Heaven’s New Jerusalem and Birds – Amethyst

Amethyst cut ©WikiC

Amethyst Woodstar (Calliphlox amethystina) by Dario Sanches male

Amethyst Woodstar (Calliphlox amethystina) by Dario Sanches male

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, …. the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.” (Revelation 21:19a-20 NKJV)

We have finally arrived at the last of the precious stones that will makeup the twelve foundations of New Jerusalem. I trust you have enjoyed finding out about these stones and birds that are similar in color or name. There have been many close matches and some where I missed trying to figure out what to use. Yet, you still had a chance to meet some beautiful and interesting birds from our Creator.

Amethyst ©WikiC

Amethyst. A clear quartz crystal that ranges in color from a faint purple tint to an intense purple. [NKJV MacArthur Study Bible]

Amethyst ©WikiC

Amethyst It is a pale-blue crystallized quartz, varying to a dark purple blue. It is found in Persia and India, also in different parts of Europe. [Easton Bible Dictionary]

Amethyst-throated Sunangel (Heliangelus_amethysticollis) ©WikiC

Amethyst. (Hebrew, achlamah). A subspecies of quartz of a bluish-violet color. Mention is made of this precious stone, which formed the third in the third row of the high priestly breastplate, in Exo_28:19; Exo_39:12. It occurs also in Rev_21:20.

Violet-backed Starling (Cinnyricinclus leucogaster)-(Amethyst) ©©

Amethyst (Gr.: amethustos)—its color is purple. Although the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia lists it as a ruby, Robertson gives the color as purple. [J. Vernon McGee]

Hartlaub's Turaco (Tauraco hartlaubi) ©WikiC

Hartlaub’s Turaco (Tauraco hartlaubi) ©WikiC

White-crested Turaco (Tauraco leucolophus) ©WikiC

Other Articles In This Series:

Good News Tracts

Bird of the Moment – White-eared Monarch

White-eared Monarch (Carterornis leucotis) © Ian

In February we had the Satin Flycatcher as bird of the moment. This is a generally uncommon member of the Monarch Flycatcher (Monarchidae) that I’d had trouble photographing until one obligingly turned up at my bird bath last October. Here is another member of the family that is also elusive, the White-eared Monarch. It’s generally rather uncommon and it tends to stay out of sight in the foliage of tall trees so spotting it is hard and photographing it is more so.

Its movements are not well understood but it tends to move from the highlands to coastal areas in winter and is mainly a winter visitor in the Townsville region. In Where to Find Birds in North-east Queensland Jo Wieneke particularly recommends the Nelly Bay end of the Nelly Bay to Arcadia walking track along Gustav Creek on Magnetic Island, where the trees are not very tall, for this and other Monarchs and Fantails.

White-eared Monarch (Carterornis leucotis) © Ian

It so happened that we were staying on Mandalay Avenue within walking distance of the start of the track last July for the weekend workshop of the North Queensland Recorder Society so I checked out the walking track before the workshop began. Sure enough, I found all the species listed in the the ebook including a couple of pairs of White-eared Monarchs so the photographic drought was at an end.

White-eared Monarch (Carterornis leucotis) © Ian

The birds I saw on that occasion were all adults. The juveniles look confusingly different with plumage in varying shades of grey rather than black and white so I’ve included a distant photo of a juvenile taken from a boat on the Daintree River north of Cairns. If nothing else it illustrates the difficulty of finding these birds in thick foliage.

White-eared Monarch (Carterornis leucotis) Juvenile © Ian

It’s geographical range comprises the ranges and coasts of eastern Queensland from Cape York to just south of the New South Wales border north of the Tweed River. It’s rarer in the southern part of the range so North-eastern Queensland is the best place to look for it.

For the taxonomists, it is the only Australian member of a small genus whose other members are the striking Golden Monarch (C. chrysomela) of New Guinea, which is orange-yellow and black, and the White-naped and Tanimbar Monarchs (C. pileatus and C. castus, sometimes treated as a single species) of the Moluccas and Lesser Sundas east of New Guinea. These latter two look much more like the White-eared Monarch than the Golden Monarch both in colour and patterning, posing an interest problem for the bio-geographers.

Since publishing Diary of a Bird Photographer Volume 2 I’ve merged Volumes 1 and 2 and plan to publish the combined work at the end of this year, including all the 2019 Birds of the Moment. My more immediate aim was to produced a combined taxonomic index making it easy for me to see which species have been covered since 2002 and which are candidates for future BIrds of the Moment. This combined volume will be a free update to purchasers of Volume 2. Sales so far have been slow so if you want to encourage me with the Bird of the Moment, I’d encourage you to show your interest and take advantage of this offer.

Ian’s Birding Ebook

Birdway Store on Payhip

A couple of purchasers have expressed a preference for the earlier bank transfer and Dropbox download, so if you rather do that too, just let me know Ian@birdway.com.au or ianbirdway@gmail.com and I can also arrange download through the website as an alternative to Dropbox. I’ve had inquiries about giving the ebooks as gifts: contact me if you wish to do so.

Greetings,
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

Ian’s comment, in the first paragraph, caught my interest. “It’s generally rather uncommon and it tends to stay out of sight in the foliage of tall trees so spotting it is hard and photographing it is more so.” It brought to mind the verses of trusting in the shadow of God’s protection.

“How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.” (Psalms 36:7 NKJV)

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalms 91:1 NKJV)

Ian’s “Moment” wasn’t so long this time. Thanks, Ian, for another interesting article about a beautiful bird.

Ian’s last Bird of the Moment was about the Gentoo Penguin.

Ian’s Bird of the Week Articles

Heaven’s New Jerusalem and Birds – Jacinth

Jacinth ©WikiC

Purple Finch-male.photo-MoDept Conservation

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, …. the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.” (Revelation 21:19a-20 NKJV)

 

Jacinth from Pakistan ©WikiC

Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) ©Arthur Grosset

Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) ©Arthur Grosset

Jacinth. Today this stone is a transparent zircon, usually red or reddish-brown. The one John saw was blue or shining violet in color. [NKJV MacArthur Study Bible]

Jacinth from Pakistan ©WikiC

Red Pileated Finch (Coryphospingus cucullatus) ©WikiC

Jacinth – The word υακινθος, signifies hyacinth, and this, as a colour, is a deep purple. In Rev_9:17the horsemen had breastplates of fire, jacinth, and brimstone, which seem to imply flashes of coloured light. In Rev_21:20 the jacinth garnishes the eleventh foundation of the heavenly Jerusalem. It is supposed by some to be the same as the ligure. The Greek word occurs in the LXX in Ex 25:4 26:1 , &c., but is translated ‘blue.’ [Concise Bible Dictionary]

Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) Cincinnati Zoo 9-5-13 by Lee

Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) by Lee

Jacinth. A precious stone, forming one of the foundations of the walls of the new Jerusalem. Rev_21:20. Called hyacinth, in the Revised Version. This is simply a different English rendering of the same Greek original. It is probably identical with the lighure of Exo_28:19.
The jacinth or hyacinth is a red variety of zircon, which is found in square prisms of a white, gray, red, reddish-brown, yellow or pale-green color. The expression in Rev_9:17, “of jacinth,” is descriptive simply of a dark-purple color. [Smith Bible Dictionary]

Purple Glossy Starling of Tanzania aka Purple Starling

Jacinth Properly a flower of a reddish blue or deep purple (hyacinth), and hence a precious stone of that colour… (Rev_21:20). [Easton Bible Dictionary]

Reddish Egret in a rural Pondshore at Summer Rekefest

Jacinth (Gr.: huakinthi)—its color is violet. It is the color of the hyacinth. Pliny gives the color as violet. [J. Vernon McGee]

Other Articles In This Series:

Wages or a Gift?

Heaven’s New Jerusalem and Birds – Chrysoprase

Chrysoprase_(Australia) ©WikiC

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, …. the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.” (Revelation 21:19a-20 NKJV)

Green-honeycreeper by Wilds

We are now up to the tenth precious stone layer of the New Jerusalem. Wow!! So far, all the colors of the stones and birds have been beautiful. And remember, the colors we have been showing, will be so much more spectacular in heaven!

Fruit Green Apple

Green Apples

Chrysoprase (n.) An apple-green variety of chalcedony, colored by nickel. It has a dull flinty luster, and is sometimes used in jewelry.

Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons) by Nikhil Devasar

Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons) by Nikhil Devasar

Chrysoprasus Golden leek, a precious stone of the colour of leek’s juice, a greenish-golden colour (Rev_21:20). [Easton’s Bible Dict.]

Purple Honeycreeper (Cyanerpes caeruleus) Female ©WikiC

CHRYSOPRASE, CHRYSOPRASUS Light-green variety of chalcedony mentioned as one the gems in foundation wall new Jerusalem… [ILumina]

Chryzopraz – Szklary, (Poland) ©WikiC

Revelation 21:20 “a chrysoprase is greenish and transparent, with gold specks;” [John Wesley notes]

Golden-eared Tanager (Tangara chrysotis) ©WikiC

While searching the Birds of the World database, the first part of this stone’s name, “chrysop” listed many birds with a yellow color, but none with Chrysoprase. So, enjoy the birds, whether are a perfect match or not. All 10,700 plus of the birds are a fantastic gift for us from their Creator.

Other Articles In This Series:

Wages or a Gift?

Feathers – From Creation Moments

Genesis 1:20

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.”

The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes feathers as “the component structure of the outer covering and flight surfaces of all modern birds”, and goes on to say: “Unique to birds, feathers apparently evolved from the scales of birds’ reptilian ancestors”.

Yet, Wikipedia does not believe feathers are unique to birds because they state in many articles that most, if not all, dinosaurs also had feathers, stating dogmatically: “Several non-avian dinosaurs had feathers on their limbs that would not have functioned for flight”. Even the Britannica article goes on to show a picture of a feathered dinosaur.

Perhaps it is easier for evolutionists to believe that dinosaurs evolved into birds if dinosaurs also had feathers. But this merely moves, rather than solves, the problem that evolutionists have in trying to establish how feathers evolved in the first place. Britannica and Wikipedia both suggest that feathers evolved from reptilian scales; yet, Wikipedia reminds us that feathers “are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates”.

The barbs on feathers have to fit exactly into the barbules – which would be a remarkable coincidence for a chance random process. Moreover, scales, being simple structures, would have to divide over generations, in many various ways, to produce feathers. The minimum estimate is for eight evolutionary steps, none of which have been found in real life. The point must be understood – it is not that feathers are too complicated to evolve, but rather that the complexity of alleged intermediate forms is impossible to replicate without design.

Prayer: Thank You for the marvelous design we see in structures such as feathers. It is as if they bear Your signature, Lord, and point towards Your creativity of design. Amen.

Ref: Encyclopaedia Britannica, accessed 6/30/2018. Image: Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Creation Moments ©2019 Used with permission


Lee’s Addition:

Feathers from Britannica

Feathers really are a work of art from The Creator!

Malayan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron malacense) Feathers ©WikiC

Malayan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron malacense) Feathers ©WikiC

Peacock Feather

Peacock Feather

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Feathers - Brevard Zoo

Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) Feathers – Brevard Zoo by Lee

“Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?” (Job 39:13 KJV)

“He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalms 91:4 KJV)

Heaven’s New Jerusalem and Birds – Topaz

Topaz ©Flickr James St John

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus) ©WikiC

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, …. the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.” (Revelation 21:19a-20 NKJV)

Topaz is a bit more common than Sardonyx, Sardius, and Chrysolite. Plus, there are birds with Topaz in their names. So this ninth stone of the foundation of the New Jerusalem should be easier to discover. Topaz is mentioned in five verse in the Bible: Exodus 28,17, 39:10; Job 28:19 [topaz of Ethiopia], Ezekiel 28:13, and our verse above – Revelation 21:20.

Quartz-Topaz-gem ©WikiC

Topaz – TO’PAZ, n. [Gr.] A mineral, said to be so called from Topazos, a small isle in the Arabic gulf, where the Romans obtained a stone which they called by this name, but which is the chrysolite of the moderns. The topaz is of a yellowish color. It sometimes occurs in masses, but more generally crystallized in rectangular octahedrons. Topaz is valued as a gem or precious stone, and is used in jewelry. It consists of silex, fluoric acid and alumin, in the following proportions; alumin 57 parts, silex 34, and fluoric acid 7 or 8.
Of topaz there are three subspecies, common topaz, shorlite and physalite. [Webster Dictionary 1828]

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus) Reflection ©Flickr Budgora

Topaz – topazion (G5116) is mentioned in Rev_21:20, as the ninth of the foundation stones of the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem; the stone is of a yellow color (though there are topazes of other colors) and is almost as hard as the diamond. It has the power of double refraction, and when heated or rubbed becomes electric. [Vines New Testament]

Fiery Topaz (Topaza pyra) ©WikiC

Saffron Finch Zoo Miami by Dan (Cropped by Lee)

Topaz From Brazil-©NaturhistorischesMuseum-WikiC

Saffron Finch Zoo Miami by Dan

Ruby-Topaz Hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus) male ©WikiC

Crimson Topaz (Topaza pella) ©WikiC

Bird-Wings-Wing-Colored-Ara-Parrot-©Maxpixel

Other Articles In This Series:

What will you do with Jesus?

Did Birds’ Lungs Evolve? – Creation Moments

Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus) ©Lucas Texas

Job 39:26-27

“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?”

I remember buying a foot pump to inflate the tires on my first car. My choice was between two pumps. On the cheaper model, the foot operated a piston entering a cylinder in which the air would be compressed and forced through a tube into the tire. When the foot was lifted, valves prevented air getting back into the cylinder from the tire, and, instead, dragged air in from the outside. Each depression of the foot repeated this operation. In a sense, the lungs of mammals and reptiles would resemble two such pumps side by side.

The second model featured two pistons and cylinders angled in opposite directions. Pressing with the foot began the first stage of tire compression as before, but on releasing the foot, the second cylinder pushed air into the tire while the first refilled with external air. The next foot depression allowed cylinder 2 to refill while cylinder 1 pumped. Thus, there was air pumped into the tire on both depression and release of the foot. The two cylinders worked in tandem, in opposite directions. This second continuous pump is like the two lungs in a bird.

Birds Lungs ©Creation Moments PD

Even some well-known evolutionary scientists have pointed out how impossible it would be for one mechanism to evolve into the other because the transitional form would not be able to process air for breathing at all, and would suffocate. So bird lungs could not have evolved from dinosaurs, but, instead, are designed by God for exactly their purpose.

 Prayer: Father, when we think about birds, as with all other animals, we acknowledge that You have made them fit for purpose, to be able to live and work the way that You have designed them to do. Amen.

Ref: Quick, D.E and Ruben, J.A., Cardio-Pulmonary Anatomy in Theropod Dinosaurs: Implications From Extant Archosaurs, JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY 270:1232–1246 (2009), pp. 1232-1246.  Image: Public Domain.

Source: Did Birds’ Lungs Evolve?

See Interesting Things for more articles like this.

Bad Feather Day

“He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; he bringeth the wind out of his treasuries.” (Psalms 135:7 KJV)

First Woodstock had a Ruffled Feather, now he is grumbling because he is having a Bad Feather Day.

We were at Gatorland on Friday last week and it was quite winding. Some of their feathers were whipping in the breeze also. I did not see Snoopy there with a can of “Feather Spray”. Those bird just had to preen and get thing straighten out.

Great Egret on a windy day at Gatorland by Lee

Great Egret on a windy day at Gatorland

Great Egret on a windy day at Gatorland

Cattle Egret in Breeding Plumage and Wind

Cattle Egret in Breeding Plumage and Wind

Cattle Egret in Breeding Plumage and Wind and not happy about it. Where’s the Feather Spray?

Great Blue Heron before gust on a windy day at Gatorland

Great Blue Heron with gust on a windy day at Gatorland

Great Blue Heron with gust on a windy day at Gatorland

Wind is mentioned over a hundred times in the Bible. Here are two verse that show who is in control of the wind:

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” (Psalms 1:1-4 KJV)

“And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” (Mark 4:39-41 KJV)

Smoothing A Ruffled Feather

All Our Gatorland Birdwatching Trips

 

Lee’s Ancestry Adventures Blog

Broken Limb/Branch off of Tree

“O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.” (Psalms 71:17-18 KJV)

Thought you might be interested in a new blog that I have started. It is in the infancy of a blog. As many of you know, I have been dealing with back problems. It has slowed our birdwatching down quite a bit. Though we did get to Gatorland Friday and will write about it soon.

Lee’s Ancestry Adventure was started a few days ago and the goal is to write about efforts and joys in attempting to trace my ancestors. Here is an excerpt from the About page:

“My family has a great heritage. We have some famous and not so famous ancestors. This blog will attempt to introduce you to some of them. Also I hope to reveal the trials and challenges of trying to trace them.

One of my goals along the way is to find out about their way of life, occupations, and whether they were religious. Especially, find out if they knew the Lord as Savior. If so, I look forward to meeting them in Heaven one day.”

I have been setting up a menu structure that will give a place to have links to the different branches of my family tree. All of this is in the beginning stages.

So far there are five articles posted. Please stop by and see what you think. Are you working on your ancestors? I always welcome advice.

I trust you will swing by and take a look. As this develops and the great-great-greats get added, it just might be that we are distant cousins. Or maybe, not so distant.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

 

Heaven’s New Jerusalem and Birds – Beryl

Rough Cut Beryl ©Flickr Amanda

“The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, …. the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.” (Revelation 21:19a-20 NKJV)

Three Colors of Beryl ©WikiC

BER’YL,n. [L.beryllus; Eng.brilliant.]
A mineral, considered by Cleaveland as a subspecies of Emerald. Its prevailing color is green of various shades,but always pale. Its crystals are usually longer and larger than those of the precious emerald, and its structure more distinctly foliated. It is harder than the apatite,with which it has been confounded; harder and less heavy than the pycnite. The best beryls are found in Brazil, in Siberia and Ceylon, and in Dauria, on the frontiers of China. They are found in many parts of the United States. [Webster Dictionary 1828]

Water Summer Beach Sea Blue/green Ocean Nature ©Max Pixel

Beryl – berullos (G969), “beryl,” is a precious stone of a sea-green color, Rev_21:20 (cf. Exo_28:20). [Vine’s]

Faceted aquamarine ©WikiC

Beryl is a mineral of great hardness, and, when transparent, of much beauty. …probably the mineral now called beryl, which is identical with the emerald except in color, being a light green or bluish-green. [Smith’s Bible Dictionary]

Beryl ©WikiC

beryl — of a sea-green color. [Jamieson-Fausset-Brown]

I believe that most of these references are in agreement that the color is a light green, leaning toward “sea-green.” So, let’s see what birds we can find of that sort of color.

There are actually two birds with Beryl in their first names:

The Berylline Hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina),

Berylline Hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina) ©WikiC

Berylline Hummingbird (Amazilia beryllina) ©WikiC

And the Beryl-spangled Tanager.

Beryl-spangled Tanager (Tangara nigroviridis cyanescens) ©BirdPhotos.com

Beryl-spangled Tanager (Tangara nigroviridis cyanescens) ©BirdPhotos.com

Or another shot from below the bird:

Beryl-spangled Tanager (Tangara nigroviridis) ©Flickr Oldenettel

Also, there is one bird that has beryl… in its scientific name. Now this one matches what I take a sea-green. Do you agree?

Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot (Loriculus beryllinus) ©WikiC

Articles in this Series so far:

Wordless Birds – With Hummingbirds

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Gentoo Penguin

As I’ve finally published Volume 2 of the ebook Diary of a Bird Photographer, please bear with me as I begin with a commercial. It is a compilation of the more than 240 Bird of the Week/Moment episodes sent out in the period 2010 to 2018. As these episodes grew in contents over the years, the ebook ended up as a hefty tome of 130,000 words and more than a thousand photos,with the fixed format pdf version running to more than 1,100 pages.

Like its popular predecessor Volume 1 it is designed for ease of use with many internal links, external links to relevant websites particularly additional photos on the Birdway website, and a comprehensive alphabetical index to bird species. Volume 2 contains a new taxonomic index in case for browsing the episodes by members of particular families such as Barn Owls or Honeyeaters. Read more about it by clicking on the image below or its caption to take you to page on the Birdway website.

Diary of a Bird Photographer, Vol 2 by Ian Montgomery

Diary of a Bird Photographer Volume 2

When I retired and wrapped up the Birdway company, I could no longer sell ebooks through the Apple or Google book stores and I started selling them by gettiing intending buyers to contact me for bank account details. This was inconvenient for everyone concerned – particularly for payments in other than Australian dollars – so I have now started selling them through the Payhip website. Payhip takes payment by credit card or PayPal so you can pay and download the books immediately. The new Diary Volume 2 is priced at six Australian dollars. You can visit the Payhip Birdway Store by clicking on the image or caption below.

Ian’s Birding Ebook

The Birdway eBook Store on Payhip

The cover photo of me on the ship the Spirit of Enderby on the trip to the Sub-Antarctic Islands in 2011 brings back great recollections of a memorable voyage, the highlight of which for many of us was the visit to Macquarie Island and its four species of penguins. Two of these, King Penguin and Royal Penguin feature as birds of the week in Volume 2, but here is one, the Gentoo Penguin, which hasn’t been honoured in these pages with its fifteen minutes of fame, to quote Andy Warhol.

Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) by Ian

On the morning of our day on the island, the King and Royal Penguins provide us with endless amusement on the main beach on the sheltered eastern size of the island, number 3 on the Google Earth screen capture below. At lunch time we went to the Research Station, number 1, at lunchtime to meet the personnel and we find the Gentoos in reasonable numbers in their preferred breeding habitat, the tussocky grass just south of the station.

Northern Tip of Macuarie Island from Google Earth by Ian

Gentoos look to me quite small and dumpy in illustrations and photos, but they are fairly large, with a length up to 80cm/32in and weighting between 4.5-8.5kg/10-19lbs. Unlike the curious King and Royal Penguins they don’t take much notice of us and stand or lie around looking rather bored. Adult Gentoos, first two Gentoo photos, have a white eye ring, a white patch over each eye and a white line joining the two patches across the top of the head. Their plumage is blackish and the bill and legs are brightly coloured, red or orange.

Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) by Ian

Most of the Gentoos have finished breeding bur their are still a few juveniles in the breeding area, like this rather woolly individual on the left below below. Unlike other Penguin species, Gentoos will relay if the first clutch is lost, so maybe this has happened here. Gentoos are unusual in that the parents continue feeding the young for up to two months after they have fledged.

Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) by Ian

Unlike the Royal and King Penuins on the sheltered eastern beach, the non-breeding Gentoos show a preference for the exposed beach on the western side of the island. The beach in this photo faces northwest and is shown and number 2 in the Google Earth image above. This beach is also popular with the Macquarie (Imperial) Shags which are busy ferrying seaweed as building material for nests on a rocky headland. The thick-skinned Elephant Seals are also at home on this beach and you can see their prostrate forms in the photo below.

Western Side of Macuarie Island by Ian

Immature Gentoos are to be seen wandering around on this beach either full of the joys of Spring (next photo) or pretending to be Elephant Seas (following photo). You can see that their plumage is browner than that of the adults, the white supra-orbital patches and eye-rings are incompletely developed and their bills and feet are less brightly coloured. Gentoos take two years to reach sexual maturity but I suppose, given their proximity to the nesting colony, that these ones are older juveniles from the current breeding.

Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) Juvenile by Ian

The Gentoo is the most northerly of the three species in the genus Pygoscelis and its circumpolar range is mainly north of Antarctica, breeding on Sub-Antarctic islands in the southern Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The only place it breeds on Antarctica itself is on the Antarctic Peninsula south of South America. The other two members of the genus, the Chinstrap and Adelie Penguins, have more southerly ranges particularly the Adelie. The specific name papua, odd for a Sub-Antartic species, does in fact refer to the natives of New Guinea as J.R. Forster, who named it in 1781, as he thought erroneously that they had curly feathers.

Gentoo Penguin (Pygoscelis papua) Juvenile by Ian

The fourth species of Penguin on Macquarie is the Southern Rockhopper Rockhoppers indeed, they are not to be found on the easily accessible part of the island where we spend the day. In the afternoon we return to the ship in the Zodiacs and do a detour via the rocky headland shown as number 4 on the Google Earth image to have a look at them.

I’ve been leading a fairly sedentary existence since my last visit to Europe three years ago. Editing Volume 2 of the Diary has given me itchy feet, so a visit to South America this coming October is being planned.

Greetings

Ian Montgomery


“All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds.: (1 Corinthians 15:39 KJV)

They may swim in the sea, but those Gentoo Penguins are still birds.

Thanks again, Ian, for another Bird of the Moment. They are always a welcome surprise when they arrive. Glad you were able to complete your second volume of the Bird Photographer Diary. We have produced many of those Bird of the Week articles here over the years. We have been enjoying your adventures around the world as you seek our Avian Wonders.

See Ian’s Birds of the Week

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Walter the Directionally Challenged Goose

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) by Ian

Walter the Directionally Challenged Goose by Emma Foster

Once there was a large Canadian goose named Walter. He lived in the north beside a little pond, and he went south for the winter. Sometimes he got lost because he didn’t know which way was North and which way was South. Walter was directionally challenged. On the times he did not get lost, he usually stayed by the beach where it was warm.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) ©USFWS

Is That South?

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) by Ian

Or Is That South?

Walter loved to stay by his little pond because it had just the right amount of grass, the water was always cool, and he always had plenty to eat. After successfully making his way back to the pond after flying south for the winter, Walter looked forward to relaxing in the warm spring sun. However, he noticed that it was a bit colder than he remembered it being at that time of year.

Walter started thinking. Maybe he had come back too early or maybe he had come back too late and it was already winter again. A few moments later it started to snow, and Walter began to shiver. He decided that he would just have to go back south for the rest of the winter, though he first had to figure out which way South was again. After thinking for another minute in the snow, Walter soared into the sky and began flying, nearly running into a few trees in the process.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) by Kent Nickel

After flying for what felt like hours, Walter thought that the air seemed a bit warmer. He didn’t know if he was South yet because he hadn’t found a beach or anything. Eventually, however, he found a large lake that seemed like the perfect place to spend the winter. Walter dove down toward the lake, skimming down to what he thought was water.

Bang! Walter flew straight into a giant garage door then tumbled down toward the water. The garage door was so close to the lake that Walter accidentally misdirected his flight by a few feet. He felt fine, but he decided to lie there for a few minutes before getting up. After a while, he fell asleep.

When Walter woke up, he realized he was in a small cage. He flailed about trying to get out. He was afraid because he didn’t know where he was, but he was able to calm down when a lady came in and gave him some food. Walter noticed a while later that his foot was bandaged.

Canadian Goose with injured foot

Walter stayed at the veterinary clinic for a few days while his foot healed. When he was able to walk a little better, he waddled around the clinic, where he met new people. The veterinarians at the clinic always said hello when Walter wandered into the front lobby, and he always had plenty to eat. He grew very comfortable at the clinic because he was never lonely.

A few days later, some of the vets took Walter to the lake where he had attempted to land earlier and set him free. For a while, he kept following them back to the truck because he didn’t want them to leave.

When the truck pulled away, Walter sat by the lake, sad. After a few minutes of thinking, he suddenly came up with a good idea. He flew up into the air, swooped down, and hit the same garage door again, though this time lightly enough so that he wouldn’t get injured as badly.

The veterinarians came back and took him to the clinic, even though Walter was perfectly fine this time. The vets at the clinic ultimately decided to let Walter stay since he liked it there so much, and Walter was very happy now because he didn’t have to worry about which way was South and which way was North.


Lee’s Addition:

Wow! Emma. Another great story. This is very interesting, especially because of all the birds that are migrating north now. I hope there aren’t any other “directionally challenged” birds facing Walter’s dilemma.

Maybe Walter should have prayed and read Psalm 143:8 before he travels.

“Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk [FLY], for I lift up my soul unto thee.” (Psalms 143:8 KJV)

See Emma’s Other Stories