Ian’s Irregular Bird – Toco Toucan

Please forgive the shock of another Irregular Bird: I’m currently full of good intentions, which I’ll talk about later. I have Toucans on my mind at the moment, which I’ll also mention later, so here is the Toco Toucan which was well up on our list of wanted birds on our visit to the Pantanal in Brazil in September 2019.

Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) by Ian

We found our first one, above, on our first day driving into the Pantanal, feeding on a lone fruiting tree beside the road. This gave us the impression that this large species would be easy to find, but we saw very few after that and I photographed only this one other bird, below, feeding on another fruiting tree beside the river on the way from Porto Jofre to the Meeting of the Waters National Park (Encontro das Águas) to look for Jaguars. This species of Toucan is readily identified by its diagnostic yellow and orange, black-tipped bill and in the second photo, you can just see the red undertail coverts and white rump, both also characteristic of this species.
With a length of 60cm/24in and weight to 800gm/1.8lbs this is the largest of the seven or eight species of large Toucan (genus Ramphastos). It is also the only one that doesn’t inhabit forests; it occurs on forest edges and in grasslands. It has a wide range in South America from Guyana south to northern Argentina, avoiding the forested regions of the Amazon Basin. It nests in cavities in trees, river banks or termite nests. Both adults incubate and feed the young, predominantly on insects when very young but gradually switching to the adult diet of fruit such as figs as the nestlings grow older.
Guinness Toucan Poster from Ian

Guinness Toucan Poster from Ian

Toucans are strange and spectacular birds and it is not surprising that they have captured the popular imagination. I remember this poster for Guinness in the bar of Greystones Golf Club, Co. Wicklow, when I was a kid in Ireland in the 1950s. Guinness has used the Toucan as a mascot since the 1930s. Who knows, maybe Guinness helped spark my interest in birds, though there was another one about Gnus – “The New Gnu at the Zoo; Guinness is Good for You” – which aroused only a mild interest in even-toed, horned ungulates. The toucan artist has taken a bit of license with a slightly hybrid design (the black spot on the bill is missing, the patch around the eye is blue and green and the yellow and red breast bands are normally barely visible on the Toco Toucan) but it is certainly a Toco Toucan and not one of the other species (http://www.birdway.com.au/ramphastidae/).
The reason why I have Toucans on my mind is because I usually wear tropical shirts when I go folk dancing with the Townsville dancers, suitable for dancing in the tropics even if most of the dance originate in eastern Europe and the Middle East. One of the dancers gave me a pair of socks featuring flamingos to go with a flamingo shirt that I have, so I went on a search for suitable socks to go with another shirt with Toucans and Macaws. As you can see toucan on both the socks and the shirt is a Toco Toucan and I couldn’t resist sharing them and photos of the real thing with you.
One of the reasons the Irregular Bird has been very rare recently is that I started doing a series on island birding so we could get vicarious pleasure from pretending to travel when we were prevented from doing so by Covid-19. I got bogged down on a trip to Macquarie Island, preparing lots of photos and researching lots of species and never finished it. So, I’ve decided to go back to the original format of dealing with a single species at a time, and hopefully that will be easier to do and more frequent. I haven’t taken many photos since the pandemic started, but there are plenty of species left in the library to keep us going until and if things get back to normal.
Greetings
Ian


Ian Montgomery,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au

Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee Addition:

Toucans are part of the Ramphastidae Family.

Love those Toucans. In fact, the Green-billed Toucan is one of the Wordless Bird posts.

Wordless Toucan

Wordless Whistling Ducks

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in yard
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in yard

Over the last few weeks, we have had constant visiting Black-bellied Whistling Ducks in our back yard. After taking many pictures of them and their antics, I realized that they will make another great bird for our Wordless Bird posts.

The Wordless Book Colors are:

Black (or Dark) – Wings and Eyes

Gold – Lore

Red – Beak

White – Wings, Neck and Head

Green – Grass

Sometimes we need visual items to help us remember God’s Truths. He created these beautiful Whistling Ducks, so why not learn from them.

Our hearts are black or dark with sin. People like dark of night to do evil deeds many times.

Gold are how the streets of heaven are made.

Christ gave His blood on the cross to pay for our sins.

When we accept the Lord into our hearts, they become clean or white.

We are supposed to grow as a Christian, as the green grass.

This is a simple version of our Wordless Birds, but the truth is still the same.

“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)
Black-bellied Whistling Duck by Lee
Black-bellied Whistling Duck by Lee

Newness of Life!

…just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we also walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

Newly hatched Canada Goose babies in Monroe, GA USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Spring is all about new beginnings. Winter’s lifeless branches and twigs begin to burst forth with green verdure. A vast array of colors bloom in the petals of previously dormant seed and bulb. The golden warblers pass through on their biannual migrations. And new life bursts forth from the white eggs of duck and goose. It is no wonder why we celebrate the new life Easter during this springtime celebration!

And on this fine spring morning the eggs of the two Canada Geese have hatched! The proud parents now cruise the pond with six yellow fluff-ball babies swimming close by. Such cute little chicks! I could fill memory card after memory card with their images. I will enjoy watching their progress as they grow over the next few weeks.

Canada Goose and her newly hatched goslings. Walton County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Tricolored Herons at Gatorland 2021

Tricolored Heron Nest – Well Hidden at Gatorland

On our last trip to Gatorland, I mentioned the Snowy and Great Egrets youngsters. [Poor Mama Feeding Chicks] There were other nest around of Tricolored Herons with chicks. Finding the nest were not as easy as the Egrets who seem to be less secretive about where the nest are placed. The Tricolored Herons on the other hand seem to like to hide them more.

Tricolored Heron Nest at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron Nest at Gatorland

I did manage to find one nest that was hidden, and took some video of them being fed. It is zoomed in and quite dark in there, but you can see them moving around. Occasionally, you can see the parent.

Also, there was a nest in a palm tree:

Tricolored Nest in Palm Tree at Gatorland

It was hard to focus on them through all the branches, but enjoy!

“Who provides food for the raven (and Tricolored Herons), When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:41 NKJV)
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV)

More Gatorland Visits

Sharing The Gospel

Geese – Creation Moments

Geese

Click Here to Listen
Psalm 50:11
“I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.”

Geese are large birds from the family Anatidae. This family – which includes geese, ducks, and swans – is presumed by creation researchers to be a baramin. Therefore, Noah took two anatidae on the Ark rather than two ducks, two geese, etc., and all the species of geese, ducks, and swans have developed since the end of the Flood.

In the Pacific Northwest, flocks of geese flying overhead are huge and noisy. I find them fascinating, particularly as they embark on or return from their migrations.

Canada geese migrate considerable distances. Geese identified by rings have traversed the Atlantic, ending up in Europe, having been ringed in North America.

Generally speaking, when a goose has found a mate, the pair stays together for life. Goslings hatch after about a month, and they are immediately able to walk, swim, and find their own food. It is delightful to see a pair of geese with a line of goslings waddling to the water, and then swimming away.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) ©WilliamWisePhotography.com

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) ©WilliamWisePhotography.com

The ancient Celtic Christians used to use the wild goose as a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the Bible, the Spirit is described as being “like a dove”, and doves in the Middle East are wild and untamable. However, in the West, doves often appear tame and peaceful. Geese, on the other hand, exhibit the same wildness in properties as the biblical dove. Thus, the use of the Wild Goose as a symbol of the Holy Spirit seems appropriate.

Prayer: We pray, Lord God, that You will guide us by Your Spirit, that in all the things we do, we may please You and glorify Your Name. Amen.

Author: Paul F. Taylor

Ref: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Goose Bird, accessed 12/28/2020. Image: CC BY-SA 3.0 unported.

© 2021 Creation Moments.  (Used with permission)

More Articles from Creation Moments

Anatidae Family

Wordless Yellow-Fronted Woodpecker

Poor Mama Feeding Chicks

Great Egret Feeding Chicks at Gatorland by Lee

Great Egret Feeding Chicks at Gatorland by Lee

Yesterday we went back over to Gatorland to see how the chicks have been progressing. Here is a video of a parent feeding the growing chicks. I felt so sorry for her (I assume). It was an unexpected visit, because another plan for the day, of Dan’s, fell through. So, we decided to see how much the birds had grown since our visit in March. Needless to say, this should be the last on until fall. It was a BIT warm.

I still have articles and photos to show from our March visit, but an issue with my eye slowed me down. All is well now after a small laser treatment last week. My camera eye was blurry, but now all is clear again. So, stayed tuned as I try to get more tales out.

I guess because of my eye problem, I was so worried when one of the youngsters grabbed her beak and got mighty close to the eye. Because eyes are mentioned so many times in Scripture, here are a few promises:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalms 32:8 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 upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psalms 34:15 KJV)

Gatorland Trips

Good News

Dan’s Newest Gatorland Photos

Snowy Egret Strutting in Mating Plumage by Dan at Gatorland

I finally encouraged Dan to edit his photos from our latest visit to Gatorland. When I saw them, I knew we had to share them. He has a Zenfolio photo site, that he has sort of ignored lately, but with a little encouragement, he posted his newest photos from our Gatorland trip last month. I always shrink photos here so that they don’t eat up storage space, but there is no way these photos would give them justice. You just have to see them on Dan’s Pix.

With a new folder called Gatorland 2021, you will find these latest photos.

My version of this bird is not near as amazing, but I did try to capture this Snowy Egret. Of course he strutted or puffed up for Dan’s camera.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV)

Of course in this case, the Snowy was not being prideful, he just doing what the Creator designed them to do to attract a mate.

Snowy Egret in Breeding Plumage by Lee

Dan’s Pix

Gatorland 2021

Snowy Egret in Breeding Plumage Struting

The Wise Owl

Birds and Flowers Helping Christians

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Stephen Nielsen writes a blog called Prayer A to Z or just Stephen Nielsen. This is an excerpt from his How Birds and Flowers Can Help a Christian article. I am sure you will enjoy reading the whole post:

Birds

Jesus said, “Look at the birds of the air [Look at and think about them].”

  1. They don’t sow or reap or gather.
  2. Yet God our Father feeds them.
  3. And we are better (closer to God) than they are; we are His children. So, He definitely will care for us.
  4. Also, what good will it do anyway to worry about these things. Will worrying change anything? Will it extend your life?

Let’s look at the birds and all humans, how God provides for them.”……

Stephen has based this post on Matthew 6:25-30. What a great promise for us today. Thanks, Stephen, for another great lesson from the Lord and His Avian Wonders.

Matthew 6:25-30

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?”

Birds Learning About Worms ©BirdsOutsideMyWindow

How Birds and Flowers Can Help a Christian

Prayer A to Z

Stephen Nielsen

Good News

A Time for Joy: Remembering Wigeons and Celebrating Resurrection Day

Dr. James J. S. Johnson

American Wigeon – Male by Ray

As we reflect on this year’s celebration of Resurrection Day (i.e., Easter), Luke 10:20 reminds us of the best reason for rejoicing.

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

And the unending joy that is noted in Luke 10:20 is built upon the forever-firm fact of Christ’s historic prophecy-fulfilling resurrection, which we can analyze in 1st Corinthians 15.

However, as many birdwatchers (even unbelievers) know, viewing birds can be an earthly joy, too, albeit a much lesser and temporal one  –  yet good enow to put a joint replacement surgery (such as a hip replacement or a knee replacement) into a more satisfactory perspective.  This is demonstrated by Mike Burt’s “American Wigeon Remind Us to Look for Joy, Even in Storms”, published in Chesapeake Bay Journal, 30(10):47 (January-February 2021), posted at American Wigeon Remind Us To Look For Joy Even In Storms .  After some birdwatching at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge (near Cambridge, Maryland),  birdwatcher Mike Burke chose to visit the Choptank River (the Delmarva Peninsula’s largest riverine tributary of the Chesapeake Bay), in order to see the wintering waterfowl there.

American Wigeon (Anas americana) by Daves BirdingPix

American Wigeon (Anas americana) by Daves BirdingPix

The snow was quickening as we got out, binoculars in gloved hands. Before us were rafts of gorgeous ducks bobbing on the windswept waters. I glanced up. The opposite shore, more than a mile away, was lost in the snow. We could still see the ducks in the middle of the broad, tidal river. . . [including the] big white spots on the black heads of the buffleheads and the picturesque black-and-white patterns of a few long-tailed ducks. Just a few feet away, though, sloshing alongside the jersey barrier, was the real object of our pursuit: scores of winter ducks. The raft included plenty of canvasbacks, a handful of redheads and scaup, and a good number of American wigeon. . . .

Wigeon are often called “bald pates” for the white forehead and crown that gives the male the look of a bald man. A dramatic green eye patch reaches toward the back of the head, just like a green-winged teal. The male wigeon has a gray face and neck and a pale blue bill that is rather short and narrow and ends in black. The wigeon is a dabbler, like a mallard, feeding on duckweed, milfoil and especially widgeon grass. But they also feed alongside geese in fields as they use that short, tough bill to rip vegetation free. The back and sides of wigeon are a sinuous rosy brown down to the waterline. In males, a white spot occurs right in front of the black tail. Elegant, elongated black feathers lined in white lay on his rear when he’s at rest. I had a big smile as I admired this handsome drake.

American Wigeon (Anas americana) by Ray

The female is a beauty in her own right. There’s no arresting green eye swoosh or bald pate. Instead, her head is a series of wavy brown and white feathers, except for black smudges around her eyes. The hen is a bit browner overall than the drake, but she has the same lovely lines. In flight, the birds show mostly white underneath. The male also has a big white panel on its upper wing, just above a bright green speculum (wing feathers that are close to the body). The female has a simple white line above her speculum, which is black.

While most birds enter their breeding plumage in the spring and raise their broods in the summer, ducks put on their breeding feathers in the winter. Here in the Chesapeake region, we get to see the birds at their most colorful. This is also when pair bonds are established. By early spring, wigeon will have left the Bay heading toward their breeding territory. Most will go all the way to the boreal forests of Alaska and western Canada. A moderate number will stop in the upper Midwest “prairie pothole” region. Nests are built near ponds and lakes. The hen lays a single clutch of three to 13 eggs. The eggs need to incubate for almost a month, but when they hatch, the chicks are quick to leave the nest, heading to water to evade land predators. Even on water, though, they will face mortal danger from hungry fish and turtles. The bird’s first year of life is full of peril. As winter approaches, these ducks disperse down both coasts. On the Pacific Coast, American wigeon winter from Alaska south to Central America. On the Atlantic, you’ll find them from Massachusetts south through the Caribbean and into northern South America. Wigeon can also be found in all of the Eastern states south of Pennsylvania, especially throughout the Chesapeake [Bay region].

American Wigeon (Anas americana) brood ©USFWS

[Quoting Mike Burke, posted at American Wigeon Remind Us To Look For Joy Even In Storms.]   Watching American Wigeons (and other ducks, such as Mallards, Lesser Scaups, and Northern Shovelers), wintering at Furneaux Creek (in Carrollton, part of Denton County, Texas) during the A.D.1990s, are happy memories  —  form years gone by, back when I taught Ornithology and Avian Conservation for Dallas Christian College (in Farmers Branch, Texas).  God gives us so many richer-than-money blessings over the years, including privileged opportunities to observe His avian wonders —  in bushes and woods, at ponds and creeks, etc.

Of course, compared to the truth of 1st Corinthians 15 – the completed redemptive work of our Lord Jesus Christ – the transitory joys of this life, even birding, pale and disappear.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus;
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

[Quoting song-writer Helen Howarth Lemmel, “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”.]

Even so, come Lord Jesus, our risen-from-the-dead Redeemer!

 CHRIST IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN INDEED!


Other Articles by Dr. James J. S. Johnson (JJSJ)

James J. S. Johnson

What Will You Do With Jesus?

Baby Egrets at Gatorland

On our latest trip to Gatorland, March 23rd, one of my goals was to see if any of the baby Great Egrets had hatched. Great Egret Nest – Gatorland.

Eggs in Great Egret Nest Gatorland 02252021 by Lee
Eggs in Great Egret Nest Gatorland February 25th by Lee

As I expected, there were still some babies there, but it appears by the age of some of them, that many had already fledged. Yet, there were enough to check out. This nest pictured above, was right next to the rail, and to my dismay, it was empty except for one little fluffy chick that did not appear to be alive.

Great Egret with Dead Chick

I met Cathy McArthur there, and we were both watching this young chick. There was no breathing, so we both came up with the same conclusion. The reason I mention her name, is she has agreed to allow me to use some of her photos she also took that day.

There were plenty of other active chicks to try to get a photo of, but of course, I got my fair share of branches. :)

Baby Great Egret
Baby Great Egret
Another chick acoss the water
Two of the Great Egret Chicks by Cathy McArthur
Great Egret Chick by Cathy McArthur

They have quite the hair do’s, don’t you think?

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

Egrets and Herons are in the same family, Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, and therefore a Bird of the Bible – Herons member. Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns make up the Ardeidae family.

I did shoot a few videos, but they are a bit shaky because I was quite away from the nest. Here is one of them:

Stay tuned for more nesting birds. The Tricolored Herons and Snowy Egrets were busy preparing nest, laying eggs, and sitting on them.

Bird of the Bible – Herons

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns

Cathy McArthur

Birdwatching Trips Around Florida – Gatorland

10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die

[I attempted writing this post with just the Block Editor.]

Minnesota Bird Songs

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) by Raymond Barlow

Grey Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) by Raymond Barlow

Dr. Jim (JJSJ) sent me this link and I think you will also enjoy it. If you look down through there, you will see a Catbird. Now, you will be able to hear him along with all the other Minnesota bird songs. Enjoy!! [Thanks, Dr. Jim]

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/mcvmagazine/bird_songs_interactive/index.html

“…When one rises up at the sound of a bird, …” (Ecclesiastes 12:4 NKJV)

Catbird at Gatorland

James J. S. Johnson

Sharing The Gospel

Great Blue Herons – Gatorland

Great Blue Heron Gatorland 03-23-21

We walked Gatorland in the opposite direction that we normally take. This Blue Heron had just landed and was walking on the rail.

Great Blue Heron Gatorland Cropped

Even though we see Great Blue Heron often, it is always great to watch that stately pose they present. As we have mentioned before, the Heron is mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy as birds to not eat. Birds of the Bible – Herons

“the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.” (Lev. 11:19 NKJV)
“the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat.” (Deut. 14:18 NKJV)

Later on, we encountered another “GBH” [Great Blue Heron] near the other end of the boardwalk. I saw Dan watching something, and then as he started taking photos, I realized it was the Heron.

Dan Watching Great Blue Heron (On rail near the tree)

Dan Taking Photo of Great Blue Heron

Not to be out done, I took out my camera and zoomed in on the Heron.

Great Blue Heron Gatorland

Great Blue Heron Gatorland

Great Blue Heron Gatorland 03-23-21

Great Blue Heron Gatorland 03-23-21

What was the highlight of this encounter was when this bird was chased by another GBH, and caught the heron with its wings fully extended.

Two Great Blue Herons Flying

Two Great Blue Herons Flying – Cropped

Great Blue Heron Flying at Gatorland – Cropped More

What beauty and majesty that the Lord used when He created the flying Avian Wonders for us to enjoy, and realize His awesome power. In church Sunday we sang the hymn, “I Sing The Mighty Power Of God.” This verse expresses some of what I feel when we are out bird watching.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

Stay tuned for more of this latest trip to Gatorland.

Catbird At Gatorland

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Other Gatorland Posts:

Great Egret Nest At Gatorland

Gatorland Again – February 2021

Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20

Gator Tail Anyone?

Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

Wishful Thinking

Dan’s Photos – Wishful Thinking Flamingo and Vulture

Birdwatching and More Photos by Dan

Good News