Ian’s Bird of the Week – Griffon Vulture

Boumort National Reserve

Boumort National Reserve

The first photo shows part of Boumort National Reserve in the foothills of the Pyrenees in Catalonia about 40km southwest of Andorra. A reserve since 1991, It has an area of 13,000 hectares and is of special importance as one of the only places in Europe where all four European species of vultures breed. Three occur naturally, while the fourth, the Eurasian Black or Cinereous Vulture has been reintroduced, after becoming extinct in the Pyrenees in recent decades. I made arrangements to visit it through Steve West of Birding in Spain, including getting the necessary permit to photograph these birds, accommodation and transport.

As part of the conservation effort, the vultures are fed three times a week and I was taken to the feeding site by two rangers who had collected carcasses and meat off-cuts from farmers in the vicinity. The site is equipped with a spacious and comfortable hide, complete with toilet, and I was left there alone for the day after they had spread out the meat and carcasses in front of the hide. When we arrived there were already between one and two hundred vultures, almost all Griffons, soaring high above. I had been briefed beforehand that the first arrivals would be Griffons, with Eurasian Blacks arriving later in the morning when the crowds thinned, while the iconic Lammergeier could be expected, probably, in small numbers in the middle of the afternoon. The fourth species, the Egyptian Vulture is a summer visitor and had already departed for Africa.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) by Ian

Sure enough, as soon as the rangers left, large numbers of Griffons glided in and squabbled noisily over the food. Griffons feed mainly on muscles and viscera and attacked the carcasses and pieces of meat with great gusto. The bird in the second photo showing its skill at balancing on a rock on one foot and waving the other is an adult, recognisable by its white ruff, horn-coloured bill and pale wing coverts. The one in the third photo is a juvenile, with grey bill, coffee-coloured ruff and darker wings. Juveniles generally had a covering of short plumage on the head and neck, while the adults often had relatively bare necks.

The breeding range of the Griffon Vulture extends from Portugal in the west to northeastern India and southwestern Kazakhstan in the east. Spain is its main stronghold in the west with about 8,000 pairs and the species is not considered under threat.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) by Ian

These birds are huge and it was wonderful to observe them up close. The black bird in the fourth photo sneaking a mouthful from under the watchful eye of a Griffon is a Common Raven. This is the largest passerine in the world, with a length of up to 67cm/26in and wingspan of up to 130cm/51in, larger than a Common Buzzard, but completely dwarfed by the vulture. Griffons are up to 110cm/43in in length, with a wingspan of up to 280cm/110in and weighting up to 11kg/24lbs.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) by Ian

In the air, they glide effortlessly and powerfully and the enormous wings make the body appear quite small by comparison. They come into land looking like parachutists under square canopies but with the ponderous, unwavering stability of a large aircraft like a B747 or an A380. Look how elegantly and precisely the toes are arranged with all the poise of an Olympic diver, fifth photo.

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) by Ian

It really was an extraordinary experience watching the spectacle of these amazing birds, even if their table manners left much to be desired. The large amount of food disappeared at a great rate and the crowds started to disperse, leaving the scene, one hoped, for the later, rarer and more picky species. To be continued…

Greetings
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

Another neat adventure for Ian. Not sure I would want to be left all day by myself. Then again, Ian, is quite an adventurous birdwatcher and photographer. Patience is something he definitely has.

Thanks again, Ian, for sharing your adventure. I have a feeling you will soon tell us about some of those other Vultures that came to feed.

“There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen: (Job 28:7 KJV)

The Griffon Vulture is a Bird of the Bible as Vultures are mentioned. One version of the Bible lists a Griffon.

“Of birds these are they which you must not eat, and which are to be avoided by you: The eagle, and the griffon, and the osprey.” (Leviticus 11:13 DRB)

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Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Bible Birds – Swan Introduction

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan'sPix

Swan (Cygnus olor)II at Bok Tower By Dan’sPix

“And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,” (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

“The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

Swans are mentioned in these two verses in the KJV Bible. Some other versions list it as another bird. For now, let us learn about the beautiful Swans that the Lord created.

Both of the Swan verses above are found in the “do not eat” list that the Lord gave to the “children of the LORD your God.” Who would want to eat such great looking birds?

Swans are in the Anatidae Family which includes Ducks, Geese and Swans. There are seven species which include these:

Coscoroba Swan (Coscoroba coscoroba) ©AGrosset – Zoo Miami’s by Lee
Black Swan (Cygnus atratus) by Dan – Video by Nick – Article
Black-necked Swan (Cygnus melancoryphus) by Bob-Nan
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) by Dan
Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator) by DavesBP
Tundra Swan (Cygnus columbianus) by DavesBP
Whooper Swan (Cygnus cygnus) by Ian

Some Interesting Facts:

  • The Trumpeter Swan has the most contour feathers of any bird. (25,216) That doesn’t count the downy feathers.
  • Swans can fly as fast as 60 miles per hour!
  • A male swan is called a cob, and a female swan is called a pen.
  • A baby swan is called a cygnet.
  • The largest species, including the mute swan, trumpeter swan, and whooper swan, can reach length of over 1.5 m (60 inches) and weigh over 15 kg (33 pounds). Their wingspans can be almost 3 m (10 ft).

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Bible Birds – Swan

Birds of the Bible – Swan

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Swan

Anatidae – Ducks, Geese and Swans Family

Wordless Birds

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Sunday Inspiration – Vacation 2014

Peacock at Magnolia Plantation by Dan

Peacock at Magnolia Plantation by Dan

 

A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath Day. It is good to give thanks to the LORD, And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, And Your faithfulness every night,  (Psalms 92:1-2 NKJV)

Even though our vacation didn’t go according to “our” schedule, the Lord gave us some great blessings. He, the Lord, had a way of placing the right people in our path to help us. Only He could orchestrate those encounters. May we never forget to give the Lord credit for his blessings to us.

We were able to still see Patriots Point and Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, Merritt Island NWR, Brevard Zoo and the Viera Wetlands and the nearby Click Ponds. The slide show has some photos from those places.

** Some how I forgot to finish this Sunday Inspiration. We took our vacation several months ago. The song Sean is playing, “It Is Well With My Soul” seems to be even more appropriate today. I have been dealing with a walking and now pain issue. I start two days a week of physical therapy next week for almost two months. As I told the therapist Friday, “even though I am dealing with all this, I am trying to maintain a good attitude.” How can I do that? Because, It Is Well With My Soul.” I know the forgiveness for my sins because of the Lord Jesus Christ’s death on the cross for my sins and yours. Have you asked for His forgiveness? Please keep me in your prayers and Sean, also. He needs it more as he is dealing with Lymphoma.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” (John 3:16-17 KJV)

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“It Is Well With My Soul” by Sean Fielder

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More Sunday Inspirations

Gideon

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Lake Morton Birdwatching after Round-up

Green Heron at Lake Morton by Lee

Green Heron at Lake Morton by Lee

Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. (Psalms 40:5 NASB)

We finally took some time to go see what birds were at Lake Howard. I was a little disappointed that the winter birds haven’t started arriving yet. It is either that, or the fact that they have been re-working the shoreline at the park. They are making it more “people-friendly,” but seem to be making it less “bird-friendly.” Trust that is not going to keep our Wood Ducks, Ring-neck Ducks and Ruddies away. None of them were present.

I really didn’t check the whole lake though. I have been having some leg issues and haven’t been birdwatching lately. In fact, I only crossed the street and birded right there by the shore. You might keep me in your prayers. Had a Doctor appointment today with encouraging word, especially that surgery most like can be avoided on my feet. Friday, another appointment to start some physical therapy for my left leg. It has been weak and causing me to “waddle” like the ducks. Never heard of a “Lee Duck” have you? Hope not.

Here are some of the photos taken Saturday by the shore of Lake Morton. There are still some swans in the pens after the recent yearly round-up of the swans. They gave them all vaccinations. Rounded up well over a hundred of them.

Mute Swan in pen at Lake Morton by Lee

Mute Swan in pen at Lake Morton by Lee

And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle, (Leviticus 11:18 KJV)

I found this very interesting video from YouTube when they did the round-up in 2010.

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This link is to this year’s story about the Swan Round-up. (It has some neat photos)

http://www.theledger.com/article/20141001/NEWS/141009972/0/

Enjoy a slide show of some of what we saw.

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Wordless Birds

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Sunday Inspiration – At Calvary

Grace's Warbler (Setophaga graciae) ©WikiC

Grace’s Warbler (Setophaga graciae) ©WikiC

And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. (Luke 23:33 NKJV)

Today’s birds were chosen because of the words of the Hymn, “At Calvary.” Because of Jesus’ Love at Calvary, through His Grace, Mercy, and Love, “Now my raptured soul can only sing Of Calvary.”

(Some of the birds have “merci or merce” in their scientific name.)

Grace, mercy, and peace will be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. (2 John 1:3 NKJV)

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“At Calvary” – (Trio – Margaret H, Sue W, Pastor Jerry) and Faith Baptist Choir 9-28-14

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty,
At Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned
To Calvary.

Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my King,
Now my raptured soul can only sing
Of Calvary.

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!

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More Sunday Inspirations

The Gospel Message

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Greater Flamingo

PHO-Phof Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) by Ian

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

Newsletter ~ 10-9-14

Here’s another species from Dubai, the Greater Flamingo. It’s well-known there, occurs in the Ra’s al-Khor wildlife sanctuary near the centre of town and is suitably iconic for a place where flamboyance is preferred to subtlety :-). We didn’t go to this sanctuary but found about 50 Flamingos feeding in the shallows near one of the Crab Plover sites that we checked at Khor al-Beida north of the city.

This spot was right beside a Sheik’s well guarded palace. Tommy warned that using a large telephoto lens there could attract unwelcome attention from the guards, so these photos were taken through the window of his 4WD. The birds in the first and second photos are adults with the pink colour of the legs and bill and the red plumage in the wings well-developed.

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) by IanThe bird in the third photo is an older juvenile. The bill is still grey, the legs are just beginning to show a pink flush and there is little red showing in the wings. The full adult plumage is acquired after about three years.

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) by Ian
Flamingos are a taxonomically isolated group with 6 species in a single family – Phoneicopteridae – in their own order the Phoenicopteriformes. Four of the species occur in South and Central America, with 2 Old World Species The Greater and Lesser Flamingos. The Greater Flamingo occurs in Africa, the Middle East, southern Europe and in Asia as far east as India. There is one Australian record from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in 1988, so it has the honour of being on the Australian list.

Greetings from Strasbourg where we are having a pleasant few days in this lovely city staying with Gillian daughter Jeannine and her husband Carlos. Tomorrow we go to Barcelona by TGV en route to a couple of birding spots in the foothills of the Pyrenees where I hope to get some raptor photos to share with you. THE target species is the Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier, so I need your spiritual support and enthusiasm!

Ian


Lee’s Addition:

Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19 ESV)

Love those Flamingo, no matter what kind. There is just something about that beak and the pose they portray. Thanks again, Ian, for sharing your latest find among the avian in Dubai.

American Flamingo Beak cropped

American Flamingo Beak by Lee

Of the Flaming Family on Ian’s Birdway site, this must have been his first Flamingo. At least that is all he shows for the Phoenicopteridae Family.
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Ian’s Birds of the Week

Ian’s Phoneicopteridae Family

Flamingos – Phoenicopteridae Family

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Birds – The Color That Only God Can Do

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by

Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) by Dan

Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them. (Psalms 111:2 ESV)

Here is a neat blog worth looking at to see all the beautiful color that God put in Birds.

via Birds.

Enjoy the beauty of these birds.

Wordless Birds

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This is by N7QVC’s Christian Blog.

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Sunday Inspiration – I’ll Be A Friend

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) by Margaret Sloan

Tufted Titmouse (Baeolophus bicolor) by Margaret Sloan

But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation. I will sing unto the LORD, because he hath dealt bountifully with me. (Psalms 13:5-6 KJV)

The birds trust the Lord because they know He provides for them. We can have Jesus as a Friend that is even closer and provides our needs, especially Salvation.

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“I’ll Be A Friend To Jesus” – Faith Baptist Quartet 2011

  1. They tried my Lord and Master,
    With no one to defend;
    Within the halls of Pilate
    He stood without a friend.

    • Refrain:
      I’ll be a friend to Jesus,
      My life for Him I’ll spend;
      I’ll be a friend to Jesus,
      Until my years shall end.
  2. The world may turn against Him,
    I’ll love Him to the end,
    And while on earth I’m living,
    My Lord shall have a friend.
  3. I’ll do what He may bid me;
    I’ll go where He may send;
    I’ll try each flying moment
    To prove that I’m His friend.
  4. To all who need a Savior,
    My Friend I’ll recommend;
    Because He brought salvation,
    Is why I am His friend.

May you enjoy your day, rejoicing in the Lord’s Great Salvation, and His beautiful birds He has created for His pleasure and our enjoyment.

If you haven’t received his salvation, remember:

John 3:14-19 KJV
(14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
(15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
(16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
(18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
(19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Gospel Message

More Sunday Inspirations

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Pelican Learns to Fly – YouTube

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) by Ray

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis) by Ray

 

What an interesting video. Just had to share it.

I am like a pelican of the wilderness; I am like an owl of the desert. (Psalms 102:6 NKJV)

They are mentioned 3 times in Scripture. Isaiah 34:11 and Zephaniah 2:14 and the previous verse.

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“Abandoned by his flock, Bigbird the pelican stumbled ashore after a storm and was taken in by the staff of Greystoke Mahale in Tanzania. Watch as Bigbird learns to fly for the first time.”

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Bible Birds – Pelicans

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(Found on Kid’s blog)

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Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) ~ by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) by Raymond Barlow

 

That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. (Psalms 26:7 KJV)

Just wanted to share a really neat photo that Ray shared on his Facebook page. He is one of the first photographers that gave permission to use his photos.

Ray took this on one of his trips to Costa Rica. This is from his page:

2 Green-crowned Brilliant Hummingbirds sort out their problems in front of my guests during a photo-shoot in Costa Rica. Looks like mother and daughter here, we all wonder why nature needs to be so confrontational! (more with hummingbirds than any other of our planets species!)

I think the word “Mine” explains things.. :))

Special thanks to everyone for viewing my images!!

It is always so amazing to view more of the Lord’s Creation. He has also given Ray a great talent. Thanks, Ray.

Here’s another of those beautiful hummers.

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) Females Feeding by Raymond Barlow

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) Females Feeding by Raymond Barlow

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Found this on the Kid’s Blog – I’m still kicking up dust. I have less than 80 of the 412 articles left to relocate over here. Already finished the 51 pages. Then I can start fixing some of the problems I have caused here on this blog.. :))
See:

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Wise Advice From The Birds – Via Email

Received this in an email. (From an older friend) The birds and sayings are thought-provoking.

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Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth. (Psalms 71:9 KJV)

Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? (Job 35:11 KJV)

Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. (Psalms 25:5 KJV)

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalms 32:8 KJV)

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Wordless Birds

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Cream-coloured Courser

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Cream-coloured Courser ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 9/27/14

A couple of weeks ago, I said that my two target birds in Dubai were Crab Plover – which featured last week – and Cream-coloured Courser. The latter had aroused my curiosity 50 years ago when I saw it on this page of the Field Guide to Birds of Britain and Europe. Tommy Pedersen (http://www.uaebirding.com) had said that the Coursers were “possible”, so there were no guarantees.

Cream-colored Courser (Cursorius cursor) by Ian

Cream-colored Courser (Cursorius cursor) by Ian

When we set off with Tommy, we had a few hours to fill in before the tide was optimal for the Crab Plovers, so we went first to the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Centre, then to the Al Asifa Endurance Stables to look for the Coursers. They were present at both, with over 30 at the Polo Centre and another 16 at the Stables. In fact, the first photo I took in Dubai was of a very distant Courser.

Cream-colored Courser (Cursorius cursor) by Ian

They were worth waiting 50 years for, and I think the illustration in the field guide didn’t do them justice. They’re called Coursers because they run rather than fly, second photo, the name being derived from the Latin verb currere, to run, and the generic name Cursorius means runner. The ‘sport’ of coursing – chasing hares, etc., on horse-back is derived from the same source, so there was a delightful irony in finding them at the two main equestrian locations in Dubai.​

Cream-colored Courser (Cursorius cursor) by Ian

When pressed they do take flight, third photo. In doing so, they show their striking dark wing tips and underwings and reveal similarity to pratincoles, the other members of the family Glareolidae. There is a photo of an Australian Pratincole in flight here if you want to compare them. The three taking off in the third photo seemed to be a family party as the bird in the centre is immature with patchy brown markings on the neck and only very pale stripes through the eye.

Cream-colored Courser (Cursorius cursor) by Ian

​Their preferred habitat is desert and semi-desert with or without sparse vegetation. Their breeding range includes much of North Africa and the Middle East. Many North African birds migrate across the Sahari to winter in the southern Sahara and at least part of the Middle East population migrates to Pakistan and NW India. They feed on insects and other invertebrates on the ground and will take locusts in flight. I couldn’t help but be struck by their resemblance both in colour and habitat to the Inland Dotterel of central Australia.

Cream-colored Courser (Cursorius cursor) by Ian

As promised a couple of weeks ago, I’ve started putting together a page on electronic books to provide assistance in choosing among different platforms. So far, I’ve finished the General Introduction. I still need to add more details on the actual process of purchasing ebooks from different vendors​ and I’ll let you know when that is available.

I’m still in Ireland. So far, I’ve been mainly catching up with family and friends. Next Tuesday we are going looking for Red Kites in Avoca, Co. Wicklow, so keep your fingers crossed for some photos! The Red Kite is one of the more successful Irish raptor reintroduction programs and there are now breeding populations in both the Republic, mainly Co. Wicklow south of Dublin, and in Co. Down in Northern Ireland. I do have a photo of one taken in Spain – but it would be good to get some genuine Irish ones, the real McCoy.

Greetings
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

He asked for water, she gave milk; She brought out cream in a lordly bowl. (Judges 5:25 NKJV)
He will not see the streams, The rivers flowing with honey and cream. (Job 20:17 NKJV)
When my steps were bathed with cream, And the rock poured out rivers of oil for me! (Job 29:6 NKJV)

Wow! I really like that color. It seems so rich. There are such neat birds in the Glareolidae family anyway. That last photo of the bird in flight looks like the Lord dipped its wings in paint. I am glad Ian was able to get these new photos and shared them with us.

Coloured or Colored? Again we have a difference in spelling. Ian uses one naming authority and here we use the I.O.C.’s naming. Same bird, same scientific name – Cursorius cursor. And the same beautiful bird from its Creator.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Glareolidae Family

Glareolidae – Coursers, Pratincoles

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