Silver, Gold, and Hearts

While reading today, this verse caught my attention. There has to be birds with each of these in their names:

Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) by Dario Sanches

Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) by Dario Sanches

“The refining pot is for silver

Golden Tanager (Tangara arthus) ©WikiC

and the furnace for gold,

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

But the LORD tests the hearts. (Proverbs 17:3 NKJV)

A simple blog with a great message.

“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.” (Proverbs 17:3 NKJV)

Sharing The Gospel

Birdwatching and More Photos By Dan at Gatorland

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

My last post showed some of Dan’s photos he had taken, that were related to my previous post about Gatorland. I kid often about not knowing the difference from an “F-stop” or a “Stop Sign.” And it is true. I am not a photographer, just a Birdwatcher who takes photos of birds. That is what is so great about being a Birder. There are plenty of birds to go around, and it does not matter your reason for birdwatching.

Snowy Egret and Gator at Gatorland by Dan

Snowy Egret and Gator at Gatorland by Dan

Many of those who watch birds are super photographers, even laying on their stomachs to get just that “perfect shot.” Others, like Dan, enjoy taking photos with a really nice camera and lens, framing the bird, taking good photos, sharping them up. Some, like me, take photos left and right, discard many, and try to make them look half way decent, and placing them on a blog.

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Some birdwatchers, never use a camera, just binoculars and have a great time trying to see “how many” species they can identify. Others, see birds as they are just out and about, and enjoy them. There is room for all of us. No matter how we view the Avian Wonders that our Lord has created.

Here are some more of Dan’s photos from our last Gatorland visit in December. They are in a slideshow. [These have been compressed.]

What I enjoy are those Snowy Egrets with that concentration look on their faces. Dan captured it well, and I noticed that same look. Wonder what they were thinking about or focused on?  Humm!

Where is our focus?

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths.” (Proverbs 5:21 NKJV)
“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy,” (Psalms 33:18 NKJV)
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.” (Psalms 34:15 NKJV)

You can see many of his other photos at: Dan’s Pix

Trust you have been enjoying these Gatorland posts:

The Wise Owl

Dan’s Photos – Wishful Thinking, Flamingo, and Vulture

Tricolored Heron by Dan

Finally, I was able to encourage Dan to share some of his great photos from our latest Gatorland visit. He is a much more busier than me, and processing photos taken in “raw format” take more time. My “JPEG” are a snap to get ready. That said, here are the first few that go along with some of the previous post.

Tricolored Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Great Blue Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Great Blue Heron by Dan at Gatorland

See:  Wishful Thinking

Black Vulture by Dan at Gatorland

Black Vulture by Dan at Gatorland

See:  Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

These two almost took my breath away when I saw it:

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16-17 NKJV)

See:  Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20

Needless to say, Dan has a really nice lens on his camera, and he does not shoot in “program” mode like I do. He actually know all about those “f-stops” and “things” that I have no clue what they are. We make a great team.

Stay Tuned! I have some more of his photos.

You can see many of his other photos at: Dan’s Pix

The rest of our Gatorland trip in December:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward
  5. Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland
  6. Wishful Thinking

Wordless Birds

 

Perfect Squirrel Proof Feeder – Hopefully

Squirrel Reaching for Feeder ©DailyMail.Co.uk

Dan shared a video with me about a man who tries to make a Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder. If you have some time to spare, you will enjoy watching his attempt to keep the squirrels from his feeders.

I know we have all had this problem, but, I’m not sure I would go through this. Might be easier just to by a Squirrel feeder and a Bird feeder.

We were trying to find some verses to use for this, and this verse caused us a chuckle. Remember how they were flying off that contraption and heading toward the net? This could apply to that:

“You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride on it; You spoil my success.” (Job 30:22 NKJV)

There are many applications that could be made from these diligent squirrels who kept at it until they succeeded in getting the food. Here is one:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. [What the squirrels failed to do] But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:2-6 NKJV) {Bold and brackets mine.]

Sharing the Gospel

Wishful Thinking

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

Many times when we are young, we wonder or try to imagine what we will be like when we grow up. (Notice the bird in the upper right corner)

Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

This Great Blue Heron may be trying to remember his days of youth. (Notice the bird in the lower left corner)

Tricolored Heron and Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

Our smaller Tricolored Heron can wish all he wants, but he will never become a Great Blue Heron. The Lord, the Creator of all these Avian Wonders, made each of them slightly different.

Just as we in our lives have different talents and abilities, we should not try to be something that we were not created to be. The Lord has given each of us, as Christians, different areas of service. It may a small task, or it could be an enormous task.

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NKJV)

Each of these birds at Gatorland, are all created different, yet they all seem to enjoy hanging out there. Many of us enjoy being with others at our places of worship. We all have something we can do to help others.

Wood Stork at Gatorland

White Ibis at Gatorland

Great Egret at Gatorland

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

Other Gatorland Post from the December 30th visit:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward
  5. Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

Wordless Birds

Black Vultures Up Close at Gatorland

Black Vulture in tree watching Stork arrival

On our last visit to Gatorland, see articles below, there wasn’t an abundance of avian wonders as on previous visits. Yet, there is always something to discover. The alligators, Flamingos, and a few Parrots are permanent residents, but the birds are free to come and go. The different families of birds build their nest during various times of the year, and late December seems to be void of nest.

Yet, not to be discouraged, the Black Vultures were staking out the trees. Soon they would create their nest, and raise their young. In late January, February, and March, the Herons and Egret will start their families.

Since there were so many of the Black Vultures around, and so close, I took some interesting photos, at least to me, of these sort of ugly, but amazing flying “landscape improvers.” :) They gather beside highways to feed on road-killed animals and other dead animals in fields, or wherever they find them.

“‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard,” (Leviticus 11:13 NKJV)

Yep, I wouldn’t want to to eat one of these birds, but yet, they are beautiful in their on right. Their feathers are still very interesting, and definitely help them soar.

Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) are members of the Cathartidae Family.

Black Vultures in tree

“The communal roost is an important focus of the social life of Black Vultures. It serves as a meeting place for adults and their young and as an assembly point for foraging groups. The communal roost also appears to function as an information center, a site where unsuccessful foragers can locate food by following roost mates to carcasses.” (©Birds of the World)

They were okay until a Wood Stork landed

Wood Stork arriving in the Vulture’s Tree

on “their” tree:

Black Vultures in tree watching Stork arrival

One of the Vultures tried to “stare” the Stork down.

Black Vultures in tree watching Stork arrival

Black Vulture in tree watching Stork arrival

Further along the path, there was a another tree of vultures that caught my attention. It was right along the boardwalk and I was able to observe them from a closer range. Here is a slideshow of these. I was amazed watching this Black Vulture preening up-close.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What an amazing Creator who provides for each of His Avian Wonders.

Birds of the Bible – Vulture

Cathartidae – New World Vultures

Other Gatorland Post from the December 30th visit:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward

Sharing The Gospel

Proud Muscovy Duck

Juvenile Muscovy Duck Strutting

I spotted an unusually colored Muscovy Duck on the water, but realized it was a juvenile.

Juvenile Muscovy Duck Strutting

Many of the ducks we watch have a way of rocking or strutting when they swim. Recently, I recorded a young or juvenile Muscovy Duck swimming on the water out back.

They remind me of the Pharisees and Sadducee that we read about during the time Christ was on earth and during New Testament times.

“Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation,” (Acts 5:17 NKJV)

“Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.” (Luke 11:39 NKJV)

“Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” (Luke 11:43 NKJV)

Juvenile Muscovy Duck Strutting

Also, a few verses from the both testaments:

Pridegoes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 NKJV)

“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16 NKJV)

I know there are many more verses that could be added, but I am sure you can also even quote some of them. These ducks are not prideful, but the Lord had a way of putting natures in His Avian Wonders to help remind us of attitudes to avoid. Blessings!

Muscovy Ducks are part of the Anatidae Family of Ducks, Geese and Swans

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)

Sharing The Gospel

Reginald and Oliver’s Florida Parade

AMERICAN TURKEYS

Reginald, the Turkey Commander, and Oliver’s Florida Parade

by Emma Foster

That year, when Reginald, Oliver, and the other turkeys celebrated Christmas in their fortress, which protected them from hunters during the winter, lots of snow covered the ground in the woods. The turkeys grew restless having to stay inside their fortress all the time, so they went to Reginald and asked if they could go south for the winter. Oliver approved of the idea because he had heard of something called the ocean, and he believed that going south for the winter would mean they could all go to the beach.

Reginald surveyed the woods outside the fortress. He knew it would be too cold for there to be any hunters around, and enough of the snow had melted for them to be able to walk easily. So the day after Christmas, Reginald, Oliver, and the other turkeys set off in a southerly direction, their army helmets strapped to their heads.

Reginald knew that they would miss the New Year, and he wondered what they would do and where they would go when they made it South. The turkeys trudged through the snow in a line, like a parade, with Reginald in the lead. At first, Oliver stood guard at the end of the line, but he slipped so many times in the slush that Reginald had him move to the front, where he could shove Oliver back up in case he fell again.

Eventually, the weather grew a bit warmer, and the turkeys noticed less snow on the ground. The snow completely disappeared the farther they traveled. A few days after New Year’s Day, Reginald noticed a few more roads, with cars driving past, and he also noticed that many of the trees seemed smaller, with round oranges stuck to them. Reginald decided to make camp among the rows of oranges, a little way away from the road.

Turkeys in Orange Grove ©Pinterest

At first, Reginald thought that they would be found by hunters, but as cars sped by, the drivers didn’t seem to notice them. They settled comfortably in the orange grove, but Oliver pestered Reginald constantly about going to see the ocean. Finally, Reginald had had enough, and he told Oliver that he was pretty sure they were not near any ocean. Oliver, shocked and depressed at not being able to see the ocean, went off by himself, past the orange grove. While he wandered around pouting, he heard a rustling in the nearby bushes. To Oliver’s surprise, another turkey popped out of the bushes. She was taller, with shinier feathers, and she introduced herself as Ginger. She explained that she lived with a few other wild turkeys on the land, owned by a man who kept an animal sanctuary.

Oliver brought Ginger back to meet the other turkeys. Reginald felt relieved when he found out where they were because that meant that they were protected from any hunters that happened to pass by.

Turkey in Line ©Musselcoundty.org

Convinced that Ginger knew the land better than anyone, he told her about wanting to see the ocean. Ginger realized how much Oliver wanted to go, so she told Reginald that she had an idea. Ginger announced that they were going to the ocean. The turkeys formed another parade line, with Ginger at the head.

The turkeys headed down the side of the road, where people often slowed their cars down to watch them. Ginger led the turkeys across a few fields and beyond one small side road, where they did not have to worry about cars. They reached a large lake at the base of another hill.

Oliver Will Have To Wait His Turn. (Great Egret on Alligator at Gatorland)

Oliver was overjoyed! He believed they had finally made it to the ocean. He raced down to the edge of the lake and jumped on a wide log to get a better view of his surroundings. The log jumped in fright. An alligator lifted his head, knocking Oliver off his back and into the shallow water. Oliver scrambled out of the water and back to Reginald. The alligator, however, apologized, saying that his name was Sid. He invited Oliver onto his back so that he could show him around the lake.

Turkey Swimming in Lake @United Poultry

Turkey Swimming in Lake @United Poultry

The turkeys, along with Reginald and Ginger sat by the lake for the rest of the day, while Sid carefully swam around the “ocean” with Oliver on his back. Oliver waved to Reginald every now and then, while Reginald sat in the grass. The turkeys seemed very happy living down South, away from hunters. Thinking about how everyone was enjoying their expedition, Reginald decided to wait until it was warmer before heading back to their fortress.


Lee’s Addition:

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;” “Then you will walk safely in your way, And your foot will not stumble.”
(Proverbs 313, :23 NKJV)

Thanks, Emma, for another enjoyable tale from the Turkey Commander and Oliver. A photo of Oliver’s Gator Taxi was a bit hard to find, so trust this one will suffice. Just never surprised where that flock of turkeys will show up next. Keep up the good work!

Check out all of Emma’s previous stories here:

Emma’s Stories

The Wise Owl

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Snowy Egret standing with one foot forward.

While we were at Gatorland, I was watching the Snowy Egret, and was amused by his stance. I am always amazed by their yellow feet, and this tickled me. I love that the Lord used such variety in the birds when He created them.

Of course, I had to zoom in on his feet:

Snowy with his best foot forward!

I was then off to the lagoon or pond, whatever they call it, to see what the birds and gators were up to. Compared to other times, it was rather quite, except for a Great Egret strolling out from under the boardwalk:

Quieter than normal. No nesting birds.

Great Egret emerging from under the walkway.

I was sitting in a motorized unit when another Snowy Egret landed on the rail right beside me. He then proceeded to walk down the rail with those yellow feet.

On rail right beside me.

Look at that concentration!

Snowy has something in sight.

Showing off those feet. Has a good grip on the rail.

“For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living?” (Psalms 56:13 NKJV)

What the Snowy had in sight was an alligator, of which he flew off to check out. By then, “feet” were fascinating me, and I was watching how well those feet stayed planted on the gator’s back as he walked up and down it.

Heading for a ride.

Landed on the other one.

Zoomed in a bit

Steady as he goes!

Well balanced!

“Unless the LORD had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” (Psalms 94:17-19 NKJV)

Catching a ride.

Feet holding fast!

Feet holding fast!

“But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.” (Job 23:10-11 NKJV)

I trust you have enjoyed this part of our visit to Gatorland. There are still more sights to see, so, STAY TUNED!

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20

Gideon

Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20

Christmas Tree and Sign - Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Christmas Tree and Sign – Gatorland 123020 by Lee

When we visited Gatorland on our last trip, the end of December, we were greeted with Christmas decorations and some interesting characters (birds and other).

Vultures and Egret setting in there normal welcoming rail.

Vultures and Egret sitting on there normal welcoming rail.

Vultures Surveying a Gator near entry of Gatorland

Vultures Surveying a Gator near entry of Gatorland

Dan looking at the avian wonders.

By the way, that sign in the first photo is this warning!

Then of course, you meet one or two brave or stupid birds trying to con food from the Gators, like this Snowy Egret.

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

What I was not expecting, was this new “creature” found roaming around the entrance. Never seen “it” before and trust it is only a rare sighting!!

Some sort of an “Ape”, but also must be related to a “Skunk” somehow! :0)

Skunk Ape at Gatorland 123020 by Lee (16)

Skunk Ape at Gatorland by Lee

Thought he could scare me!

Skunk Ape at GatorlandYou just never know what might show up there at this wild place. Other than this “critter”, it was a great sunshiny day. Stay tuned!

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; … A time to weep, And a time to laugh;…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NKJV)

Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20

Gator Tail Anyone?

Good News

Gator Tail Anyone?

Here in Florida, there are some restaurants that serve Gator Tail. Usually, it is served as an appetizer.

Gator Tail Appetizer ©Skipper Fish Camp

While we were walking around Gatorland on our last trip, I noticed some Black Vultures very near the end of an alligator. They were across the pond, so I zoomed in to see what they were doing.

I’m thinking to myself:

#1 – These birds are crazy being that close to the gator.

#2 Maybe they are picking bugs or weeds off of its tail.

Cropped after I got home.

Before I tell more, let me continue on with the rest of the visit. When we got to my favorite part where the birds ride on the alligators (See Gatorland’s Taxi Service), I was again videoing the activities. I noticed on the little island that some more Black Vultures were again at the tail of another large alligator.

Egret on Gator Taxi and Vultures at Gator’s Tail by Lee

Vulture at Gator’s Tail – Zoomed by Lee

Vulture at Gator’s Tail – Zoomed by Lee

Here is a crop of the crop. You can see him actually eating the meat right out of a living alligator. He couldn’t even wait for them to batter and fry up a piece for him.

Zoom of a zoom

I also took a video of some of this:

Now I see why Vultures are on the “Do Not Eat” list! They are a Bird of the Bible after all.

“‘These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, and the kite and the falcon in its kind, every raven in its kind,” (Leviticus 11:13-15 NASB)

Birds of the Bible – Vulture

Birds of the Bible

Good News Tracts – Various Topics

 

Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20

Surface Filtering

Today Dan and I finally went on a short birding trip. We drove over to Orlando’s Gatorland (45 miles). I finally have something to write about besides the birds seen through our back patio door.

It was sort of quiet, as far as the number of birds, this time of year. We normally go over in late January or February. Then there are nesting birds. I never saw even one nest today. Yet, what we did see was great, as always. So, this is the first post of some of the interesting sights today.

We were watching the Flamingos, which is almost at the end or the path we take around Gatorland. What impressed me today was watching this Flamingo filtering on the surface. Here is a video of what I saw:

I didn’t know what that was actually called until I came home and looked it up. Normally, they put their necks down in the water and “filter” along the bottom. Less often they “filter” on the surface, which this Flamingo was doing today. It gives a great way to see how they are actually filtering. I was amazed just watching.

“Flamingos filter-feed on brine shrimp. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they eat, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and the large rough-surfaced tongue. (Wikipedia – Filter Feeders)

“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” (KJV)  or the ERV says, “You guide the people, but you are blind! Think about a man picking a little fly out of his drink and then swallowing a camel! You are like that.” Matthew 23:24

Here are some more of the photos from the Flamingo pond:

A Few Other Flamingo and Gatorland Articles:

Phoenicopteridae – Flamingos

Tickle Me Tuesday’s – Flamingos

Sunday Inspiration – Flamingos and Tropicbirds

“F” is for Flamingos and Frigatebirds: “F” Birds, Part 1

Gatorland’s Taxi Service

Gatorland’s Fearless Egret

Gatorland From Dan’s Camera

Sharing The Gospel