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Looking South from Croquette Point by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Greater Sand Plover ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 4/14/14

As I mentioned in the last email, I took advantage of a spell of reasonable weather to make a trip to Cairns to take location photos for Where to Find Birds in Northeast Queensland. On the way back, I visited Coquette Point near to check it out as it is listed in the book as a good spot for both mangrove birds and waders. Coquette Point and Flying Fish Point are the charmingly named headlands on the southern and northern banks of the mouth of the Johnstone River on which Innisfail, 100 km south of Cairns, is situated.

Although it mightn’t live up to the dream of an idyllic tropical paradise – I’m still itching from some sandfly bites and there have been recent sightings of Saltwater Crocodiles in the neighbourhood – it did indeed turn out to be good for birds. As well as a pair of Beach Stone-Curlews in the mangroves, there were several pairs of Greater Sand Plovers feeding in the shallows. At this time of the year, many waders are migrating back to their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere and it is a good time to look for ones in breeding plumage, such as the one in the first photo.

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) by Ian

In non-breeding plumage most waders are, frankly, drab and often difficult to identify. Here is a Greater Sand Plover in non-breeding plumage on Cape York. This particular individual shows the characteristic long legs and large bill that distinguish it from the very similar Lesser or Mongolian Sand Plover, but Sand Plovers are quite variable in both size and bill length and I’m not always certain of identification, even with the aid of photos.

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) by Ian

Here, to illustrate the point, is a pair at Coquette Point. The bird in non-breeding plumage looks smaller than its companion, has the slightly hunched posture of the Lesser Sand Plover but its large bill, and guilt by association, would indicate a Greater.

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) by Ian

Finally, to complete the series, here is one of the Coquette Point birds in flight. The birds wintering in Australia belong to the nominate race leschenaultii and nest in Southern Siberia, Western China and Southern Mongolia. Their movements are not well understood but it is thought that they migrate non-stop, so this at least is one species of wader that doesn’t have to rely on the fast-disappearing mudflats of the Yellow Sea for refuelling stopovers.

Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) by Ian 4

I’d always vaguely assumed that the person who named Flying Fish Point did so because he or she had seen Flying Fish there, but Coquette Point aroused my curiosity as there seemed nothing flirtatious about it. With the help of Google, I found out that George Dalrymple, one of the explorers in this part of the world was sent by the Queensland Government in 1873 to explore the inlets and rivers between Cardwell and Cooktown. His boats were two cutters, the Flying Fish and the Coquette and one of his companion policemen was Robert Johnstone. In Dalrymple’s report to Parliament he said “I therefore considered that I was justified in naming the river after Mr Johnstone, a gentleman who has become identified with discovery and enterprise on the north east coast and who first brought to light the real character and value of this fine river, and it’s rich agricultural land…”. This, incidentally, is what 19th Century cutters looked like.

Ancient British Navy Gun Cutter from Ian

Ancient British Navy Gun Cutter from Ian

Which, of course, begs the question of why a Queensland boat would be called Coquette. The only clue I could find was that the first Royal Navy ship called Coquette was a 28 gun one captured off the French in 1783 and put into service. After that the name ‘Coquette’ was used repeatedly for a series of smaller ships.

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 times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD. (Jer 8:7 ESV)

Thanks again, Ian, for sharing another interesting bird. I find it interesting that his birds are migrating, but for the opposite reason ours are migrating. Cold is coming on down there and our are heading home because it is getting warmer. Either way, the birds are on the “move.”

Plovers are members of the Charadriidae – Plovers Family.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Charadriidae – Plovers Family

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Giant Coot (Fulica gigantea) Loped Feet ©©Flickr Lobed Feet

Giant Coot (Fulica gigantea) Loped Feet ©©Flickr Lobed Feet

You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip. (Psalms 18:36 NKJV)

I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word. (Psalms 119:101 NKJV)

My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. (Job 23:11 NKJV)

As you watch the birds, notice their feet. The Lord has given each of them very specific feet that our necessary for their needs. Does He not provide us with the needs that we have and help us walk with Him?

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“Just A Closer Walk With Thee” - © by The Hyssongs (Used With Permission of the Hyssongs)

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More Sunday Inspiration

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Hoopoe Feeding Young ©©Dvir Lotan from Israel

Hoopoe Feeding Young ©©Dvir Lotan from Israel

 

Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food“; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (Genesis 1:30-31 NKJV)

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Mat 6:26 )

These verses have been shared before, but the quote below, that I received from an e-mail, provides another angle.

God Gives every bird its food,

but He does not throw it into its nest.

That quote cause a chuckle at first, but then you begin to really think about it.

Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus) ©WikiC

Fan-tailed Raven (Corvus rhipidurus) ©WikiC

 Who provides food for the raven, When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food? (Job 38:41 NKJV)

He gives to the beast its food, And to the young ravens that cry. (Psalms 147:9 NKJV)

Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds? (Luke 12:24 NKJV)

We know that the Lord provides for the birds, but they have to go out an gather it up. Some have it easy, other birds have to work at finding and then opening up the seeds, snails, nuts or what ever they have. The Lord, through His Creative Hand has given the various birds, the “tools” they need. Special beaks, feet, swift wings, keen eyes, etc.

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. (Genesis 1:29 NKJV)

You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth (Psalms 104:14 ESV)

Those verse let us know that the Lord has also provided for us. Yet we have to gather it and again, the Lord has given us the skills and tools to feed ourselves. Can we not learn for the birds?

But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; And the birds of the air, and they will tell you; (Job 12:7 NKJV)

Cedar Waxwing Eating by Steve Slayton

Cedar Waxwing Eating by Steve Slayton

She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. (Proverbs 31:15 ESV)

Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11 NKJV)

Six days you shall labor and do all your work, (Exodus 20:9 NKJV)

Bearded Barbet (Lybius dubius) ©© Passing food

Bearded Barbet (Lybius dubius) ©© Passing food

I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” (Acts 20:35 NKJV)

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28 NKJV)

The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. (Proverbs 13:4 NKJV)

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) with Hoard or Grainary WikiC

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus) with Hoard or Grainary WikiC

The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing. (Proverbs 20:4 NKJV)

The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. (Proverbs 13:4 NKJV)

The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing. (Proverbs 20:4 NKJV)

Osprey with Fish by Jim Fenton

Osprey with Fish by Jim Fenton

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10 NKJV)

See:

Birds of the Bible

Gideon

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Siamese Fireback by Dan's Pix

Siamese Fireback by Dan’s Pix at Zoo Miami

As the partridge sitteth on eggs, and hatcheth them not; so he that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool. (Jeremiah 17:11 KJV)

I was browsing through some of Dan’s photos on his Dan’s Pix site and came across the Siamese Fireback. We saw this bird in the Wings of Asia Aviary at Zoo Miami. This is another of the Lord’s interesting creations.

The Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) also known as Diard’s Fireback is a fairly large, approximately 31.5 in (80 cm) long, pheasant. The male has a grey plumage with an extensive red facial skin, crimson legs and feet, ornamental black crest feathers, reddish brown iris and long curved blackish tail. The female is a brown bird with blackish wing and tail feathers.

The Siamese Fireback is distributed to the lowland and evergreen forests of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam in Southeast Asia. Very dense forests, bamboo and evergreen from sea-level to 2,000 feet. This species is also designated as the national bird of Thailand.

Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) ©WikiC

Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) ©WikiC (You can see the yellow on its back)

The female usually lays between four to eight rosy eggs. They have a more subtle coloration that helps them blend into the area while nesting.

Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) female by Lee ZM

Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) female by Lee ZM

Where there is no wood, the fire goes out; And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. (Proverbs 26:20 NKJV)

Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) female by Lee ZM

Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) female by Lee ZM

The scientific name commemorates the French naturalist Pierre-Médard Diard. (Information from various internet sources.)

The three Firebacks are part of the Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies Family. Partridges, Pheasants, Grouse, Quail, Francolin, Peafowl, Peacocks and others make up this family.

Crestless Fireback (Lophura erythrophthalma) IBC

Crested Fireback (Lophura ignita) by Ian

Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) by Dan’s Pix

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