Sunday Inspiration – Whipbirds, Wattle-eyes and Allies

As you have been viewing the Sunday Inspirations lately, we have been going through the Passerines or Passerfiormes Order in taxonomic order. So far, I have shown you 30 families, which makes us almost a forth of the way through the 125 Passerine families.

Today’s families are the Psophodidae – Whipbirds, Jewel-babblers, Quail-thrushes Family with 16 members and the Platysteiridae – Wattle-eyes, Batises Family with 33 species.

Whipbirds, Jewel-babblers, Quail-thrushes that make up the Psophodidae family are native to Australia and nearby areas. They occur in forest, generally replacing each other at different altitudes. The painted quail-thrush is also found in the forests of New Guinea.The other quail-thrushes are restricted to Australia where they are found in drier habitats, occurring in open forest, scrub and on stony ground.[8] None of the species are thought to be threatened but one subspecies of the spotted quail-thrush is possibly extinct.

The whipbirds and wedgebills are all found in Australia, occurring in a range of habitats from rainforest to arid scrub. The western whipbird is considered to be near-threatened because of habitat loss and fires while the Papuan whipbird is classed as data deficient..

They are terrestrial birds which fly fairly weakly and prefer to squat or run when disturbed. They forage on the ground feeding mainly on insects and other invertebrates.[9] In the desert, quail-thrushes also eat some seeds. They build a cup-shaped nest among shrubs or on the ground. Two or three eggs are laid.

Eastern Whipbird (Psophodes olivaceus) by Ian

Eastern Whipbird (Psophodes olivaceus) by Ian

Here is the song of the Eastern Whipbird. It sounds like someone snapping a whip.

Brown-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteira cyanea) ©WikiC

Brown-throated Wattle-eye (Platysteira cyanea) Male ©WikiC

The Platysteiridae Wattle-eyes, Batises Family are a favorite of mine because of their eyes. They are a family of small stout birds living in trees, primarily of the woodlands and forests of sub-Saharan Africa. The family contains the wattle-eyes, batises and shrike-flycatchers. They were previously classed as a subfamily of the Old World flycatcher family Muscicapidae.

These insect-eating birds are found in usually open forests or bush. They hunt by flycatching, or by taking prey from the ground like a shrike. The nest is a small neat cup low in a tree or bush. The most important component of the diet of all species is insects, although spiders, millipedes and scorpions are also taken, and there are even records of small lizards being consumed.

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For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths. (Proverbs 5:21 NKJV)

My son, give me your heart, And let your eyes observe my ways. (Proverbs 23:26 NKJV)

The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live. (Psalms 69:32 NKJV)

Listen to Sean play as you watch these two beautifully created families of birds:

” Be Thou My Vision and Battle Hymn of the Republic” ~ played by Sean Fielder

Sunday Inspirations

Passeriformes Birds so far:

Birds of the World

Cinclosomatidae or Psophodidae Family – Wikipedia

Platysteiridae – Wattle-eye – Wikipedia

Good News

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Collared Sparrowhawk

Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Brown Sparrowhawk ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 4/17/15

I sent the previous post by mistake when I was working on the ebook version of the birds of the week this afternoon. This was actually bird of the week in May 2009, and then I thought it was a Brown Goshawk until a raptor expert recently pointed out the error of my ways with these photos on the website.

I’m making good progress with the ebook. It’s getting quite large, so I’m going to publish it two volumes. The first will be 2002 to 2009. I’ll keep you posted on progress. I think I’m going to call it ‘Diary of a Bird Photographer‘ as it reads like a (weekly) diary.

Anyway, here is the full, corrected posting, six years late!

*Note: this was originally posted as a Brown Goshawk, but the bird is actually a Collared Sparrowhawk. Please accept my apologies.

I’m still sorting through the photos that I took at Gluepot last month. One surprising visitor to the watering point near the hide was a Collared Sparrowhawk that came in to drink and bathe. She (it was rather large) spent nearly half an hour at the tank and bathed several times. Naturally, all the other traffic at the watering point came to a standstill, though I was amused to see a flock of Brown Honeyeaters becoming increasingly restless and approaching much closer than I would have expected. Eventually, she vanished as swiftly as she had appeared and things returned to normal.
Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) by Ian
The Sparrowhawk seemed very wary, particularly when preparing to bathe and looked around repeatedly as if making sure the coast was clear. It was almost as if the Queen of the Forest couldn’t be seen to be doing her toilet in public and she certainly looked very undignified both when bathing, second photo, and when she emerged wet and bedraggled from the water, third photo. I was impressed by how soft and owl-like the feathers were – the original stealth attack aircraft, I suppose.
Collared Sparrowhawk (Accipiter cirrocephalus) by Ian
Collared Sparrowhawks are smallish hawks,30-40cm/12-16in long, with a wingspan to 70cm/28in. As with many birds of prey, the females are larger and this is thought to be to protect the nestlings from the males in a weak moment. The Collared Sparrowhawk is widespread in all except the driest areas of Australia and New Guinea and because of its furtive behaviour and confusion with the similar Brown Goshawk, is probably commoner than might be supposed.

Recent updates* to the website include new galleries for the Australo-PapuanTreecreepers (), additional photos of various Honeyeaters, Wedge-tailed Eagle and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

*recent in 2009, but the links are still valid.

**************************************************
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/
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland: iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south? Doth the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high? She dwelleth and abideth on the rock, upon the crag of the rock, and the strong place. From thence she seeketh the prey, and her eyes behold afar off. (Job 39:26-29 KJV)

Another neat bird he has introduced us to, even though it is apparently six years late. Ian gave his permission and I started doing his newsletter in July of 2009. That Brown Goshawk (was dated in May 2009, so it was never written up) I did go back and catch some of his older newsletters as you can see from the list.

Wow! Has it been 6 years? Ian, thank you for that permission. With his newsletter and photograph usage, Ian has been a large input for this blog.

See:

Ian’s Bird of the Week (list of newsletters)

Ian’s Honeyeaters, Wedge-tailed Eagle and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

Ian’s Accipitridae Family

Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks, Eagles Family

Collared Sparrowhawk – Wikipedia

Collared Sparrowhawk – Birds in Backyards

Collared Sparrowhawk – Avian Web

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More of the Blackbird Family – Chapter 13

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

More of the Blackbird Family

The Orchard Oriole and the Bobolink.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

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CHAPTER 13. More of the Blackbird Family.

Peter Rabbit was dozing. Yes, sir, Peter was dozing. He didn’t mean to doze, but whenever Peter sits still for a long time and tries to think, he is pretty sure to go to sleep. By and by he wakened with a start. At first he didn’t know what had wakened him, but as he sat there blinking his eyes, he heard a few rich notes from the top of the nearest apple-tree. “It’s Goldy the Oriole,” thought Peter, and peeped out to see.

But though he looked and looked he couldn’t see Goldy anywhere, but he did see a stranger. It was some one of about Goldy’s size and shape. In fact he was so like Goldy, but for the color of his suit, that at first Peter almost thought Goldy had somehow changed his clothes. Of course he knew that this couldn’t be, but it seemed as if it must be, for the song the stranger was singing was something like that of Goldy. The stranger’s head and throat and back were black, just like Goldy’s, and his wings were trimmed with white in just the same way. But the rest of his suit, instead of being the beautiful orange of which Goldy is so proud, was a beautiful chestnut color.

Peter blinked and stared very hard. “Now who can this be?” said he, speaking aloud without thinking.

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) ©WikiC

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) ©WikiC

“Don’t you know him?” asked a sharp voice so close to Peter that it made him jump. Peter whirled around. There sat Striped Chipmunk grinning at him from the top of the old stone wall. “That’s Weaver the Orchard Oriole,” Striped Chipmunk rattled on. “If you don’t know him you ought to, because he is one of the very nicest persons in the Old Orchard. I just love to hear him sing.”

“Is—is—he related to Goldy?” asked Peter somewhat doubtfully.

“Of course,” retorted Striped Chipmunk. “I shouldn’t think you would have to look at him more than once to know that. He’s first cousin to Goldy. There comes Mrs. Weaver. I do hope they’ve decided to build in the Old Orchard this year.”

“I’m glad you told me who she is because I never would have guessed it,” confessed Peter as he studied the newcomer. She did not look at all like Weaver. She was dressed in olive-green and dull yellow, with white markings on her wings.

Peter couldn’t help thinking how much easier it must be for her than for her handsome husband to hide among the green leaves.

As he watched she flew down to the ground and picked up a long piece of grass. “They are building here, as sure as you live!” cried Striped Chipmunk. “I’m glad of that. Did you ever see their nest, Peter? Of course you haven’t, because you said you had never seen them before. Their nest is a wonder, Peter. It really is. It is made almost wholly of fine grass and they weave it together in the most wonderful way.”

“Do they have a hanging nest like Goldy’s?” asked Peter a bit timidly.

 Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) Nest ©HenryTMcLin Flickr

Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius) Nest ©HenryTMcLin Flickr

“Not such a deep one,” replied Striped Chipmunk. “They hang it between the twigs near the end of a branch, but they bind it more closely to the branch and it isn’t deep enough to swing as Goldy’s does.”

Peter had just opened his mouth to ask another question when there was a loud sniffing sound farther up along the old stone wall. He didn’t wait to hear it again. He knew that Bowser the Hound was coming.

“Good-by, Striped Chipmunk! This is no place for me,” whispered Peter and started for the dear Old Briar-patch. He was in such a hurry to get there that on his way across the Green Meadows he almost ran into Jimmy Skunk before he saw him.

“What’s your hurry, Peter?” demanded Jimmy

“Bowser the Hound almost found me up in the Old Orchard,” panted Peter. “It’s a wonder he hasn’t found my tracks. I expect he will any minute. I’m glad to see you, Jimmy, but I guess I’d better be moving along.”

“Don’t be in such a hurry, Peter. Don’t be in such a hurry,” replied Jimmy, who himself never hurries. “Stop and talk a bit. That old nuisance won’t bother you as long as you are with me.”

Peter hesitated. He wanted to gossip, but he still felt nervous about Bowser the Hound. However, as he heard nothing of Bowser’s great voice, telling all the world that he had found Peter’s tracks, he decided to stop a few minutes. “What are you doing down here on the Green Meadows?” he demanded.

Jimmy grinned. “I’m looking for grasshoppers and grubs, if you must know,” said he. “And I’ve just got a notion I may find some fresh eggs. I don’t often eat them, but once in a while one tastes good.”

“If you ask me, it’s a funny place to be looking for eggs down here on the Green Meadows,” replied Peter. “When I want a thing; I look for it where it is likely to be found.”

“Just so, Peter; just so,” retorted Jimmy Skunk, nodding his head with approval. “That’s why I am here.”

Peter looked puzzled. He was puzzled. But before he could ask another question a rollicking song caused both of them to look up. There on quivering wings in mid-air was the singer. He was dressed very much like Jimmy Skunk himself, in black and white, save that in places the white had a tinge of yellow, especially on the back of his neck. It was Bubbling Bob the Bobolink. And how he did sing! It seemed as if the notes fairly tumbled over each other.

Bubbling Bob the Bobolink - Burgess Bird Book ©©

Bubbling Bob the Bobolink – Burgess Bird Book ©©

Jimmy Skunk raised himself on his hind-legs a little to see just where Bubbling Bob dropped down in the grass. Then Jimmy began to move in that direction. Suddenly Peter understood. He remembered that Bubbling Bob’s nest is always on the ground. It was his eggs that Jimmy Skunk was looking for.

“You don’t happen to have seen Mrs. Bob anywhere around here, do you, Peter?” asked Jimmy, trying to speak carelessly.

“No,” replied Peter. “If I had I wouldn’t tell you where. You ought to be ashamed, Jimmy Skunk, to think of robbing such a beautiful singer as Bubbling Bob.”

“Pooh!” retorted Jimmy. “What’s the harm? If I find those eggs he and Mrs. Bob could simply build another nest and lay some more. They won’t be any the worse off, and I will have had a good breakfast.”

“But think of all the work they would have to do to build another nest,” replied Peter.

“I should worry,” retorted Jimmy Skunk. “Any one who can spend so much time singing can afford to do a little extra work.”

“You’re horrid, Jimmy Skunk. You’re just horrid,” said Peter. “I hope you won’t find a single egg, so there!”

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

With this, Peter once more headed for the dear Old Briar-patch, while Jimmy Skunk continued toward the place where Bubbling Bob had disappeared in the long grass. Peter went only a short distance and then sat up to watch Jimmy Skunk. Just before Jimmy reached the place where Bubbling Bob had disappeared, the latter mounted into the air again, pouring out his rollicking song as if there were no room in his heart for anything but happiness. Then he saw Jimmy Shrunk and became very much excited. He flew down in the grass a little farther on and then up again, and began to scold.

It looked very much as if he had gone down in the grass to warn Mrs. Bob. Evidently Jimmy thought so, for he at once headed that way. When Bubbling Bob did the same thing all over again. Peter grew anxious. He knew just how patient Jimmy Skunk could be, and he very much feared that Jimmy would find that nest. Presently he grew tired of watching and started on for the dear Old Briar-patch. Just before he reached it a brown bird, who reminded him somewhat of Mrs. Redwing and Sally Sly the Cowbird, though she was smaller, ran across the path in front of him and then flew up to the top of a last year’s mullein stalk. It was Mrs. Bobolink. Peter knew her well, for he and she were very good friends.

“Oh!” cried Peter. “What are you doing here? Don’t you know that Jimmy Skunk, is hunting for your nest over there? Aren’t you worried to death? I would be if I were in your place.”

Mrs. Bob chuckled. “Isn’t he a dear? And isn’t he smart?” said she, meaning Bubbling Bob, of course, and not Jimmy Skunk. “Just see him lead that black-and-white robber away.”

Peter stared at her for a full minute. “Do you mean to say,” said he “that your nest isn’t over there at all?”

Bobolink Nest ©Flickr Mike Allen

Bobolink Nest ©Flickr Mike Allen

Mrs. Bob chuckled harder than ever. “Of course it isn’t over there,” said she.

“Then where is it?” demanded Peter.

That’s telling,” replied Mrs. Bob. “It isn’t over there, and it isn’t anywhere near there. But where it is is Bob’s secret and mine, and we mean to keep it. Now I must go get something to eat,” and with a hasty farewell Mrs. Bobolink flew over to the other side of the dear Old Briar-patch.

Peter remembered that he had seen Mrs. Bob running along the ground before she flew up to the old mullein stalk. He went back to the spot where he had first seen her and hunted all around in the grass, but without success. You see, Mrs. Bobolink had been quite as clever in fooling Peter as Bubbling Bob had been in fooling Jimmy Skunk.

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalms 91:1-2 NKJV)

He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; therefore associate not with him who talks too freely. [Rom. 16:17, 18.] (Proverbs 20:19 AMP)

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Listen to the story read.

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  • What was Peter Rabbit doing when he heard singing?
  • Can you tell what the Orchard Oriole looks like?
  • What does their nest look like?
  • Who was Peter afraid my find him?
  • Who told Peter not to worry as long as he was with him? Why?
  • What was Jimmy looking for?
  • What was Bubbling Bob doing to Jimmy Skunk?
  • Are we suppose to tell secrets?

Links:

Wordless Book
Links:

Bubbling Bob the Bobolink - Burgess Bird Book ©©

 

  Next Chapter (Bob White and Carol the Meadow Lark. Coming Soon)

 

 

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

  Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

Savannah Sparrow by Ray Barlow

  

 

  Wordless Birds

 

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black-faced Monarch

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black-faced Monarch ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 4/15/15

On the way to Orbost in East Gippsland in March on the great owl hunt, we stopped for a break at Fairy Dell Nature Reserve between Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance. This has a lovely walk through temperate rainforest along a creek with plenty of interesting birds – we saw our first Lyrebird of the weekend here. We also found this Black-faced Monarch showing its black face to great advantage through the fronds of a tree fern.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) by Ian

Black-faced Monarchs are usually inconspicuous solitary inhabitants of dense forest and are best located by their calls, the most distinctive of which is a vibrant fluty call, rendered by Pizzey and Knight as ‘Why-you, which-you’. Here they search for insects, sometimes making sallies after flying insects when they are easier to spot. The combination of grey back and wings, black face and rich, rufous underparts is striking, though the rufous breast is best seen in the gloom of the forest using a flash, as in the second photo taken in the highlands of Northeastern Queensland. These two photos encompass most of the breeding range of this species along the east coast of Australia from Melbourne to Cape York.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) by Ian

These birds are resident in the highlands of Northeastern Queensland but breeding summer visitors to areas farther south. In winter many migrate to southern and eastern New Guinea, and some immature birds spend their first summer there. In the lowlands of Northeastern Queensland, around Townsville for example, we see them only as passage migrants in March-April and September-October and I saw one last week along Bluewater Creek near the house, reminding me that autumn is here. The bird in the third photo is an immature one photographed on the creek ten years ago. Juvenile lack the black face, have brownish wings and dark bills with a pinkish edge to the base of the lower mandible – which you can just see in this photo.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) juvenile by Ian

Black-faced Monarch build beautiful, conical nests wedged into the fork of a shrub or sapling in moist gullies. This is constructed of fibrous plant material, including ferns and moss, glued together using gossamer from spiders’ webs as in the fourth photo.

Black-faced Monarch (Monarcha melanopsis) Nest by Ian

Autumn here means warm, clear sunny days and (relatively) cool nights with low humidity, very welcome after the wet season and my favourite time of the year. The wet usually leaves a legacy of lush green grassland and forest, though this year it has been fairly dry with good rain only in January. The Dollarbirds have left for the winter and the forests and gardens are rather silent without the loud calls of the Koels and Channel-billed Cuckoos, leaving just the Blue-winged Kookaburras and Bar-shouldered Doves to fill the gap.

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/
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland:  iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall surely let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days”. (Deuteronomy 22:6-7 NKJV)

What a nice looking bird, Ian. That breast color reminds me of our American Robin’s outfit. Thanks again for sharing so many birds with us over the weeks. With over 10,000 of the Lord’s avian creations flying around, you nor I will ever cover them all.

Here is the Black-faced Monarch’s call from xeno-canto:

You can see Ian’s Monarch family photos at Monarch Flycatchers & Allies [Family: Monarchidae]
Monarchidae – Monarchs Family

Black-faced Monarch –  Wikipedia
Black-faced Monarch – Birds in Backyards
Black-faced Monarch – New Zealand Birds Online

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Boat-billed Heron at Lowry Park Zoo

Boat-billed Heron Lowry Park Zoo by Dan

Boat-billed Heron Lowry Park Zoo by Dan

For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills or upon the mountains where thousands are. I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind. (Psalms 50:10-11 AMP)

We went to Lowry Park Zoo recently because they opened up early for a special event for the kids. We headed to the aviary to get there while they were feeding the birds. Usually, that happens before the zoo opens. Besides that, most people were at the event and we had the aviary to us and the birds. Yeah!

One of my favorite birds in there is the Boat-billed Heron. I think they are just cute. Two of them like to sit just above or to the side of the walkway. (In fact, one of them managed to plaster Dan and his camera on a previous visit. Yuk!) This time they behaved and was able to shoot a video right up under one of my avian friends. They are adorable, to me.

Here is the video I took of our friendly Boat-bill Heron (of course my mouth was running in amazement) :

We have had other articles on this bird, but just had to share this latest Birdwatching Adventure.

Who Paints The Leaves?

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“Flag That Bird!” (Part 2)

“Flag that bird!”  (Part 2)

And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi [i.e., the LORD is my banner]. (Exodus 17:15)

In Flag that Bird! (Part 1)”, we considered 4 “banner birds”  –  besides globally popular eagles  –  that appear on national flags:  Belgium’s Wallonian Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus); Portugal’s Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis); Burma’s Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus); and Dominica’s Sisserou Parrot (Amazona imperialis).

As promised, this mini-series will continue with more “flagged birds”, namely, British Antarctic Territory (penguin);  Saint Helena, British crown colony in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean (Saint Helena Plover, a/k/a “wirebird”);  Kiribati (frigatebird);  Papua New Guinea (bird of paradise);  Fiji, as well as the royal standard of Tonga (dove);  Australian state of Western Australia (black swan);  Australian state of South Australia (white piping shrike);  Bolivia (condor);  and Uganda (crested crane).

In this particular installment, 2 more (of those just listed) will be introduced.

So now, consider the penguin – avian icon of the British Antarctic Territory.

 

Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) ©WikiC

 

Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri).  There are a variety of penguins that live in the Antarctic regions, yet it is the Emperor Penguin featured on the official coat-of-arms of the British Antarctic Territory, and that coat-of-arms is what appears on the territory’s official flag, next to the Union Jack (on a white background).

British Antarctic Territory - Union Jack with Emperor Penguin ©PD

British Antarctic Territory – Union Jack with Emperor Penguin ©PD

The British explorers of the Antarctic regions include Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, who led their research ship RRS Discovery, a symbol of which ship appears on the heraldic crest of that territory’s coat-of-arms.

Captain Scott’s second expedition to explore Antarctica, during January of AD1912, was disappointing for two reasons: (1) Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian exploration party had just “beat” the Brits to the South Pole, on 14 December of AD1911; and (2) Scott’s expedition party died in the wild weather of Antarctica near the end of March that year, on the Ross Ice Shelf, about 150 miles from their base camp.

Of interest to Biblical creationists, Captain Scott collected about 35 pounds of plant fossils in Antarctica, proving that Antarctica was previously forested (obviously under milder climate conditions!).  Regarding the importance of forests in Antarctica, see Buddy Davis’s article “Forest in Antarctica After the Flood?”, citing National Science Foundation Press Release (8-4-2008), “Antarctic Fossils Paint a Picture of a Much Warmer Continent”.

Ironically, the research venture was intended to support Darwin’s theory of evolution, but the evidence refused to cooperate!  This surprise (to the evolutionists) is summarized by a BBC reporter, Megan Lane (in BBC News magazine, 2 November, 2011), as follows: “Of the 2,000 specimens of animals collected by Scott and his team – 400 of which were newly discovered – the jewel in the crown was a trio of Emperor penguin eggs.  It was hoped [by Darwinism supporters] that these would provide long-awaited proof of Darwin’s theory of evolution.  At the time, it was thought [by evolutionists that] an embryo passed through all [“phylogenetic”] stages of its species’ evolution as it developed.  And as the [British evolutionists] assumed the flightless Emperor penguin to be the world’s most primitive bird, they hoped the embryos in these eggs would show the link between dinosaurs and birds.  The birds had been seen before, but never with their eggs.  ‘It was the greatest [sic] biological quest of its day,’ says polar historian David Wilson, whose great-uncle, Edward Wilson, was Scott’s naturalist. ‘Then they collected the eggs, and all the theories turned out to be wrong’.”  [Quoting BBC’s Megan Lane.]  Amazingly, the “dinosaur-morphs-into-modern-birds” fairy tale is still being fabricated today, through science fiction movies (like Jurassic Park) and via dinosaur DNA evidence spoliation.  [Regarding how dinosaur DNA evidence is being censored, in academic/research circles, to avoid spoiling evolutionist mythology, see the multi-authored ICR article posted at www.icr.org/article/4947 .]

The next bird on this list is the Saint Helena Plover, locally nicknamed the “wirebird” (due to its wiry-thin legs).

St. Helena Plover (Charadrius sanctaehelenae) ©WikiC

St. Helena Plover (Charadrius sanctaehelenae) ©WikiC

Saint Helena Plover (Charadrius sanctaehelenae).

The Saint Helena Plover appears on the flag of Saint Helena, as well as on that small nation’s official coat-of-arms.  The plover is Saint Helena’s national bird as well.  Saint Helena is an island territory  —   in the South Atlantic Ocean (about midway between South America’s Brazil and Africa’s Angola) — administered by the United Kingdom, having been formally claimed by Great Britain when Oliver Cromwell (in AD1657) granted a charter to the East India Company, to settle the South Atlantic island.  Politically speaking, Saint Helena is grouped with Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, as a British overseas territory (formerly known as “Saint Helena and Dependencies”).

Flag of Saint Helena with Saint Henea Plover ©PD

Flag of Saint Helena with Saint Henea Plover ©PD

This little plover is a year-round resident, endemic to this island (although it is similar to other plovers).  This endemic invertebrate-consuming landbird is a small “wader”’, i.e., a shorebird capable of wading in coastal tidewaters, yet it mostly habituates other open areas of the island, such as pasture-like grasslands.  Its eggs are mostly light-brown in color, with dark-speckled mottling.  Its populations are declining, according to monitoring (which includes motion-sensor ultraviolet cameras positioned near nesting grounds), apparently due to predation (by rodents or feral cats) or due to other kinds of nest disturbances (such as sheep that step on plover nests). Conservation efforts are underway, in hopes of restoring the population growth of this island’s humble symbol.

Stay tuned!  God willing, the next installment in this mini-series will cover more of these “banner birds”, now that a penguin and a plover – both of which birds live only in the Southern Hemisphere, are properly “flagged” and accounted for.

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“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 1)

More Articles by James J. S. Johnson

Orni-Theology

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Sunday Inspiration – Variety II

We have come to some Passerine Families that only have a few members in them. You will get to see quite a few families in order to have enough birds to make a slideshow. As you know, the Lord loves variety and He gives us each different talents to use for His service. Sometimes many can do the same thing, but there are times when only a few can do a certain task. So it is with our Avian Friends today. They each have their niches to fill.

 Australian Logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii) by Tom Tarrant

Australian Logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii) by Tom Tarrant

Orthonychidae – Logrunners – The logrunners (Orthonyx) are a clade of birds which comprises three species of passerine birds endemic to Australia and New Guinea. Some authorities consider the Australian family Cinclosomatidae to be part of the Orthonychidae. The three species use their stiffened tails to brace themselves when feeding.

Crested Satinbird ©Jerry Oldenettel

Crested Satinbird ©Jerry Oldenettel

Cnemophilidae – Satinbirds – The satinbirds or Cnemophilines, Cnemophilidae are a group of passerine birds which consists of three species found in the mountain forests of New Guinea. They were originally thought to be part of the birds of paradise family Paradisaeidae until genetic research suggested that the birds are not closely related to birds of paradise at all and are perhaps closer to Melanocharitidae. The current evidence suggests that their closest relatives may be the cuckoo-shrikes [Campephagidae

Obscure Berrypecker (Melanocharis arfakiana) CC maholyoak

Obscure Berrypecker (Melanocharis arfakiana) CC maholyoak

Melanocharitidae – Berrypeckers, longbills The Melanocharitidae, the berrypeckers and longbills, is a small bird family restricted to the forests of New Guinea. The family contains ten species in four (sometimes three) genera. They are small songbirds with generally dull plumage but a range of body shapes.

Crested Berrypecker (Paramythia montium) ©WikiC

Crested Berrypecker (Paramythia montium) ©WikiC

Paramythiidae – Painted Berrypeckers – The painted berrypeckers, Paramythiidae, are a very small bird family restricted to the mountain forests of New Guinea. The family comprises two species in two genera: the Tit Berrypecker (Oreocharis arfaki) and the Crested Berrypecker (Paramythia montium).

South Island Kokako (Callaeas cinereus) ©Wiki

South Island Kokako (Callaeas cinereus) ©Wiki

Callaeidae – New Zealand Wattlebirds – The small bird family Callaeidae (also named in some sources as Callaeatidae) is endemic to New Zealand. It contains three monotypic genera; of the three species in the family, only two survive and both of them, the Kokako and the Saddleback, are endangered species, threatened primarily by the predations of introduced mammalian species such as rats, mustelids and possums. A third, the Huia became extinct early in the 20th century.

Stitchbird (Notiomystis cincta) by Tom Tarrant

Stitchbird (Notiomystis cincta) by Tom Tarrant

Notiomystidae – Stitchbird – The Stitchbird or Hihi (Notiomystis cincta) is a rare honeyeater-like bird endemic to the North Island and adjacent offshore islands of New Zealand. It became extirpated everywhere except Little Barrier Island but has been reintroduced to three other island sanctuaries and two locations on the North Island mainland. Their relationships have long puzzled ornithologists, but it is now classed as the only member of its own family, the Notiomystidae.

(Family notes from Wikipedia, with editing)
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“Just A Little Talk With Jesus” – Vegter Six – Together for Vi’s 90th Birthday (This was sung by some of Vi’s children and grandchildren. They had 11 children and lots and lots of grandchildren and greats, almost all of them active in church.)

Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1 NKJV)

For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
(1 Peter 3:12 KJV)

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(Personal note – As many of you know I spent a week in the hospital recently, for which I am thankful for your prayers for me. On that Sunday afternoon, after Dan had left, I used my Kindle or Ipad to go to my blog. I brought up the page for the all the Sunday Inspirations. I started going through them watching the bird slideshows while listening to the music. Oh, what a blessing I had watching the Lord’s Creations and listening to music about Him. I never knew when those were put together, that they in turn would be such a blessing and peaceful to me. My prayer is that when you are in need of some encouragement or just a blessing, that those blogs will bless you as much as they did me. Our Lord loves to give us peace in the midst of our problems.)

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Sunday Inspirations

Birds of the World

Good News

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Videos From Gatorland

Great Egret by Dan at Gatorland (3)Below is a combination of ten short videos from Gatorland. There are several of the Great Egrets on the nest, and one Great Egret displaying. There were three Snowy Egrets youngsters in a nest and other happenings along the boardwalk.

There is also a video of the Flamingo and Parrot areas. Then you will see two gators that I was watching that kept trying to get into position to see each other “eye to eye.” They seem to be sweet on each other. (my interpretation)

You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You. (Nehemiah 9:6 NKJV)

Here are also some of the photos taken by Dan that Day:

We trust you enjoy the photos and video. This is just a few of the photos taken.

See:

Wordless Birds

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Baby Snowy Egrets at Gatorland

Snowy Egret in Nest by Lee

Snowy Egret in Nest by Lee

While walking around the rookery at Gatorland, we were able to view some Snowy Egrets at their nest. Dad was watching from above while mom was tending to the two baby “Snowies”.

Snowy Egret Dat at Nest by Lee

Snowy Egret Dat at Nest by Lee

Mom was keeping an eye on the little ones. (This is from my perspective – I could just see the tops of their heads)

Snowy Egret in Nest with babies by Lee

Snowy Egret in Nest with babies by Lee

Dan came along and I handed him my camera (to get a better view-he’s taller) Here is one of the babies on his camera:

Snowy Egret Baby by Dan

Snowy Egret Baby by Dan

and these are the ones we took with my camera and those with his:

As you view the chicks you will notice there is still an egg in there. That makes me think that these little “snowies” are maybe one or two days old at maximum.

Snowy Egrets are Birds of the Bible in the Heron family Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns  and are on the “do not eat” list. Who would want to eat these cuties?

the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19 NKJV)

the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 NKJV)

We also shot some video to share with you. The first part is by me and a photographer was beside me shooting in “burst” mode. Then Dan shot the second part and you can see in the nest better. – I’m short :)

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Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Gatorland, FL

Sharing The Gospel

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“Flag That Bird!” (Part 1)

“Flag That Bird!”  (Part 1)

We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners; may the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.   (Psalms 20:5 — numbered as 20:6 in Hebrew Bible)

“Flags” and “banners” herald symbolic messages and institutions, such as a nationality, a dynasty, a military force, or some other kind of organization.  In holy Scripture, the term “flag” (in the KJV) refers to riparian or lacustrine wetland plants, which somewhat resemble banners in their physical appearance (see Job 8:11; Exodus 2:3,5; Isaiah 19:6). The term “banner” denotes the word “flag” as it is commonly used today (see Exodus 17:15; Song of Solomon 2:4 & 6:4,10; Psalms 20:5 & 60:4; Isaiah 13:2).

Bald Eagle and a flag

Whenever birds are featured on a national flag (or on its “armorial banner” version, or on a national province or department), the odds heavily favor the banner-bird being an eagle.   Flags affiliated with American showcase the bald eagle; other nations usually present a golden eagle, like Mexico, or sometimes a mythical “double-headed” eagle, like Mount Athos.

ag of Mexico ©WikiC

flag of Mexico ©WikiC

Consider  –  for just a few representative examples  –  the eagles that appear on the flags  –  some present, some past  —  of these national and state/provincial flags:  Albania;  American Samoa;  Austria (armorial flag);  Brandenburg, Germany;  Ecuador (armorial banner);  Egypt;  Geneva, Switzerland;  Germany (armorial flag );  Iowa;  Italian president’s flag (AD1880-AD1946);  Jordan (armorial banner);  Mexico;  North Dakota;  Oregon (front side of state flag);  Pennsylvania;  Poland (armorial flag);  Prussia (armorial banner, AD1819-AD1850); (Moldova;  Mount Athos (autonomous Greek protectorate);  Russian Czar’s banner (1th century A.D.);  Serbia (during AD1882-AD1918); Silesia (until absorption by Prussia in AD1742 – parts of Silesia now lay within Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic);  United States Coast Guard and Marine Corps;  Utah;  Virgin Islands (of the USA);  Zambia; etc.

So what about the other birds?  Do any other birds get to show off their plumage on a national flag?  Yes, but just a select few.  Although this listing is likely incomplete (and it will be presented as a mini-series, God willing), herebelow are some non-eagle birds that appear on the official flags of some countries of the world.

For starters, consider the common – yet ubiquitously valuable – Chicken.

Gallic Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) ©WikiC

Gallic Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus) ©WikiC

Gallic Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus).

The Gallic Chicken appears on the flag of Wallonia, Belgium.

Wallonia is a region of Belgium, where French is the language usually spoken.  (In Flanders, however, Flemish is spoken; Brussels is bilingual.)  The “Walloon Cock” (i.e., rooster of Wallonia) marches prominently at the center of the regional flag of Wallonia, Belgium.

Flag of Wallonia

Flag of Wallonia

During New testament times the country of France (and additional lands that border it) was called “Gaul”, and the symbol of Gaul was the “Gallic cock” (Gallus gallus domestic), i.e., a strutting rooster  –  the adult male of the domestic Chicken, deemed a subspecies of the Red Jungle-fowl (Gallus gallus).  “The cock is a traditional Gallic [i.e., Gaelic/Celtic] emblem and [it] recalls Wallonia’s linguistic and cultural ties with France.”  [Quoting Alfred Znamierowski, The World Encyclopedia of Flags (London: Hermes House, 2002), page 146.]  Chickens are bred and eaten all over the world  –  they even roam the streets of Key West, Florida!   Can you imagine life without chicken?  – think of the almost endless variety of culinary uses of chicken meat and chicken eggs!  Vive le poulet!

The next bird on this list is “bird hawk”, i.e., an accipiter hawk.

Among the birds of prey (“raptors”), there are two main categories of “hawks”:  (1) eagle-or-buzzard-like “buteos” (famous for snatching rodents, lizards, fish, and snakes); (2) and smaller forest-frequenting “accipiters” (famous for snatching birds).  Some would “lump” falcons with accipiters; other do not.  Other groups within the greater “hawk family” include eagles, kites, harriers, vultures, and various “buzzards”.

Buteos include such birds as Red-tailed Hawk, Swainson’s Hawk (which also eats insects), Ferruginous Hawk, Eurasian Buzzard, Broad-winged Hawk, and Osprey.

Accipiters are the smaller category of hawk-like birds  —  the “true hawks”  —  which include the likes of Cooper’s Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, etc.  “Accipiters are woodland, bird-catching hawks.  They rely on surprise and a blurring burst of speed to overtake prey.  Short, broad wings provide great acceleration, and slim bodies create little drag.”  [Quoting  Jack L. Griggs, All the Birds of North America (HarperCollins, 1997), page 66 .]  The smaller size of accipiters is a more fitting design for darting in between and around tree branches and shrubbery.  “An accipiter, like the Cooper’s hawk, can chase a songbird through a maze of trees without seeming to slow down, using its long tail as a rudder to help maneuver.  If a songbird does escape the initial attack, it is likely to survive the encounter, for accipiters are sprinters … [who] seldom engage in prolonged tail chases.”  [Again quoting Griggs, All the Birds of North America, page 66.]

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) ©USFWS

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) ©USFWS

Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis).

The Northern Goshawk appears on the flag of the Azores, an Atlantic Ocean-surrounded archipelago.  These volcanic islands, located southwest of the European continent, arose from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, constitute an autonomous protectorate of Portugal.

Portuguese Flag (PD)

Portuguese Flag (PD)

The word “Azores’ derives from açor, the Portuguese word for “goshawk” (which means “goose-hawk”).  Yet it is ironic that both the name and flag of the Azores feature the Northern Goshawk (an accipiter common in continental Europe), because many historians doubt that the Northern Goshawk was a common resident of there, when the Azores were discovered by Portuguese sailors during the AD1400s.  Many think that a local variety of the Eurasian Common Eurasian (Buteo buteo) was mistaken for the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) – yet nonetheless the name “Azores” (meaning “goshawks”) stuck.  Accordingly, the depiction of a goshawk, matching the archipelago’s name, was superimposed onto the Azores’ territorial flag.)

The next flag-featured bird is a spectacularly colored fowl, famous for its fan-like display of extravagant covert plumage, the Peafowl.   Many call this iridescence-decorated fowl the “peacock”, although it is only the male that is appropriately called “peacock”; the female is a “peahen” and the young are “peachicks”.  There are three types of peafowl:  (1) the Blue Peafowl (a/k/a “Indian Peafowl”) of India and Ceylon; (2) the Green Peafowl of southeastern Asia (native to Burma, Indochina, and the Indonesian island of Java); and (3) the Congo Peafowl (native to the Congo River’s drainage basin in Africa).

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

(Javan) Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus muticus) by Lee at Zoo Miami

Green Peafowl (Pavo muticus).

The Green Peafowl appeared, briefly (AD1939-AD1941), on the British territorial flag of “British Burma” – then a British Commonwealth colony.  (Burma is now called “Myanmar”.)   That colonial flag contained a Green Peafowl prominently displaying its famous covert feathers.

Flag of the Third Burmese Empire

Flag of the Third Burmese Empire (PD)

The Green Peafowl, historically, had symbolized pre-colonial regimes of Burma.

For example, the flag of the “Third Burmese Empire” (Konbaung Dynasty, AD1752-AD1885 – a/k/a “Alompra Dynasty”, which ultimately lost the Anglo-Burmese Wars  –  after persecuting the Great Commission efforts of Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson, who translated the Holy Bible into Burmese), consisted of a fan-tailed Green Peafowl, superimposed on a white background.

Peafowl on Flag of the Third Burmese Empire (PD)

Peafowl on Flag of the Third Burmese Empire (PD)

One more non-eagle bird, displayed on a national flag, will be included, below.  (The remainder must arrive on this blogsite another day, God willing.)  The next bird we will “flag” is a parrot.

Sisserou Parrot {Imperial Amazon} The national bird of Dominica (PD)

Sisserou Parrot (Amazona imperialis), a/k/a Imperial Amazon Parrot.

The Sisserou Parrot is a montane rainforest-dwelling parrot “endemic” to the Caribbean island nation of Dominica (not to be confused with another Caribbean country, Dominican Republic).  The term “endemic” means limited to that one location, so the Sisserou Parrot is native only to the island nation of Dominica.  And what a beautiful parrot it is!  As the national bird of Dominica, it is showcased “center-stage” on Dominica’s flag.

Dominican-Flag ©WikiC

Dominica’s-Flag ©WikiC

Sisserou Parrot Insert (Amazonaon Dominic )Flag ©Flickr-

Sisserou Parrot Insert (Amazonaon Dominic) Flag ©Flickr-

The flag’s depiction of the parrot is dominated by green and purple, with the beak and talons presented as yellow.  This coloring approximates the real parrot, though the “real thing” is obviously more beautiful!  The Sisserou is known to keep company with other parrots of Dominica, including the also-endemic Dominican Blue-faced Amazon Parrot (Amazona arausiaca, a/k/a “Red-necked Amazon”  –  no jokes about “rednecks”, please!)

There are more official birds to “flag”:   British Antarctic Territory (penguin);  Saint Helena, British crown colony in the southeastern Atlantic Ocean (Saint Helena Plover, a/k/a “wirebird”);  Fiji (dove);  Kiribati (frigatebird);  Papua New Guinea (bird of paradise);  Australian state of Western Australia (black swan);  Australian state of South Australia (white piping shrike);  royal standard flag of Tonga (dove);  Bolivia (condor);  and Uganda (crested crane).

Till this mini-series continues, “flag those Jehovah-nissi birds!”  Yet more importantly, keep in mind that the Creator of all birds, flagged or otherwise, is JEHOVAH-NISSI (“the LORD our banner”), the One to Whom we pledge our ultimate allegiance!

And Moses built an altar and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi. (Exodus 17:15)

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More Articles by James J. S. Johnson

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Tickle Me Tuesday Bonus- 4/7/15

Two more videos caught my funny bone. Did not want to wait until next Tuesday.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

Today’s regular “Tickle”
Tickle Me Tuesday – American Woodcock

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