.

At the sight of that telltale feather all the birds knew that Weaver was right, and led by Scrapper the Kingbird they began a noisy search of the Old Orchard for the sly robber. But Sammy wasn’t to be found, and they soon gave up the search, none daring to stay longer away from his own home lest something should happen there. Welcome and Mrs. Robin continued to cry mournfully, but little Mr. and Mrs. Chebec bore their trouble almost silently.

“There is one thing about it,” said Mr. Chebec to his sorrowful little wife, “that egg of Sally Sly’s went with the rest, and we won’t have to raise that bothersome orphan.”

“That’s true,” said she. “There is no use crying over what can’t be helped. It is a waste of time to sit around crying. Come on, Chebec, let’s look for a place to build another nest. Next time I won’t leave the eggs unwatched for a minute.”

Meanwhile Jenny Wren’s tongue was fairly flying as she chattered to Peter Rabbit, who had come up in the midst of the excitement and of course had to know all about it.

Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) at Lake Morton By Dan'sPix

Fish Crow (Corvus ossifragus) at Lake Morton By Dan’sPix

Blacky the Crow has a heart as black as his coat, and his cousin Sammy Jay isn’t much better,” declared Jenny. “They belong to a family of robbers.”

“Wait a minute,” cried Peter. “Do you mean to say that Blacky the Crow and Sammy Jay are cousins?”

“For goodness’ sake, Peter!” exclaimed Jenny, “do you mean to say that you don’t know that? Of course they’re cousins. They don’t look much alike, but they belong to the same family. I would expect almost anything bad of any one as black as Blacky the Crow. But how such a handsome fellow as Sammy Jay can do such dreadful things I don’t understand. He isn’t as bad as Blacky, because he does do a lot of good. He destroys a lot of caterpillars and other pests.

“There are no sharper eyes anywhere than those of Sammy Jay, and I’ll have to say this for him, that whenever he discovers any danger he always gives us warning. He has saved the lives of a good many of us feathered folks in this way. If it wasn’t for this habit of stealing our eggs I wouldn’t have a word to say against him, but at that, he isn’t as bad as Blacky the Crow. They say Blacky does some good by destroying white grubs and some other harmful pests, but he’s a regular cannibal, for he is just as fond of young birds as he is of eggs, and the harm he does in this way is more than the good he does in other ways. He’s bold, black, and bad, if you ask me.”

Remembering her household duties, Jenny Wren disappeared inside her house in her usual abrupt fashion. Peter hung around for a while but finding no one who would take the time to talk to him he suddenly decided to go over to the Green Forest to look for some of his friends there. He had gone but a little way in the Green Forest when he caught a glimpse of a blue form stealing away through the trees. He knew it in an instant, for there is no one with such a coat but Sammy Jay. Peter glanced up in the tree from which Sammy had flown and there he saw a nest in a crotch halfway up. “I wonder,” thought Peter, “if Sammy was stealing eggs there, or if that is his own nest.” Then he started after Sammy as fast as he could go, lipperty-lipperty-lip. As he ran he happened to look back and was just in time to see Mrs. Jay slip on to the nest. Then Peter knew that he had discovered Sammy’s home. He chuckled as he ran.

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) by Daves BirdingPix

Blue Jay (Cyanocitta cristata) by Daves BirdingPix

I’ve found out your secret, Sammy Jay!” cried Peter when at last he caught up with Sammy.

“Then I hope you’ll be gentleman enough to keep it,” grumbled Sammy, looking not at all pleased.

“Certainly,” replied Peter with dignity. “I wouldn’t think of telling any one. My, what a handsome fellow you are, Sammy.”

Sammy looked pleased. He is a little bit vain, is Sammy Jay. There is no denying that he is handsome. He is just a bit bigger than Welcome Robin. His back is grayish-blue. His tail is a bright blue crossed with little black bars and edged with white. His wings are blue with white and black bars. His throat and breast are a soft grayish-white, and he wears a collar of black. On his head he wears a pointed cap, a very convenient cap, for at times he draws it down so that it is not pointed at all.

“Why did you steal Mrs. Chebec’s eggs?” demanded Peter abruptly.

Sammy didn’t look the least bit put out. “Because I like eggs,” he replied promptly. “If people will leave their eggs unguarded they must expect to lose them. How did you know I took those eggs?”

“Never mind, Sammy; never mind. A little bird told me,” retorted Peter mischievously.

Sammy opened his mouth for a sharp reply, but instead he uttered a cry of warning. “Run, Peter! Run! Here comes Reddy Fox!” he cried.

Peter dived headlong under a great pile of brush. There he was quite safe. While he waited for Reddy Fox to go away he thought about Sammy Jay. “It’s funny,” he mused, “how so much good and so much bad can be mixed together. Sammy Jay stole Chebec’s eggs, and then he saved my life. I just know he would have done as much for Mr. and Mrs. Chebec, or for any other feathered neighbor. He can only steal eggs for a little while in the spring. I guess on the whole he does more good than harm. I’m going to think so anyway.”

Peter was quite right. Sammy Jay does do more good than harm.

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When they found the feather, a verse comes to mind:

… and be sure your sin will find you out.  (Numbers 32:23b NKJV)

Listen to the story read.

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  • Why were Welcome Robin and Mrs. Robin upset?
  • Which bird was the one who destroyed the eggs?
  • What did their friends try to do to help the Robins?
  • Should we do that for our friends also?
  • Who was the next robber?
  • How did they know it was him?
  • Both the Crow and the Blue Jay are cousins. Why?
  • Why did Peter decide that Sammy Blue Jay was okay?
  • Can we sin just a little and then do lots of good? Does that make it right?

Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NKJV)

Links:

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Links:

Redtail the Hawk - Burgess Bird Book ©©Thum

 

 

Next Chapter (Some Homes in the Green Forest. Coming Soon)


Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 


Savannah Sparrow by Ray Barlow

 

Wordless Birds

 


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Houston Zoo – Vacation – Part 2-B

You were shown the Blue-chinned Macaws and five different Turacos in Houston Zoo – Vacation – Part 2. Now to show you some more of the neat birds from the Lord’s Creative Hand.

The next set of birds were outside and most were still damp from the rain.

Grey-winged Trumpeter and Racquet-tailed Rollers Exhibit

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Grey-winged Trumpeter’s Beautiful Feathers Houston Zoo by Lee

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Racket-tailed Roller (Coracias spatulatus) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Racket-tailed Roller (Coracias spatulatus) Houston Zoo by Lee

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I kept trying to get a photo of the “racket-tail”, but he never really got in the right position. This was a new species to see for me.

Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

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Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

We have seen both the Cuckoos and the Malkohas before, but the Cuckoos were closer to us this time.

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Then a couple of favorites, the Kookabura, except this time it was a Blue-winged Kookabura, and a Micronesian Kingfisher.

Micronesian Kingfisher by Dan

Micronesian Kingfisher by Dan

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Blue-winged Kookaburra – What you looking at?  by Lee

Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Dan

Blue-winged Kookaburra (Dacelo leachii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Dan

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** Updated 6/27/15 **

Forgot about this video:

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Houston Zoo – Vacation – Part 2

From the last post, Birdwatching Along The Way – Vacation – Part 1, you know we arrived in Houston on Tuesday, the 5th. On Wednesday, we headed over to see their Houston Zoo. The weather was starting to turn “yukkie” and it was overcast. This made for making photos a challenge, at least for the outside exhibits. More about that weather later.

Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

The Houston Zoo is a very nice zoo with lots of the Creator’s Avian Friends to check out along with the other Critters from the Lord. Not sure where to begin, so, let’s start with the entrance. As you can tell, it had been raining, but stopped in time for us to visit.

Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

That fact, overcast skies, was the beginning of some of the challenges ahead. I have previously told of challenges with the fencing and cage material between us and the critters. Most of them are fine, but with birds, the bars or mesh can really get to be a challenge. Houston Zoo was loaded with those obstacles to keep me from getting any “perfect shots.” You photographers know exactly what I am referring to. Dan just gave me his “finished” photos that I can use and he was frustrated with how many didn’t turn out. Maybe I should just put all his up here and spare you the agony of seeing mine. :)

I informed him that many of the ones he isn’t going to let me use are better than most of mine. (He is a bit of a perfectionist.) Oh, the joys of a birdwatcher and a photographer marriage. Sure makes for some interesting discussions. Back to the Zoo.

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Sign Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Sign Houston Zoo by Lee

When you enter the zoo, the first birds we saw were the Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis). We have seen Blue and Gold Macaws, but these are not seen as often in zoos. The challenge began.

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

When I tried to zoom in the fence was still in the way.

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Never say never. Not the best, but you can tell that they are Blue-throated Macaws. Yeah!

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Blue-throated Macaw (Ara glaucogularis) Houston Zoo by Lee

Don’t worry, I’m not going to do that for every bird I tried to get photos of. If I did, this would be a loooonnngggg post. I took over 800 photos just at this zoo. Many of those are the signs like up above. I do that so I can try to put the right name on the right bird. I used to try to write them down, but it is much easier to take a photo. plus the signs are usually near the bird and time taken.

Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Mine (can see the bars on it’s chest):

Livingstone's Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Sign Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Sign Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Now a good one by Dan:

Livingstone's Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Dan

Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Dan

The Livingstone’s Turaco “is named after Charles Livingstone an English missionary that lived in Africa.” The Turaco Family has 23 species and the Houston Zoo has at least 5 species. In fact, I added at least four new birds to my Life List of All The Birds We Have Seen in this family:

Fischer’s Turaco (Tauraco fischeri) HZ, Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) HZ, Livingstone’s Turaco (Tauraco livingstonii) HZ, Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) HZ, Red-crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) and the White-bellied Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides leucogaster) which we had seen at the National Aviary. (Will see some of these again later in the trip).

Fischer’s Turaco (Tauraco fischeri) Houston Zoo by Lee

White-bellied Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides leucogaster) Houston Zooby Lee

White-bellied Go-away-bird (Corythaixoides leucogaster) Houston Zooby Lee

The Go-away-bird reminds me of a verse:

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” (Matthew 14:16 NKJV)

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Houston Zoo

Western Plantain-eater (Crinifer piscator) Houston Zoo

Ross's Turaco (Musophaga rossae) Houston Zoo by Lee

Ross’s Turaco (Musophaga rossae) Houston Zoo by Lee

Red-crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) by Dan

Red-crested Turaco (Tauraco erythrolophus) by Dan

Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) Houston Zoo

Great Blue Turaco (Corythaeola cristata) Houston Zoo

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Birdwatching Along The Way – Vacation – Part 1

Great Crested Flycatcher outside motel in Tallahassee

Great Crested Flycatcher outside motel in Tallahassee

We left home on Sunday afternoon, May 3rd and drove to Tallahassee, Florida. As I normally do, I kept a list of birds as were riding and I turned these into eBird. While traveling 70 mph, I usually don’t see anything except the larger birds, so the numbers are not spectacular.

Here is a summary of that day:

White Ibis 6, Black Vulture 2, Turkey Vulture 4, Red-tailed Hawk 2, Sandhill Crane 1, American Crow 4, Common Grackle 1, Boat-tailed Grackle 2. When we stopped for the night, we spotted a Northern Mockingbird, Northern Cardinal, a Brown Thrasher and Great Crested Flycatcher which I was able to get a photo of. (12 species)

Great Crested Flycatcher outside motel in Tallahassee

Great Crested Flycatcher outside motel in Tallahassee

It took the second photo to finally put the ID together. Flycatchers can be a challenge (to me), but the underside helped me ID this bird.

Not bad for a first day. The second day, we drove to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which was one of our longest driving days. Our first goal of the vacation was to be in Houston, Texas by Tuesday, May 5th, which is 1,000 miles from home.

I listed these birds with eBird for the 2nd day, May 4th. A total of 14 species – Great Blue Heron 1, Great Egret 1, Cattle Egret 2,Turkey Vulture 6, Osprey 1, Bald Eagle 1, Great Crested Flycatcher 1, American Crow 2, Fish Crow 1, Tree Swallow 1, Barn Swallow 1, Brown Thrasher 1, Common Grackle 2 and 2 Boat-tailed Grackles. Not much for 500 miles of riding.  Most of the interesting birds that day were the ones at the Welcome Center which I wrote about.

See the Birds at the Mississippi Welcome Center

On Tuesday, we had an easier day and decided to stop by the Battleship Texas. It is located in the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. Dan was in the Navy and if there is a Ship Museum we usually visit it. While we were looking around it, as normal for me, if there is a bird nearby, my attention gets diverted. “Birdwatching Adventure” kicks in and I’m off to capture the birds with the camera. The ship will still be there, but birds have a way of moving on.

Here is a list of the birds seen while visiting the Battleship Texas on May 5th. (eBird report): Neotropic Cormorant  2, Brown Pelican  1, Great Egret  1, Black Vulture, Bonaparte’s Gull  1, Laughing Gull  2, Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon)  3, Cliff Swallow  10, Northern Mockingbird  1, European Starling  4, House Sparrow  2.

Here are some of those photos of the ship and the birds I tried to photograph.

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We were close to Houston and arrived safely at my niece’s house later that day. Vacation Goal #1 – Met.

I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. (Psalms 4:8 NKJV)

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Some of the other articles that mention our vacation:

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Sunday Inspiration – Monarchs

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) by Ian

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) by Ian

This Sunday we introduce you to the Monarchidae – Monarchs Family. This family of Passerines (songbirds) has 99 members that inhabit forest or woodland across sub-Saharan Africa, south-east Asia, Australasia and a number of Pacific islands. Only a few species migrate. Many species decorate their cup-shaped nests with lichen. Monarchids are small insectivorous songbirds with long tails.

The family is about equally divided between Monarchs and Flycatchers with a few other birds sprinkled in. Those other birds are Elepaio, Shrikebill, Magpie-lark and Torrent-lark. There are not many photos available to use, but if you click the different links on the Monarchidae – Monarchs Family page, you will taken to other sites to view those birds.

Pale-blue Monarch (Hypothymis puella) Female on nest ©WikiC

Pale-blue Monarch (Hypothymis puella) Female on nest ©WikiC

The monarch flycatchers are generally monogamous, with the pair bonds ranging from just a single season (as in the African paradise flycatcher) to life (the Elepaio). Only three species are known to engage in cooperative breeding; but many species are as yet unstudied. They are generally territorial, defending territories that are around 2 ha in size, but a few species may cluster their nesting sites closely together. The nests are in turn often aggressively defended by monarch flycatchers. In all species the nest is an open cup on a branch, fork or twig. In some species the nests can be highly conspicuous.

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Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)


“He’s Looking on You” ~ by Dr. Richard Gregory

Jesus more than qualifies to be The Monarch and is Rightfully sitting on the Throne of God. There He is “looking on us.”

A monarch is the sovereign head of state in a monarchy. A monarch may exercise the most and highest authority in the state or others may wield that power on behalf of the monarch. Typically a monarch either personally inherits the lawful right to exercise the state’s sovereign rights (often referred to as the throne or the crown) or is selected by an established process from a family or cohort eligible to provide the nation’s monarch. (Wikipedia)

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White-breasted Cormorant Update

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

In yesterday’s article, White-breasted Cormorants at San Diego Zoo I mentioned that we had never seen these before. When it posted, at the bottom of the article, it loaded the Latest Challenge of Zoo Photography which was taken at Lowry Park Zoo. I have added an Update to yesterday’s article.

But now that I look at the two of them together, it does make me wonder if they are the same species.???

I got through the netting.

I got through the netting.

They both have that beautiful green eye, but their little patch of color below the eye is different. Huh?

Interesting. They may come from different parts of Africa or it could be their ages or sex. If you know, drop a comment.

As James tells us, we are to admit when we mess up. It was unintentional.

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16 KJV)

At least it gave me something to write about today! :)
(By the way, if you wonder why I don’t have the smiley faces turned on, it is because I use so many “(” and “)” that they get turned into faces. I need the quotes for the names of the birds more than I need smileys. :)

White-breasted Cormorants at San Diego Zoo

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

Update: I have seen these before at Lowry Park Zoo – My mistake :(

We see Double-crested Cormorants very frequently here in Florida. At the San Diego Zoo, we were able to see the White-breasted Cormorants. These are another one of the Lord’s neat creations which He has given them just what they need for catching their prey. They belong to the Phalacrocoracidae – Cormorant, Shag family of which has 41 species.

Cormorants and shags are medium-to-large birds, with body weight in the range of 0.35–5 kilograms (0.77–11.02 lb) and wing span of 45–100 centimetres (18–39 in). The majority of species have dark feather. The bill is long, thin and hooked. Their feet have webbing between all four toes. All species are fish-eaters, catching the prey by diving from the surface. They are excellent divers, and under water they propel themselves with their feet with help from their wings; some cormorant species have been found to dive as deep as 45 metres.

The White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) is much like the widespread great cormorant and if not a regional variant of the same species, is at least very closely related. It is distinguished from other forms of the great cormorant by its white breast and by the fact that subpopulations are freshwater birds. Phalacrocorax lucidus is not to be confused with the smaller and very different endemic South Australian black-faced cormorant, which also is sometimes called the white-breasted cormorant. (Wikipedia)

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) Sign SD Zoo by Lee

The sign at the San Diego Zoo shows this bird as a sub-species of the Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), but the I.O.C. lists it as the White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus). “The white-breasted cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) is a member of the cormorant family Phalacrocoracidae. Its taxonomic status has been under discussion for some decades and several questions still have not been definitively settled. Phalacrocorax lucidus sometimes is treated as a subspecies of the great cormorant, Phalacrocorax carbo lucidus. ” (Wikipedia) That helps explain the discrepancy.

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

I especially liked the chin on this cormorant. Thought is was interesting and different from our usual Cormorants. Also, this was a first time we have seen this White-breasted Cormorant in any of the zoos we have visited. So it gets added to the Life List of All Birds We Have Seen

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

White-breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus) SD Zoo by Lee

“As its name suggests, the 80–100 cm long white-breasted cormorant has a white neck and breast when adult, and the white area tends to increase as the bird becomes more mature. In other respects it is a large cormorant generally resembling the great cormorant.”

Here are the few photos that I took of these birds.

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But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. (Isa 34:11)

And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant, (Deuteronomy 14:17 KJV)

Cormorants are one the birds mentioned in the Bible. See Birds of the Bible – Cormorant

I see that both my Life List of All Birds We Have Seen and my Birdwatching Trips need some work. That ought to keep my busy this summer while most of the birds took off to their northern nesting grounds, that and trying to work on vacation photos.

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A Robber in the Old Orchard – Chapter 16

Purple Martin (Progne subis) ©USFWS

A Robber in the Old Orchard

The Purple Martin and the Barn Swallow.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

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CHAPTER 16. A Robber in the Old Orchard.

“I don’t believe it,” muttered Johnny Chuck out loud. “I don’t believe Jenny Wren knows what she’s talking about.”

“What is it Jenny Wren has said that you don’t believe?” demanded Skimmer the Tree Swallow, as he once more settled himself in his doorway.

“She said that Hummer the Hummingbird is a sort of second cousin to Sooty the Chimney Swift,” replied Johnny Chuck.

“Well, it’s so, if you don’t believe it,” declared Skimmer. “I don’t see that that is any harder to believe than that you are cousin to Striped Chipmunk and Nappy Jack the Gray Squirrel. To look at you no one would ever think you are a member of the Squirrel family, but you must admit that you are.”

PAS-Hiru Purple Martin (Progne subis) ©WikiCJohnny Chuck nodded his head thoughtfully. “Yes,” said he, “I am, even if I don’t look it. This is a funny world, isn’t it? You can’t always tell by a person’s looks who he may be related to. Now that I’ve found out that Sooty isn’t related to you and is related to Hummer, I’ll never dare guess again about anybody’s relatives. I always supposed Twitter the Martin to be a relative of yours, but now that I’ve learned that Sooty isn’t, I suspect that Twitter isn’t either.”

“Oh, yes, he is,” replied Skimmer promptly. “He’s the largest of the Swallow family, and we all feel very proud of him. Everybody loves him.”

“Is he as black as he looks, flying round up in the air?” asked Johnny Chuck. “He never comes down here as you do where a fellow can get a good look at him.”

“Yes,” replied Skimmer, “he dresses all in black, but it is a beautiful blue-black, and when the sun shines on his back it seems to be almost purple. That is why some folks call him the Purple Martin. He is one of the most social fellows I know of. I like a home by myself, such as I’ve got here, but Twitter loves company. He likes to live in an apartment house with a lot of his own kind. That is why he always looks for one of those houses with a lot of rooms in it, such as Farmer Brown’s boy has put up on the top of that tall pole out in his back yard. He pays for all the trouble Farmer Brown’s boy took to put that house up. If there is anybody who catches more flies and winged insects than Twitter, I don’t know who it is.”

Barn Swallow in Cades Cove by Dan

Barn Swallow in Cades Cove by Dan

“How about me?” demanded a new voice, as a graceful form skimmed over Johnny Chuck’s head, and turning like a flash, came back. It was Forktail the Barn Swallow, the handsomest and one of the most graceful of all the Swallow family. He passed so close to Johnny that the latter had a splendid chance to see and admire his glistening steel-blue back and the beautiful chestnut-brown of his forehead and throat with its narrow black collar, and the brown to buff color of his under parts. But the thing that was most striking about him was his tail, which was so deeply forked as to seem almost like two tails.

“I would know him as far as I could see him just by his tail alone,” exclaimed Johnny. “I don’t know of any other tail at all like it.”

“There isn’t any other like it,” declared Skimmer. “If Twitter the Martin is the largest of our family, Forktail is the handsomest.”

“How about my usefulness?” demanded Forktail, as he came skimming past again. “Cousin Twitter certainly does catch a lot of flies and insects but I’m willing to go against him any day to see who can catch the most.”

With this he darted away. Watching him they saw him alight on the top of Farmer Brown’s barn. “It’s funny,” remarked Johnny Chuck, “but as long as I’ve known Forktail, and I’ve known him ever since I was big enough to know anybody, I’ve never found out how he builds his nest. I’ve seen him skimming over the Green Meadows times without number, and often he comes here to the Old Orchard as he did just now, but I’ve never seen him stop anywhere except over on that barn.”

“That’s where he nests,” chuckled Skimmer.

“What?” cried Johnny Chuck. “Do you mean to say he nests on Farmer Brown’s barn?”

“No,” replied Skimmer. “He nests in it. That’s why he is called the Barn Swallow, and why you never have seen his nest. If you’ll just go over to Farmer Brown’s barn and look up in the roof, you’ll see Forktail’s nest there somewhere.”

“Me go over to Farmer Brown’s barn!” exclaimed Johnny Chuck. “Do you think I’m crazy?”

Skimmer chuckled. “Forktail isn’t crazy,” said he, “and he goes in and out of that barn all day long. I must say I wouldn’t care to build in such a place myself, but he seems to like it. There’s one thing about it, his home is warm and dry and comfortable, no matter what the weather is. I wouldn’t trade with him, though. No, sir, I wouldn’t trade with him for anything. Give me a hollow in a tree well lined with feathers to a nest made of mud and straw, even if it is feather-lined.”

“Do you mean that such a neat-looking, handsome fellow as Forktail uses mud in his nest?” cried Johnny.

Skimmer bobbed his head. “He does just that,” said he. “He’s something like Welcome Robin in this respect. I—”

But Johnny Chuck never knew what Skimmer was going to say next, for Skimmer happened at that instant to glance up. For an instant he sat motionless with horror, then with a shriek he darted out into the air. At the sound of that shriek Mrs. Skimmer, who all the time had been sitting on her eggs inside the hollow of the tree, darted out of her doorway, also shrieking. For a moment Johnny Chuck couldn’t imagine what could be the trouble. Then a slight rustling drew his eyes to a crotch in the tree a little above the doorway of Skimmer’s home. There, partly coiled around a branch, with head swaying to and fro, eyes glittering and forked tongue darting out and in, as he tried to look down into Skimmer’s nest, was Mr. Blacksnake.

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) WikiC

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) WikiC

It seemed to Johnny as if in a minute every bird in the Old Orchard had arrived on the scene. Such a shrieking and screaming as there was! First one and then another would dart at Mr. Blacksnake, only to lose courage at the last second and turn aside. Poor Skimmer and his little wife were frantic. They did their utmost to distract Mr. Blacksnake’s attention, darting almost into his very face and then away again before he could strike. But Mr. Blacksnake knew that they were powerless to hurt him, and he knew that there were eggs in that nest. There is nothing he loves better than eggs unless it is a meal of baby birds. Beyond hissing angrily two or three times he paid no attention to Skimmer or his friends, but continued to creep nearer the entrance to that nest.

At last he reached a position where he could put his head in the doorway. As he did so, Skimmer and Mrs. Skimmer each gave a little cry of hopelessness and despair. But no sooner had his head disappeared in the hole in the old apple-tree than Scrapper the Kingbird struck him savagely. Instantly Mr. Blacksnake withdrew his head, hissing fiercely, and struck savagely at the birds nearest him. Several times the same thing happened. No sooner would his head disappear in that hole than Scrapper or one or the other of Skimmer’s friends, braver than the rest, would dart in and peck at him viciously, and all the time all the birds were screaming as only excited feathered folk can. Johnny Chuck was quite as excited as his feathered friends, and so intent watching the hated black robber that he had eyes for nothing else. Suddenly he heard a step just behind him. He turned his head and then frantically dived head first down into his hole. He had looked right up into the eyes of Farmer Brown’s boy!

“Ha, ha!” cried Farmer Brown’s boy, “I thought as much!” And with a long switch he struck Mr. Blacksnake just as the latter had put his head in that doorway, resolved to get those eggs this time. But when he felt that switch and heard the voice of Farmer Brown’s boy he changed his mind in a flash. He simply let go his hold on that tree and dropped. The instant he touched the ground he was off like a shot for the safety of the old stone wall, Farmer Brown’s boy after him. Farmer Brown’s boy didn’t intend to kill Mr. Blacksnake, but he did want to give him such a fright that he wouldn’t visit the Old Orchard again in a hurry, and this he quite succeeded in doing.

No sooner had Mr. Blacksnake disappeared than all the birds set up such a rejoicing that you would have thought they, and not Farmer Brown’s boy, had saved the eggs of Mr. and Mrs. Skimmer. Listening to them, Johnny Chuck just had to smile.

Listen to the story read.

 

Barn Swallow at the New Mexico Welcome Center

Barn Swallow at the New Mexico Welcome Center by Lee

Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. (Psalms 84:3 KJV)

(Due to helping take photos at Vacation Bible School this week, this is a little short on extra additions on my part.)

Links:

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Links:

Goldie the Baltimore Oriole, Sammy Jay - Burgess Bird Book ©©Thum

 

  Next Chapter (More Robbers. Coming Soon)

 

 

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

  Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

Savannah Sparrow by Ray Barlow

  

 

  Wordless Birds

 

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