Ian’s Bird of the Week – Great Frigatebird

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Great Frigatebird ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 8/28/14

This week’s good news is that the ebook Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland is now available on the iTunes store (in 51 countries). So if you have an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac (running OS X Maverick) this is for you! Here is the link: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/where-to-find-birds-in-northern/id912789825?mt=11&uo=4. To make a connection with this week’s bird, the Great Frigatebird, here is a screen shot from iBooks to show you what you can expect. All the text items highlighted in purple and links to either other places in the book – typically places, birds or lists – or external websites. The images are the same size as the ones that are included in the bird of the week, so if you double-click, or double-tap, on them, you can enlarge them to full size.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) by Ian

If you think about birds in northern Queensland, perhaps iconic rainforest species like the Cassowary or Victoria’s Riflebird come to mind. Fair enough, but there is much more to this region than rainforest, important though that is.The area also has wonderful wetlands, tropical savannah forest, mountain ranges, dry country habitats and, last but not least, the coast with its Barrier Reef, beaches, mangroves, mudflats, continental islands and coral cays. So it should be no surprise that over 400 species of birds occur here and you need a reference devoted to the region to do it justice. I’ve chosen a dramatic seabird to make the point.

The term ‘frigate’ was first applied in the 17th century to warships built for speed and manoeuvrability and frigates were often used by pirates to attach merchant shipping. Frigatebirds, also called Man o’ War Birds, got their name for their piratical habitats of harrying other seabirds like boobies and tropicbirds to make them drop their prey. In fact, studies have shown that piracy accounts for perhaps only 20% of their food, and they are expert fishers as well. They fish by snatching prey, such as squid and young turtles, from the surface of the sea or in flight, in the case of their favourite prey, flying fish.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Female by Ian

Despite their naval name, frigatebirds are wonderfully adapted for flying and are poor swimmers to the extent that they are reluctant to land on water, as they can take off only in strong winds and their plumage is not waterproof. They have very light bones making up only 5% of the body, huge pectoral muscles, enormous wing area, long forked tails for rudders and streamlined bodies with small heads. Despite their size, they are very light, soar effortlessly in good winds and are very acrobatic. Female Great Frigatebirds, larger than males, are about 1m/40in long, have a wingspan to 2.3m/90in but weight only 1.2-1.6kg/2.6-3.5lb.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Female by Ian

The male Great Frigatebird, first photo, is the only all-black frigatebird occurring in Australia – the other all-black males are the Magnificent Frigatebird of Atlantic Ocean and the eastern Pacific and the Ascencion Frigatebird of the east Atlantic. Frigatebirds are unusual among seabirds in drinking freshwater if they can get it, and this male is drinking at the mouth of freshwater stream on Christmas island by snatching a beak-full of water in flight. Frigatebirds also bathe in flight by splashing into the surface of the water and flying off. You can also see its red gular pouch. This is inflated to enormous size to impress females during courtship. I haven’t got a photo of displaying Great Frigatebird, but you can see a Magnificent Frigatebird doing so here: Magnificent_Frigatebird.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by Ian

Female Great Frigatebirds have white breasts and care needs to be taken in distinguishing them from other female and juvenile frigatebirds – Lesser Frigatebirds of both sexes have white ‘spurs’ in the axil of the underwing, and Christmas Island Frigatebirds of both sexes, have white bellies. Birds in Indian Ocean waters in Australia belong to the nominate race minor, distinguished by the females having pink eye-rings, second photo. Birds in the Pacific belong to palmerstoni and usually have blue eye-rings, third photo, though doubt exists as to the validity of the races and the reliability of the fieldmarks.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by IanBecause of their need for consistent winds, frigatebirds are restricted to tropical waters where they can rely on the trade winds. Adults are sedentary and remain close to their roosting sites and breeding colonies, mostly on small isolated islands. Non-breeding birds and immature birds are pelagic and move over huge distances. Trade winds are unusual in that they form cumulus clouds and hence thermals over water both by day and night, and frigatebirds make great use of these to soar as high as the cloud base and will fly at night if conditions are right. Pelagic frigatebirds use the front of storms to move around and can cope with high winds very well. This is why they appear in coastal areas after cyclones and are supposed to be called ‘rain-brothers’ by Australian aborigines, though I haven’t been able to verify this.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni) Juvenile by IanThe range of the Great Frigatebird includes the tropical Pacific, southern tropical Indian and western Atlantic Oceans. In Australia it breeds colonially on islands along the outer Great Barrier Reef, in the Coral Sea and on Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, usually in mangroves. The juvenile in photos five and six was photographed on East Diamond Islet, about 600km east of Cairns http://www.satelliteviews.net/cgi-bin/w.cgi?c=cr&UF=34304&UN=456541&DG=ISL. Breeding birds form pair bonds and both parents share in the incubation and feeding of the young. The young develop very slowly. This is thought to adapt them to periods of starvation when the adults have trouble finding food, and remain under parental care for many months.

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Female attacking Red-tailed Tropicbird by IanThe last photo shows a hapless Red-tailed Tropicbird near Christmas Island being harried by a female Great Frigatebird who has grabbed it by the tail-streamers. Frigatebirds hang out near seabird colonies waiting for birds carrying prey or with full crops returning to feed their young. It’s hard enough work being a parent without having to put up with this!

Greetings
Ian

**************************************************
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


Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor) Male Displaying ©WikiC

Lee’s Addition:

but those who trust in the LORD will renew their strength; they will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 HCSB)

Thanks again, Ian, for introducing us to another interesting bird. We have seen the Magnificent Frigatebirds here in Florida, but these Great ones are also amazing. That fact about only 5% of their weight being the bone structure is another fantastic design from their Creator.

Frigatebirds belong to the Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family which only has five species in it.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Lesser Frigatebird

Fregatidae – Frigatebirds Family

Great Frigatebird – Wikipedia

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Sunday Inspiration – Smiling

Gators at Gatorland - Great Egrets catching a ride

Gators at Gatorland – Great Egrets catching a ride

The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; (Psa 33:13)

The LORD looks down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there are any who understand, who seek God. (Psa 14:2 NKJV)

Today’s Inspiration is just a collection of photos that have been used before. Most are on the lighter side. Some to make you smile, others just to help us enjoy the Lord’s critters. I especially enjoy the three ladies singing “Smile On Me Gracious Lord.”

I trust we all want the Lord to smile on us. Knowing the Lord as your personal Savior and accepting Him will definitely put a smile on His Face.

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“Smile On Me Gracious Lord” – Special by Amy, Dakota and Christina

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More Sunday Inspirations

Wordless Birds

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(WordPress is having a problem at this time and adding new photos is too frustrating to bother with.)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Masked Woodswallow

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

**************************************************
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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Yellow-headed and Red-winged Blackbirds: Living on the Inside or the Outside?

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) ©WikiC Alan Vernon

Yellow-headed Blackbird (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) ©WikiC Alan Vernon

Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. (James 4:8)

Luzon Bleeding-heart by Dan

Orni-Theology

The Visitor Center at Jackson Hole, Wyoming (“Jackson Hole & Greater Yellowstone Visitor Center”), is a good place to go to for information on Grand Teton National Park, which borders the more-famous Yellowstone National Park.  Yet for bird-lovers, the visitor’s center itself is an attraction, in summer, because the marshy ponded area next to the building hosts a congregation of blackbirds, both Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) and Yellow-headed Blackbirds (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus).

If you are helping city kids to see these passerine icterids, tell them to “look for the tall corny-dogs growing in the wild” (cattails – Typha species, tall-stemmed wetland plants topped by a sausage-shaped flowering “spike”), around the pond.

As in many other lacustrine marshlands, red-winged blackbirds are often found perched among the cattails that grow as emergents among the wavy shoreline of pond.  For a redwing this is “prime real estate”, until the yellow-heads move in. How so?  In cattail dominated marsh-ponds, if both yellow-heads and red-wings are both present, the innermost places of the cattail “ring” are routinely occupied by the yellow-headed blackbirds, leaving the “outer” cattail positions (i.e., slightly farther away from the pond-water) for the redwings.

Why?  I have no idea why, but others have notice this. [E.g., see W. Braun’s observations in Blackbirds In Cattail Marshes , saying “The YHBs [yellow-headed blackbirds] clearly are the rulers of the cattails. They often, but not always, nest in the same marsh as the Red-winged Blackbird and the Common Grackles. The larger Yellow-headed Blackbird is dominant to the Red-winged Blackbird and displaces the smaller blackbird from the prime nesting spots.”]

 

Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds on Cattails ©Orcawatcher.com

Red-winged and Yellow-headed Blackbirds on Cattails ©Orcawatcher.com

Photo credit www.Orcawatcher.Com

But it reminds me of the dramatic difference between the apostle Peter and the Pharisee Nicodemus.  Peter was (almost) always close to Christ, and often so, but Nicodemus mostly kept his distance from Christ, at least publicly.

Far from being infallible, Peter is infamous for his cowardice that was indicted by a rooster crowing thrice (Luke 22:54-61).  Peter is also remembered for getting distracted, and becoming fearful, and sinking into the Sea of Galilee, after having miraculously walked on water for only a few steps (Matthew 14:24-33).  But Peter was wise enough to immediately cry out “Lord, save me!”  (And Jesus did.)  At least Peter did some walking on water (at Christ’s command, of course), which is a lot better than the other disciples who just stayed in the boat, as mere spectators, wonderfully how Jesus was enabling Peter to walk on water.

Likewise, Peter had the courage to step up and speak up – to call Jesus “the Christ, the Son of the living God” – a deed that the Lord Jesus commended Peter  — and God the Father —  for doing (Matthew 16:15-17).  And Peter did what he could to defend Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, as Jesus was being arrested – Peter used a sword to chop off one man’s ear (Luke 22:49-51; John 18:10-11)!  (But unlike the Orcadian Viking known to history as Thorfinn Skull-splitter, Peter missed most of his victim’s head.)  It’s the thought that counts, right?

Yellow-hooded Blackbird (Chrysomus icterocephalus) ©Flickr Bob

Yellow-hooded Blackbird (Chrysomus icterocephalus) ©Flickr Bob

So you really have to love Peter.  (Jesus certainly did!)  Peter was one of the “inner” circle of three  –  just James, John, and Peter  — who were invited to witness the Lord Jesus Christ being glorified upon the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8).  What an unforgettable privilege that was (2nd Peter 1:16-18)!  Jesus later invited the same “inner circle” of three to pray for Him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:3738).  With all his faults, Peter was a truly privileged member of Christ’s “inner circle”.

But Peter’s privileges are not so high that we should feel sorry for Nicodemus.  Not at all!

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) by Ray

What a privilege it was for Nicodemus to be the first listener to hear, what we now read in, John’s third chapter (John 3:1-9), including the everlastingly famous promise of John 3:16, spoken by Jesus Himself!  Later Nicodemus took a modest stand for Jesus (John 7:50-52), and in time Nicodemus had an official role in Christ’s burial (John 19:39-40) three days before Jesus rose triumphantly from the grave!

Even so, if one had the choice, why visit Christ, in secret, keeping a distance from Him in public, when the opportunity to belong to His “inner circle” is available?

Am I more like Peter or Nicodemus?  Maybe that question will come to mind next time you see a group of “inner circle” yellow-headed blackbirds, perching on cattails, as the “outer circle” of cattails hosts the red-winged blackbirds. And, if you like the idea of being in the Lord’s “inner circle”, you might sing this as a prayer:  “Just a closer walk with Thee…”

 

James J. S. Johnson, with his family, has repeatedly visited Wyoming’s Jackson Hole Visitor Center, in summer, to admire the yellow-headed and red-winged blackbirds that congregate on and among the pond-ringed cattails there. (And a very special thank-you to Lee for teaching me how to edit the typos in this blog.)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Australian King Parrot

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Australian King Parrot ~ Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 7-31-14

Mea culpa again for the long delay since the last bird of the week. The good news is that, apart from dotting a few i’s, my current obsession Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland is finished, so with luck you may get more frequent BotWs in the future. Here is an attractive and surprising omission from the BotW series, the Australian King Parrot. It’s one of the most spectacular Australian parrots and deserves the ‘King’ moniker. The French call it la Perruche royale.

King Parrot by Ian

King Parrot by Ian

 

It’s quite common along the eastern seaboard of Australia, with a preference for fairly dense coastal and highland forests including rainforest. That can make it hard to see but it’s quite vocal and the whistling call of the males is a very characteristic sound of eastern forest. It responds readily to being fed and can get quite tame. The one in the first photo was taken at O’Reilly’s in Lamington National Park, where the birds will perch on arms and shoulders and pose happily for photos. The males are distinguished from the females by the brilliant scarlet of the breast extending onto the head and having a conspicuou peppermint green blaze on the wings.

 

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Male by Ian

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Male by Ian

The females are gorgeous too with scarlet lower breast and belly, green heads and pinkish necks. The one in the second photo was busy exploring hollows in trees, but it was hard to imagine that she was contemplating nesting in May. Both sexes have blue backs, third photo, but this is usually hidden by the folded wings. The wing blaze may be missing or inconspicuous in females.

 

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Female WikiC

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Female WikiC

It’s usually just called the King Parrot in Australia and I used to wonder vaguely about the ‘Australian’ qualification. The reason for it is that is a Papuan one in New Guinea and a Moluccan one in western New Guinea and the islands of eastern Indonesia. Both these are rather similar to the Australian one, but smaller and differ mainly in the colour or lack of the blaze on the wings, and the amount of blue in the plumage.

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Male Closeup by Ian

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) Male Closeup by Ian

 

There are two races of the Australian species. The larger nominate race occurs along most of the east coast, while the smaller race minor (obviously) occurs in northeastern Queensland. The literature doesn’t say much about minor except that it’s smaller, and there’s disagreement in the field guides about how far south it occurs: choose between Cardwell, Townsville and Mackay. I suspect Townsville is correct as there a big gap between the Paluma Range population and the Eungella/Clark Range one near Mackay. Anyway, the male in photo 4 and the female in photo 5 were photographed on the Atherton Tableland and are certainly minor.

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) by Ian

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) by Ian

It seemed to me from the photos that I took there that the northern males had brighter and more extensive blue hind collars and the females had brighter wing-blazes than southern birds. My sample size was small, but it might be an interesting project to check out whether these differences are consistent and to establish the exact geographical ranges of the subspecies. In northeastern Queensland it is mainly a highland species, with some movement to the lowlands in winter and I have seen them very occasionally near where I live.

Links:
Australian King-Parrot (I should have put hyphens in the photo captions)
Red-winged Parrot

Anyway, back to dotting i’s. The next stage in the book is to check out publishing via Apple iBooks, Google Play, etc. That’s something I know nothing about, so it will be interesting to find out how it’s done.

Greetings

Ian<
**************************************************
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:

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 KJV)

What beautifully created Parrots! They are just fantastic. Also, I was beginning to worry about Ian. It has been over a month since his last newsletter, Plum-headed Finches.

These parrots are members of the Psittacidae – Parrots Family. There are approximately 365 members, depending on whose list. The greatest diversity of parrots is in South America and Australasia.

Checkout all of Ian’s Parrot photos (around 50 species)

King Parrot at Wikipedia

Psittacidae – Parrots Family

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Sunday Inspiration – “King” Birds

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zechariah 9:9 NKJV)

‘TELL THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, LOWLY, AND SITTING ON A DONKEY, A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY.’ ” (Matthew 21:5 NKJV)

Since writing about the Grey Kingbird last week, I have been thinking about birds that have “King” in their name. Here are some of the ones, plus many of the “King”fishers.

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Both our Choir with the Orchestra and the Hyssongs did great and I couldn’t decide so here are both of them.

“The King is Coming” – Faith Baptist Choir and Orchestra. Intro by Pastor Osborne

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (John 18:36-37 KJV)

“The King is Coming” – ©Hyssongs

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The Gospel Message

More Sunday Inspirations

Faith Baptist Church

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Plum-headed Finches

Plum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Plum-headed Finches ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 6-28-14

Bird of the week numbering has been a bit wonky lately, two #502s, no #503 to compensate, and two #504s and the one previous to this, Halls Babbler was #506 and should have been #507. Hopefully, we are back on track now with #508, the Plum-headed Finch. One of my favourite methods of bird photography is to relax by a water-hole in a comfortable camping chair and see what comes along. I did this at Bowra in April, and was treated to several pairs of Plum-headed Finches, presumably breeding as a result of rain several weeks earlier.

The ‘plum’ bit refers to the gorgeous cap, dark and extensive in the male, above, or paler and less extensive in the female, which has consequently space for a white eye-stripe. Males have black chins, females white ones. The specific modesta presumably refers to the understated colours, but I think the barred breast and flanks make them look very smart, and it’s always a pleasure to see them.

Plum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta) by Ian Fem

The genus Neochmia contains only three other species, all of them Australian: Star, Red-browed and Crimson Finches, and none barred, so the Plum-headed looks quite distinctive. In the past it has been placed in its own genus, but mitochondrial studies show that it’s quite closely related to both the Star and Red-browed Finches. lum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta) by Ian males

They have quite a widespread distribution in Queensland and New South Wales, but mainly inland and rather patchy. With an average length of 11cm/4.3in, they’re quite small. They’re popular as cage birds and used to be trapped a lot, but have been protected since 1972. Plum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta) by Ian male

The bird in the fourth photo was photographed in the light of the setting sun, hence the lovely glow. I’ve been on the road for a few days taking (almost) the last location photos for Where to Find Birds in Northeastern Queensland so I’ll keep this short. One more day trip along the inland route to Paluma, and that’s it.

Links to the other members of the tribe:

Red-browed Finch
Crimson Finch
Star Finch

Best wishes

Ian

**************************************************

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:

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. (Genesis 1:30 NKJV)

What a neat looking Finch, Ian. Thanks again for sharing with us. Plum-headed Finches belong to the Estrildidae – Waxbills, Munias & Allies Family which has 141 species.

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Ian’s Finches:

Other Links:

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More Good News Tracts

Sandhill Crane babies

Sandhill Crane babies

My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. (Proverbs 4:20-23 NKJV)

Nine more Good News Tract pages were added today. There are 31 altogether and they have not only the written text, but also audio.

I trust you can learn from them and/or use them to encourage others.

and sent Timothy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you concerning your faith, (1 Thessalonians 3:2 NKJV)

Below are links to the Various Tracts from Crossway with each having the words and an audio:

Good News! Did you know that christianaudio has produced the audio tracts for many of the most popular Crossway tracts? They are free for the taking and free to distribute. In fact, Crossway distributes more than 23 million every year. Written by Max Lucado, Billy Graham, Mark Driscoll, John Piper and others, they have simple and profound truths to help teach the Good News! There are 31 in an easy to download zip file. They are free for the taking in both audio and PDF and able to be shared without restriction.

To learn more about Good News Tracts, visit www.goodnewstracts.org.

 

More Good News Tracts

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Hall’s Babbler

Hall's Babbler (Pomatostomus halli) by IanHere is another of the Bowra specialties, Hall’s Babbler, which has a restricted range in dry scrubland in western Queensland north to about Winton and northwestern New South Wales south to about Brewarrina.

If you think it looks just like a White-browed Babbler, you won’t be surprised to hear that it was overlooked as a separate species until 1963 and was first described in 1964. It was named after Harold Hall who funded five controversial bird collecting Australian expeditions in the 1960s and the species was detected, and presumably ‘collected’, on the first of these. It’s larger than the White-browed, 23-25cm/9-10 in length versus 18-22cm/7-9in, is darker overall, has a shorter white bib abruptly shading into the dark belly and a much wider eyebrow. DNA studies suggest that it’s actually more closely related to the Grey-crowned Babbler. It’s voice is described pithily by Pizzey and Knight as ‘squeaky chatterings … lacks “yahoo” of Grey-crowned and madder staccato outbursts of White-browed’. Babblers are clearly birds of great character.

Hall's Babbler (Pomatostomus halli) by Ian

It’s quite common at Bowra in suitable habitat, mainly mulga scrub, and on this occasion we found a party of about 20. Like all Australasian babblers, they’re very social and move erratically through the scrub bouncing along the ground and up into bushes like tennis balls. They’re delightful to watch, and infuriating to photograph as the tangled, twiggy mulga plays havoc with automatic focus – no time for manual – and they keep ducking out of sight. You can be lucky and get ones, like the bird in the second photo, that hesitate briefly, between bounces, in the open to look for food. There had been some good rain a couple of months before our visit, and the birds had been breeding – the one in the third photo with the yellow gape is a juvenile.

Hall's Babbler (Pomatostomus halli) by Ian

Bowra is unusual in that it’s in a relatively small area where the ranges of all four Australian babblers overlap. The other restricted range species, the Chestnut-crowned is at the northern end of its range and also fairly easy to find, while the widespread more northern species, the Grey-crowned, meets the mainly southern White-browed.

I’ve had several emails recently from prominent birders commenting on the excellence of the digital version of Pizzey and Knight. Things they like particularly are the combination of both illustrations and photos (including over 1200 of mine), the great library of bird calls by Fred Van Gessel, portability (phone, tablet and PC), comprehensiveness – all of the more than 900 species recorded in Australia and its territories and ease of generating bird lists by location. The good news is that the price has been reduced to $49.95 and it comes in iPhone/iPad, Android and Windows versions. Go here http://www.gibbonmm.com.au for more information, product tours and links to the appropriate stores, and here http://www.birdway.com.au/meropidae/rainbowbeeeater/source/rainbow_bee_eater_15231.htm to see the photo of the Rainbow Bee-eater below.

Hall's Babbler (Pomatostomus halli) by Ian

My apologies for the delay since the last bird of the week. I’m having a major drive to finish Where to Find Birds in Northeastern Queensland and other things are getting pushed temporarily into the background.

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:

But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. (2 Timothy 2:16 NKJV)

Here is what a Hall’s Babbler sounds like:

Thanks again Ian for sharing another interesting bird from your part of the world.

Our Hall’s Babbler is a member of the Pomatostomidae – Australasian Babblers Family. There are only five species in the family.

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Hall’s Babbler – Wikipedia

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Pomatostomidae – Australasian Babblers Family

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Sunday Inspiration – Herons

Great Blue Heron by Dan

Great Blue Heron by Dan

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19 KJV)

Herons are a favorite bird species of mine. We see them frequently here in central Florida. One of their characteristics that impress me is their patience. It is common to see them standing almost still except for their neck swaying slowly back and forth.

Oh, that I had the patience like these Storks.

These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. (Psalms 104:27 KJV)

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalms 27:14 KJV)

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:3 KJV)

Herons belong to the  Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns Family and are a Bird of the Bible.

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“Peace Medley”  by Faith Baptist Choir

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Birds of the Bible – Maturing Eagle

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Jax Zoo by Lee

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) Maturing at Jax Zoo by Lee

Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psalms 103:1-5 KJV)

Last week at the Jacksonville Zoo, we saw this “rag-tag” Eagle. We found out that he is around five years old and has been going through his transition. They said that in the last two weeks he has really started to change. As you may know, Bald Eagles get their “bald” head when they mature. I have seen Eagles with an all black heads and the all white heads, but never in the process of maturing. I am glad that we were able to see him in this stage of his life.

Now for a much better photo by Dan:

Bald Eagle maturing at Jax Zoo by Dan

Bald Eagle maturing at Jax Zoo by Dan

Actually, it may be a “she.” I forgot to ask. Both male and females get the “bald” head after about five years of so.

The above verse, “so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” reminds of the Lord’s watch-care of the birds, but more importantly, over us. When I see this eagle, it reminds me of times when we mature as Christians. Sometimes we seem a little “rag-tag” in our development, but as we keep our eyes on the Lord, He helps us mature as we should.

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Jax Zoo by Lee

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) Jax Zoo by Lee

Here are some of the photos we took of the two eagles and a friendly Black-crowned Night-heron that was keeping them company. The Heron was wild and flew out later. These two Eagles were injured and can never return to the wild.

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Also:

Changed From the Inside Out

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Sunday Inspiration – Sunrise Gives A Big Surprise

Sunrise at Mayport 5-23-14

Sunrise at Mayport 5-23-14

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. (2 Samuel 23:4 KJV)

Friday, we were on the balcony of our room on Mayport Naval Station, Jacksonville. We were taking photos of the sunrise before packing up to come home.

As I took photos, I noticed a ship pretty far out heading in. Because it was early dawn, we couldn’t really see what it was and decided it was just a merchant ship coming in.

A ship way out coming in.

A ship way out coming in.

I kept photographing the sun rising and trying to catch some birds outlined. You know, like those real photographers do. Guess I better stick to birdwatching and leave the photography to those who know what they are doing.

Trying to catch a bird.

Trying to catch a bird.

As the ship came in, I started trying to catch it as it came under the rising sun. She gave 5 horn blasts, which Dan said, is a sign of an incoming Naval ship. I could not find her number on the bow. So I kept shooting.

Sunrise and USS New York at Mayport

Sunrise and the ship at Mayport

As were leaving the base to head home, we came by where the ships dock. There was that ship and then it “hit me,” That was the

USS New York!

Wow! Needless say, we stopped and took more photos of her tied up. Never thought I’d get a chance to see the USS New York, but there it was! It is special and this being Memorial Day weekend, it is even more special.

Now that we are home and I am viewing the photos on a monitor and not through the viewfinder, her number “21” is visible. Also,I found out that Mayport Naval Station is now the USS New York’s homeport as of last December.

Sunrise and USS New York at Mayport

Sunrise and USS New York at Mayport

This is not the usual “Sunday Inspiration,” but I want this to be a tribute to those who have served in the military and especially to those who have lost someone who served in the military. My father died as a result of his injuries sustain by “mustard gas.” It was years later, but it caused many problems.

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:18 KJV)

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4 KJV)

Lord Bless all of you as we remember not only the military, but also those who lost their lives in the “Twin Towers” on 9/11. You can see the two tall stacks representing the towers.

Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee. (Deuteronomy 32:7 KJV)

Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Corinthians 1:2-4 KJV)

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“Military Service Medley” – Faith Baptist Orchestra 7-3-11

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Gospel Message

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