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Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Masked Woodswallow ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 8/14/14

When I was taking location photos along the inland route to Paluma several weeks ago, I came across a mixed flock of a couple of hundred Masked and White-browed Woodswallows. The White-browed featured as bird of the week in 2005, but the Masked hasn’t so here it is. The males in particular, first photo, are very elegant with a sharply defined, very black mask, soft grey back, almost white underparts and a white crescent between the mask and the back of the head.

The females, second photo, are similar to the males with less contrasting plumage, only a subtle crescent, and a buff wash to the upper breast. The yellow specks on the mask and breast of this female are pollen – these primarily insectivorous birds also feed on nectar, particularly in northern Australia in winter.

Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus) by Ian
The female in the second photo and the juvenile in the third photo were in a mixed flock of Masked and White-browed that spent a week or so feeding on the locally common Fern-leaved Grevillea near where I live in 2005. The juveniles are similar to the females, but with browner plumage with pale spots and streaks.

Masked Woodswallow (Artamus personatus) by Ian

The ‘swallow’ part of the name comes from their buoyant, gliding flight and not because they are related to real swallows (family Hirundinidae). Rather, they are related to the Australian Magpie, Butcherbirds and Currawongs, usually combined in the one family, the Artamidae. There is an obvious similarity to the Magpie and Butcherbirds in their general form and bi-coloured bills and they are also quite aggressive, Woodswallows being quick to mob raptors in flight. The ‘personatus’ part of the scientific name comes from the Latin persona, meaning mask, a derivation that amused me when I though of show business ‘personalities’.

The White-browed and Masked Woodswallows are very closely related species, even though their respective plumages are quite distinct. They are both very nomadic and occur throughout mainland Australia, though not Tasmania. They often occur together in large mixed flocks. In eastern Australia, the White-browed predominates; in Western Australia, the Masked is more numerous and may occur alone. The two species will even nest together in small mixed colonies and occasionally interbreed.

Links:
Artamidae
Masked Woodswallow
White-browed Woodswallow

Greetings
Ian

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

“Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)

What a neat looking bird. I especially like the clean line around his “mask”. We have seen Woodswallows in a zoo, but not this kind and not in the wild. That last photo is a super photo. Thanks, Ian, for sharing with us.

Swallows and Woodswallows are in two different families. Woodswallows are in the Artamidae – Woodswallows Family while the Hirundinidae Family has the Swallows and Martins.

Here is a photo of  White-breasted Woodswallows that we saw at Zoo Miami:

White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus amydrus) by Lee ZM

White-breasted Woodswallow (Artamus leucorynchus amydrus) by Lee ZM

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Peacocks at entrance to Magnolia Plantation

Peacocks at entrance to Magnolia Plantation


For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22)

We have just arrived home from a shortened vacation due to a health issue. We got as far as Charleston, S. C. before turning around and drifting back home.

We were able to visit a few places, the Magnolia Plantation, for one, in Charleston. We were greeted at the entrance by at least 6 or 7 Peacocks. Also at the Petting Zoo, they had two female Peafowl with very young peachicks. As far as I could tell, these were Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus). Peacocks are actually Peafowl and belong to the Pheasant & Allies Phasianidae Family.

I have never seen peachicks before and thought it cute that they have the little tufts on their heads that will eventually grow those top feathers.

Peachicks at Magnolia Gardens by Lee

Peachicks at Magnolia Gardens by Lee

“First, the “Peacocks” are the males. The females are called “Peahens” and their chicks are called “Peachicks.”  Collectively the birds are called Peafowl. They all belong to the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family.” (From Birds of the Bible – Peacocks II


Dan photographing one of the Peacocks

Dan photographing one of the Peacocks

To find out more about Peacocks (Peafowl):

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PS. Sorry about the quickly edited photos. I’ve had the blog on “auto-pilot” for over a week, but ran out of pre-scheduled blogs.

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Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) by Peter Ericsson

Crimson Sunbird (Aethopyga siparaja) by Peter Ericsson

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. (Psalms 84:11 NKJV)

From the rising of the sun to its going down The LORD’s name is to be praised. (Psalms 113:3 NKJV)

Sunbirds are another of the beautifully created birds from the Lord’s Hand. They are members of the Nectariniidae – Sunbirds family. This family has 143 members including the Sunbirds and Spiderhunters.

These are very small passerine birds. Most sunbirds feed largely on nectar, but also take insects and spiders, especially when feeding young. Flower tubes that bar access to nectar because of their shape, are simply punctured at the base near the nectaries. Fruit is also part of the diet of some species. Their flight is fast and direct on their short wings.

The family is distributed throughout Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and just reaches northern Australia.

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“Temporary Home” – Flute played by Courtney Love (artist Carrie Underwood)

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If you would like to see the words to this song:

Little boy, six years old
A little too used to being alone
Another new mom and dad
Another school, another house that’ll never be a home

When people ask him how he likes this place
He looks up and says with a smile upon his face

“This is my temporary home, it’s not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I’m passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know this is my temporary home”
Hmmmm………
Young mom on her own
She needs a little help, got nowhere to go
She’s looking for a job, looking for a way out
‘Cause a halfway house will never be a home

At night she whispers to her baby girl
“Someday we’ll find our place here in this world”

“This is our temporary home, it’s not where we belong
Windows and rooms that we’re passing through
This is just a stop on the way to where we’re going
I’m not afraid because I know this is our temporary home”
Hmmmm………
Old man, hospital bed
The room is filled with people he loves
And he whispers “Don’t cry for me, I’ll see you all someday”
He looks up and says “I can see God’s face”

“This is my temporary home, it’s not where I belong
Windows and rooms that I’m passing through
This was just a stop on the way to where I’m going
I’m not afraid because I know this was my temporary home”
This is our temporary home
This is our temporary home.

(Published – FAIR USE)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5 NKJV)

More

Sunday Inspiration

Nectariniidae – Sunbirds Family

Sunbird – Wikipedia

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SmileyCentral.com

GOD’S GIFTS AND GOD’S GIFT

“I AM the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.” (John 15:1)

The evolutionary story of man’s history tells us that it took man tens of thousands of years to figure out he could farm crops for himself. Yet, today we know that some termites, ants and ambrosia beetles actually cultivate food crops.

Cocoa Damselfish ©Flickr KevinBryant

Cocoa Damselfish ©Flickr KevinBryant

In the world’s oceans there are simpler approaches, called protofarming, among a few creatures. Protofarming is nothing more than where limpets and some damselfish graze on established algae. Now scientists have found an example of true farming among one species of damselfish. This fish feeds on a species of red alga that grows in a brown carpet. It protects it from other creatures looking for a salad. It also weeds its patch of any other algae, actually moving the interloping algae out of its patch. When a damselfish was removed from its patch, it was quickly devoured by other creatures and could not replace itself. A survey showed that the brown carpet alga only grows where there is a damselfish to tend it. It actually depends on the damselfish to survive.

Farming is not an invention of man, but a gift of God. It is clear that God gave the gift of farming to those creatures He wished to have this gift. God often compares Himself with a farmer in Scripture. Ultimately, He calls Himself a farmer, and Jesus Christ the vine, and believers in Christ the branches.

Prayer:
Thank You, Father, for grafting me into Your Son, Jesus Christ, so that I may know Your forgiveness. Amen.
Notes:
Science News, 8/12/06, p. 102, S. Milius, “Fish as Farmers.”

©Creation Moments 2014 – God’s Gifts and God’s Gift


Lee’s Addition:

That is amazing! Another very interesting inter-reaction between created things from our Creator God.

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