Posts Tagged ‘Birdwatching’

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.


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.


Ian’s Bird of the Week

Charadriidae – Plovers Family


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Palm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum) yellow by Lee

Palm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum) yellow by Lee

And ye shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees,branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and ye shall rejoice before the LORD your God seven days. (Leviticus 23:40 KJV) [Foretold]

The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out: “Hosanna! ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’ The King of Israel!” Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written: “FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SITTING ON A DONKEY’S COLT.” (John 12:12-15 NKJV) [Fulfilled]

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Hosanna (Messiah Has Come) and Messiah – (Solo by Lisa Brock) from the Easter Musical 2013 by Faith Baptist Choir.


(I pushed the photos a little bit by including the Semipalmated Plover and Sandpiper)


More Sunday Inspirations

Gospel Presentation

Formed By Him – “Palm” Birds



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(This was sent to me in an e-mail and thought I would share it. It’s been around awhile, but is new to me. Also, below is a video of the two of them.)

An Eagle Kiss

As an eagle stirs up its nest, Hovers over its young, Spreading out its wings, taking them up, Carrying them on its wings, (Deuteronomy 32:11 NKJV)

This is the kind of story you need when it seems like the world is spiraling out of control.. Not many people get a picture of this proud bird snuggled up next to them!

Freedom and Jeff

Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer.  She came in as a baby in 1998 with two broken wings.  Her left wing doesn’t open all the way even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places. She’s my baby.

When Freedom came in, she could not stand and both wings were broken. She was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vet’s office. From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in.

I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes. We also had to tube feed her for weeks. This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by then she still couldn’t stand. It got to the point where the decision was made to euthanize her if she couldn’t stand in a week. You know you don’t want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death was winning.

She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in on that Thursday afternoon. I didn’t want to go to the center that Thursday, because I couldn’t bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then.

That was a very good day. We knew she could never fly, so the director asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western Washington. We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.

In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I had stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair – the whole bit. I missed a lot of work.

When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the cancer. This happened time and time again.

Fast forward to November 2000.  The day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last checkup.  I was told that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to come back Monday for the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that all the cancer was gone.

So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up, and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn’t said a word to Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped both her wings around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don’t know how long.

That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in. This is a very special bird.

On a side note:  I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was terminal come up to us and I let him hold her.  His knees just about buckled and he swore he could feel her power course through his body. I have so many stories like that.

I never forget the honor I have of being so close to such a magnificent spirit as Freedom.

Hope you enjoyed this!



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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)


More Sunday Inspiration


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