Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Andean Condor

When a Bird of the Moment recalls a special day out in the field, I get great pleasure from reliving the experience by preparing and describing the event. Such was our first full day, a Sunday, in Chile on the return journey. The day dawned sunny and unseasonably warm for Santiago in late September, forecast maximum 23ºC/73ºF so we decided to look for Andean Condors, our must-see bird in Chile and we are going to take you along with us.
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Over a leisurely breakfast – tired after the long journey the previous day from Cuiabá in western Brazil via São Paolo on the east coast – we consult our reliable oracle Google to suggest a good place for the search. The one that sounds most promising is near a place not far away called Farellones in the Andes west of the city at an altitude of about 2,400 metres/7,800 feet.. We know that Condors are easiest to find when winds and topography provide suitable updrafts for soaring, so we are a little concerned by the calm conditions as we navigate the steep hairpin bends on the road to our destination. We get there in the early afternoon after a few birding stops along the way.
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Just before arriving we spot a large raptor, which we think is a immature Condor but we can’t stop as we are sharing the road with hundreds of cyclists heading back towards the city and the many vehicles of spectators blocking the down traffic lane waiting to follow the cyclists. We go round another hairpin bend at Mirador Lomas del Viento (“Lookout, Hills of the wind”) where we see several Condors soaring both above and below us. Throwing caution and fear of disapproval to the wind we stop blocking, the remaining free lane, to take the first photos. Then we drive on a bit further, find a parking spot and walk back to a good vantage point overlooking Cordillera Yerba Loca (“Mountain Range Crazy Plant”).
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If you look at Parque Cordillera Yerba Loca on the map and at the photo you can see that the lookout is at the end of a 20km long steeply-sided valley running approximately north-south. On such a warm day the breeze is from the north and we have fortuitously chosen perfect conditions for Condors at this place and time where the “Hills of the Wind” channel the breeze into a steady updraft. Yerba (or Hierba) Loca refers to a high altitude plant called Astragalus looseri, a legume that looks a bit like a purple Lupin in flower, which can tolerate intense sunlight, freezing temperatures and being buried under snow for months on end. It contains an alkaloid, which the literature coyly describe as toxic – supposedly the reason for the name – but we are not convinced. Naturally one, not the plant, would be loco or loca to eat it, but if you Google “Hierba Loca” you’ll find a reference to Dr Stoner’s Hierba Loca Tequila, which Hercule Poirot suspects is closer to the truth.
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Anyway, back to the Condors. The first Condor photo is of an adult male, the second and third of an immature female. Adult Andean Condors have large white panels on the upper surface of the wing (secondary and tertiary flight feathers), a white ermine ruff, and reddish heads, and males of all ages have crests which grow larger with age. Older males, we’ll see shortly also have wattles or flaps on the side of the head. Juveniles and immature birds have entirely brown plumage which changes gradually to the adult plumage at an age of about seven years.
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The Andean Condor is the only New World Vulture, Cathartidae, in which the sexes are different (they’re the same in the California Condor). The males with a wingspan to 320cm/10ft 6in and weighting up to 15kg/33lbs are larger than the females which weigh up to 11kg/24lbs. Of birds that can fly, only the Wandering Albatross has a greater wingspan (to 351cm) and the males of some bustards such as the African Kori Bustard weight more (up to 19kg), but the male Andean Condor is the largest raptor, just slightly bigger than the California. It is also unusual for male raptors to be larger than females; it’s often the other way round. Female Condor must trust their male partners who share in incubation of the single egg and care of the young.
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Some of the Condors land periodically on a rocky outcrop just below us (fourth Condor photo). It looks to us like the adults are training the immature birds in flight manoeuvres. Both the birds in the photo are males, the adult on the left having a long crest and the immature bird on the right having a very short one, so maybe it’s a father and son pair. Most of the birds we see are males and we wonder why that is so. As the lookout faces north we are facing into the sun so the lighting conditions in the early afternoon are not ideal for photography.
Eventually hunger takes over and we end up in the restaurant of a charming, local ski lodge for a late lunch before returning to the lookout. By now all the cyclists, support vehicles and spectators have left and we have the place almost to ourselves. The number of Condors increases and at some points we can count eleven taking part in this wonderful aerial ballet. The birds are so graceful in the air that it’s hard to grasp how large they are until we see close by the passing shadow of a curious bird, flying overhead to check us out like the ones in the fifth and sixth photos.
It’s now about two hours before sunset and the sun is lower in the west with a softer intensity, much better for photography. The photos are numbered in sequence so you can see that I’ve taken more than two hundred in the interval between the one of the two birds on the rock and the female in the fifth photo. She is about six years old and is in transition to adult plumage. She has only a faint white collar and the lack of a crest indicates her gender.
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The bird in the sixth photo, directly overhead is an old male with a reddish head and long wattles on the cheeks. You can see that in adult birds the distal edge of the underneath of the flight feathers of the white wing panel on the upper surface are also white. If you look carefully at the right wing of the female in the previous photo you can see that the bird is moulting and five secondary flight feathers with white edges are just beginning to grow and will replace the corresponding completely dark feathers.
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I’m now satisfied with the quantity of photos I’ve taken so I’m concentrating on trying to get photos of birds with snowy mountains in the background. This isn’t easy as the mountains are quite far away and the birds are a bit distant when they have the mountains in the background. The seventh Condor photo shows an older male while the eighth is of a younger male with a second bird behind it.
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We’ve had a wonderful afternoon with the Condors, just magic. Eventually we continue up the road to the Vale Nevada (“Snowy Valley”) ski resort at about 3,000 metres/10,000 feet. It consists of a number of tall, starkly modern apartment blocks around a largely deserted central car park, the season being over. We park in the visitor parking area – the rest is severely private – and have a wander round. The air is noticeably thin at this altitude. We don’t find the resort picturesque, an understatement, so here is the view enjoyed by the buildings on the southern side. The south facing slope still has quite a lot of snow and the sun is sinking in the west after a cloudless day.
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We don’t see any more Condors along this route, but we do see a few other high altitude raptors like an immature Mountain Caracara beside the road and a pair of Variable Hawks perching on one of the power poles supplying the resort. Caracaras are in the same family as Falcons but scavenge like Crows. Time now to go back to Santiago before it gets dark after a wonderful day. It’s misión cumplida in Chile and we have three full days left for relaxed birding. What would you like to see and where would you like to go? Let’s do some wetlands on the coast near Valparaiso for a change: the trip reports on the internet say they’re good.
Greetings
Ian

Lee’s Addition:

“Is it by your understanding that the hawk soars, Stretching his wings toward the south? “Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up And makes his nest on high? “On the cliff he dwells and lodges, Upon the rocky crag, an inaccessible place. “From there he spies out food; His eyes see it from afar.” (Job 39:26-29 NASB)

Great photos and thanks for sharing your adventure to watch and photograph this interesting birds, Ian. The Lord has created so much variety in His Avian Wonders. The birds just seem to find the niche that they were created for. I trust that we find that spot, or niche that the Lord has for us.

I have got to admit, these Condors are not the prettiest birds we have ever seen, but yet, the Creator, in His wisdom, makes no mistakes.

Andean Condor – Lowry Park Zoo (Zoo Tampa) by Dan

See more of Ian’s Bird of the Week, Moments, or whenever:

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Cathartidae – New World Vultures

Who Paints The Leaves

Tickle Me Tuesday – Peekaboo and Einstein

Indian Ring Neck Parakeet

Indian Ring Neck Parakeet

Indian Ringneck Parrot

Occurred on March 12, 2019 / Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand “Oscar the two-year-old Indian Ringneck parrot playing peekaboo with the cat from across the street.”

“And He kept repeating, Do you not yet understand?” (Mark 8:21 AMP)

African Grey

Meet the Knoxville Zoo ‘s avian SUPERSTAR, Einstein. Come visit Einstein the African gray parrot at the Knoxville Zoo’s Bird Show, Knoxville, TN USA. [This was in 2008]

(African) Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus lenne) at Parrot Mountain by Lee

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” (Proverbs 17:9 KJV)

“Also when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward in full already. But when you pray, go into your [most] private room, and, closing the door, pray to your Father, Who is in secret; and your Father, Who sees in secret, will reward you in the open. And when you pray, do not heap up phrases (multiply words, repeating the same ones over and over) as the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their much speaking. [I Kings 18:25-29.] Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:5-8 AMP)

See other Tickle Me Tuesdays

Tickle Me Tuesday Revived – Laughing Kookaburras

2015’s Tickle Me Tuesday’s

Sharing The Gospel

Hummingbird from John 10:10 Project

“Few creatures in the animal kingdom can capture the imagination more powerfully than a hummingbird. Their aeronautical abilities are stunning. But the genius of these birds isn’t limited to flight. Each day, they must consume twice their body weight in nectar to fuel their voracious metabolisms. The incredible biological mechanisms that make this possible are masterpieces of engineering and design.”

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 KJV)

A friend sent me this link. Thanks, Pastor Pete.

Two Suppers – By William Wise

Turkey Vulture; Walton County, Georgia by William Wise

Turkey Vulture; Walton County, Georgia by William Wise

Two Suppers

By William Wise of www.williamwisephoto.com

Revelation 19:17-18  And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;  18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.

While running a 10K race with my 69-year-old father, I laughed as he looked up and shouted at a group of circling vultures and said, “Go away! I’m not dead yet!” Although they were waiting to dine on him, he wasn’t quite ready to be their supper.

King James Authorized 1611 Pulpit Folio

The Bible tells us (and yes, I believe it) that one day in the future, God is going to host two great suppers, or feasts. The first is the party of the century… no, the party of the millennia… no, the party of the ages! It is called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. And all the followers of Jesus Christ will be given clean, white garments and enjoy the greatest wedding reception of all time.

Georgia Vultures by William Wise

Georgia Vultures by William Wise

But simultaneously, there is another feast. It is called the Supper of the Great God. Those who did not RSVP for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, but lived for themselves, will be attendees at this gathering. For it is a gathering of fowls; of carrion crows and vultures to feed upon the slain who turned in battle against returning Messiah. But you need not attend that feast.

Turkey Vulture; Clarke County, Georgia by William Wise

Turkey Vulture; Clarke County, Georgia by William Wise

When you pass a roadside party of vultures dining on last night’s unlucky road crossing, just remind yourself, “I’d rather feast at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb than be feasted upon at the Supper of the Great God.”


We are excited to introduce a new Photographer/Writer to the Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures blog. Not only is he a great Christian photographer, but a blogger who writes about Creation topics also. Welcome, William!

Check out his website at: http://www.williamwisephoto.com/index.html

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Hyacinth Macaw

The Pantanal has two iconic species that all wildlife tourists want to see: the Hyacinth Macaw and the Jaguar. Both are spectacular in quite different ways and the Pantanal is the best place to see them. The Pantanal has many wonderful species of birds, but the Macaw is noteworthy as being perhaps the rarest and being now largely restricted in range to this area. Current population estimates are about 6,500 individual wild birds of which perhaps 5,000 are in the Pantanal.
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Like the Sunbittern, the Macaw was a must-see bird for us. In fact, it is no shrinking violet, if you’ll excuse the pun, being both the largest flying parrot and incredibly noisy. We saw our first ones on the first day, perched on the fence beside the road (the Transpantaneira) and they were present, with breeding sites, at all three lodges where we stayed. They’re up to a metre/39 inches in length and weight up to 1,700gms/60oz. Only the enigmatic Kakapo of New Zealand is heavier (up to 3,000g) but is, not surprisingly, flightless.
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Handbook of Birds of the World describes their voice as “Very loud croaking and screeching sounds including ‘kraaa’ and screeching ‘trara’ warning cry”: something of an understatement. The first four photos here were of a pair near Rio Claro lodge which first attracted my attention by the noise they were making, which reminded me of a very loud, traditional wooden football rattle. They clearly weren’t pleased to see me near what I assumed was their nesting tree, but the shape of their bills gives them a happy, welcoming appearance even if the calls and body language suggest otherwise.
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The Hyacinth Macaw lived up to its reputation. It’s a beautiful and fascinating bird. The plumage is a striking cobalt blue blending to more indigo on the upper surface of the wings, with the undersides of the flight feathers being dark grey.  The plumage contrasts wonderfully with the complementary chrome yellow bare skin on the head, an artistic touch suggestive of intelligent design. Unfortunately, its beauty makes it a popular cage bird which almost led to its demise, more about that shortly.
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They’re monogamous, normally maintaining the pair bond until the death of one partner, so they are often seen in pairs (second and fourth photos). They do not breed until they are about seven years old and have a life-span of perhaps thirty years. In the Pantanal they nest in hollows in trees, usually the Panama Tree (Sterculia apetala).  This is a soft-timbered member of the Mallow family (Malvaceae) prone to the formation of hollows from termites, fungi and woodpeckers. The Macaws don’t initiate but enlarge existing hollows as nesting sites, and often use the same site in consecutive years. They will also use the stumps of palm trees and in northeastern Brazil they also nest on cliffs.
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Typically they lay two eggs, but usually at most one young survives to fledging. The eggs and young are particularly vulnerable to predation by reptiles, birds and mammals because of the large size of the hollow and its entrance. Hyacinth Macaws are difficult to breed and rear in captivity for a variety of reasons including the specialised dietary requirements of both young and adult birds.
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In the Pantanal, the birds feed mainly on the nuts of two species of palm tree, the Acuri Palm (Scheelea phalerata) above and the Bocaiúva (Acrocomia aculeata). The Acuri fruits all year long and is the main source of food, while the Bocaiúva nuts ripen between September and December, coinciding with the peak period of hatching of the chicks.
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The nutcracker bill of Macaws are similar to those of Cockatoos, with a strong slender upper mandible aligning with a groove in the lower mandible and both can crack hard nuts with ease. The two groups are not closely related so the structures have evolved [were created] independently. Cockatoos are a purely Australasian family (Cacatuidae) while the Macaws belong to several, genera of South American Parrots (family Psittacidae, sensu stricto, or sub-family Arinae, depending on the taxonomic authority).
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The popularity of Hyacinth Macaws as cage birds almost led to their extinction in the wild in the 1980s. In this decade, perhaps 10,000 birds were trapped leaving only about 3,000 in total. The population also suffered from habitat destruction and removal of the trees on which they depend. Happily in 1990, the Hyacinth Macaw Project was started by the biologist Neives Guedes and has resulted in a tripling of the population to 5,000 in the Pantanal. You can read about it here World Wildlife Fund Brazil or download this pdf Hyacinth Macaw Project. There are, however, other populations in Brazil which have declined from a total of 1,500 birds to 1,000 in the same period, so the species is still listed as Vulnerable (2014), an improvement on its Endangered status in 2000.
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Ecotourism in the Pantanal has played its part too because of its economic importance and the other major icon, the Jaguar, has benefitted also. Boat trips from Porto Jofre in search of Jaguars is big business these days and some of the local jaguars have become quite habituated to throngs of boats and allow approach to within ten metres or so. We saw our first Jaguar crossing the road at Pixaim on our way to the Jaguar Lodge and subsequently spent two full days on boat trips when we saw another four, some of which we watched for long periods at close quarters. The one in the photo is a female which has  just emerged from hunting in the river and her fur is still wet. She is lactating, so we can suppose that she has some cubs hidden in the forest.
I’ve been steadily adding Brazilian and Chilean bird photos to the website at the rate of about one per day. If your interested in viewing them, start at the Recent Additions page which has thumbnail links to each of the species.
Greetings
Ian

Lee’s Addition:

Ian’s comment, “Current population estimates are about 6,500 individual wild birds of which perhaps 5,000 are in the Pantanal.” makes one want to hop on a plane and visit that area. Wow. Your “Bird List” would grow immensely.I am alway glad when Ian stops by to show some more of his birdwatching adventures. Those Hyacinth Macaws are so neat to see. We have only seen them in Zoos, but always thankful to see more of the Creator’s magnificent birds.

“And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” (Genesis 1:31 KJV)
“For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:” (James 3:7 KJV)
Macaws are definitely “tameable.”
Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) Cincinnati Zoo 9-5-13 by Lee

Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) by Lee

Ian’s Bird of the Week

In Our Place

Tilly’s Pumpkin House – by Emma Foster

Tilly’s Pumpkin House

by Emma Foster

Tilly the raven normally lived in a tree, but as winter came closer, the weather felt colder, and Tilly knew she needed to find a warmer place to live.

Her tree was near a small pumpkin farm, and several pumpkins had been left behind, going unused for Halloween. Tilly observed the different kinds of pumpkins that were still in the field. Many of them looked old, with green and yellow splotches on them. One of the pumpkins, however, looked perfect.

The pumpkin was large and perfectly round. When Tilly pecked at it with her beak, she noticed that it was soft enough for her to make a little door in it. She pecked her way into the pumpkin and surveyed the inside.

For a while, Tilly pulled out the seeds and guts from the inside of the pumpkin, until she had enough room to sit comfortably. Tilly felt protected from the wind and cold. Eventually, she fell asleep.

Gathering Pumpkins ©casienserio.blogspot.com

The next morning, Tilly woke up to her pumpkin house shaking. Someone had picked up her house and was taking it somewhere. Tilly peeked her head out of the door of her house. She noticed groups of people taking the old pumpkins and placing them to a pickup truck.

Pickup Truck With Pumpkins

Someone placed Tilly’s house in a pile beside other pumpkins. A second later, she rolled around and around and around as her house fell down a hill.

Splash! Tilly landed in the river. Fortunately, her house floated to the top, and the door she had made pointed up to the sky. Tilly carefully climbed out and flew back to land, sad that her house was floating away.

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Northern Raven (Corvus corax) by Ray

Snow started to fall to the ground. Tilly needed to come up with another plan. She decided to leave the pumpkin field and find somewhere else to live. Flying through the air as the snow fell, Tilly searched and found another pumpkin field. She searched for the next perfect pumpkin she could use. One of the pumpkins was soft and round just like the other one, and by the time she settled down inside, night had fallen and Tilly fell asleep instantly.

The next morning, Tilly woke up to something knocking against her new house. A deer she didn’t recognize was sniffing at her pumpkin and then took a giant chunk out of the top. Tilly looked up at the deer and the deer stared back at her. She flew out of her house, forced to watch the deer eat the rest of her pumpkin.

Deer Looking at Tilly ©CC

Deer Looking at Tilly ©CC

The snow made everything colder until Tilly could barely fly. She flew into some woods, hoping to find a tree in which to get warm. Eventually, she found a tree with a small hole in it. Tilly flew inside only to discover a small owl in the hole in the tree.

The owl introduced herself as Milly the long-eared owl. Tilly offered to leave since this was Milly’s home, but Milly explained that she was only stopping there for a minute. She said that she had found a nest in a tree a few miles away that had belonged to a raven. She also explained that long-eared owls liked to live in nests that belonged to ravens.

“Milly” – Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) ©Flickr Slgurossom

Tilly grew excited, believing that the nest Milly was talking about was hers, which meant she had to explain the pumpkin houses she had had, and how she had ended up there. Milly offered to let Tilly keep the tree to stay warm. Tilly also said that it was perfectly all right if Milly kept her nest.

All throughout the winter, Tilly stayed in the tree where she had met Milly, while Milly lived in Tilly’s nest next to the pumpkin field. When spring came around, Tilly and Milly remained friends, and Tilly even showed Milly how to make her own pumpkin house, though she didn’t recommend living there.

*

Linda Marcille carved the Raven in pumpkin.


“Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.” (Luke 10:38 KJV)

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6 KJV)

What a great story from Emma. It is enjoyable to watch her talent developing. Also, it is good to see Tilly and Milly being so hospitable. This is only fiction, but how did the animals interact with each other before the fall and the curse affected all of nature? Maybe this story is just a glimpse of how they got along so well.

Emma’s Stories

Good News

Birds of the Bible – Deuteronomy 14:16-18 V (WYC)

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata) ©WikiC

“16 a falcon, and a swan, and a ciconia,
17 and a dipper, a porphyrio, and a rearmouse, a cormorant,
18 and a calidris, all in their kind; also a lapwing and a bat.” Deuteronomy 14:16-18 Wycliffe Bible (WYC)

As we conclude our investigation of the interesting interpretation of these three verses from Wycliffe’s Bible, another amazing critter is encountered. We have been looking at these verse in these recent blogs:

Normally, these verses would read something similar to this:

Deuteronomy 14:16-18 KJV
(16)  The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
(17)  And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,
(18)  And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

Or maybe the New American Standard’s Version:

Deuteronomy 14:16-18 NASB
(16) the little owl, the great owl, the white owl,
(17) the pelican, the carrion vulture, the cormorant,
(18) the stork, and the heron in their kinds, and the hoopoe and the bat.

Webster Dictionary 1913 says:

(1): (n.) A bare-legged person; — a contemptuous appellation formerly given to the Scotch Highlanders, in allusion to their bare legs.
(2): (n.) The fieldfare.
(3): (n.) A common Old World limicoline bird (Totanus calidris), having the legs and feet pale red. The spotted redshank (T. fuscus) is larger, and has orange-red legs. Called also redshanks, redleg, and clee.

If this older dictionary entry indicates this genus, then it would refer to the Redshank clan.

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) ©WikiC

Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) ©WikiC

Or maybe the Stork would be referred to:

Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Past Me

My personal opinion, would be that the stork is not the calidris. But my opinion does not matter, only what the Greek or Hebrew of the original languages means. In this case, I have no clue other than Do Not Eat them. Thanksgiving is next week, and there is no plan to have a stuffed Stork or one of the Redshanks or Calidis clan on the table.

Today, as Christians, we are not “forbidden” to eat any certain birds, BUT, there are some of the Lord’s Avian Wonders that shouldn’t be eaten. They could be very dangerous to our health. COMMON SENSE still makes great sense.

I trust you have found this investigation of the Wycliffe’s Version of these verses interesting and informative. It definitely had me scratching my head at times. It helped me dig into the Bible and the Bird families to try to find answers.

See the Calidris clan here: Calidris

Birds of the Bible

Gospel Message

 

Woodstock’s Migration Fear

As most of you are aware, the northern birds in this hemisphere, prefer to head south, but there are a few exceptions.

Common Cranes in Israel. Many species of crane gather in large groups during migration and on their wintering grounds

There are many stories of how far they migrate, how many flock together to travel together, and many other amazing feats that the Lord’s Avian Wonders perform this time of the year.

But there are a few exceptions, Woodstock being one of them:

Snoopy and Woodstock - migration fear

Snoopy and Woodstock – migration fear

“He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.” (Psalms 115:13 KJV)

I would have loved to have had my camera handy the other morning. I was walking to the breakfast table and noticed a huge black bird through my glass sliding doors. It appeared that he was swooping up and going to land on the roof corner of our patio/lanai. I mentioned to Dan that I thought I had just seen a cormorant try to land on the roof.

While seated for breakfast, here came the bird again. This time I realized what I was seeing. [No camera handy, of course] It was a huge, immature Bald Eagle being chased by a angry Boat-tailed Grackle. Wow! He swooped up again.

Wild Immature Bald Eagle in Flight

Wild Immature Bald Eagle in Flight ©Pixers

This is similar to what it looked like underneath, but, it was a whole lot closer!!

“For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.” (Jeremiah 48:40 KJV)

This happened one more time and the last time he was just about 20 to 25 feet from where I was seated. When he flew up the last time I had a great view of his head and then all those feathers under his wings as they were fully stretched out. Double WOW!

I came to the conclusion, that this must have been the first time it had been mobbed. [Even though it was just one bird.] Maybe he felt Mugged as Woodstock was worrying about.

P.S. Dan knee surgery was Monday and he is progressing quite well. Has pain, but it gets less each day. Thanks for the continued prayer.

Birds of the Bible – Deuteronomy 14:16-18 IV (WYC)

Rearmouse (Vespertilio murinus) ©WikiC

Rearmouse or Parti-colored Bat (Vespertilio murinus) ©WikiC

“16 a falcon, and a swan, and a ciconia,
17 and a dipper, a porphyrio, and a rearmouse, a cormorant,
18 and a calidris, all in their kind; also a lapwing and a bat.” Deuteronomy 14:16-18 Wycliffe Bible (WYC)

As we continue our investigation of the interesting interpretation of these three verses from Wycliffe’s Bible, we find another amazing critter. We have been looking at these verse in these recent blogs:

Normally, these verses would read something similar to this:

Deuteronomy 14:16-18 KJV
(16)  The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,
(17)  And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,
(18)  And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

Or maybe the New American Standard’s Version:

Deuteronomy 14:16-18 NASB
(16) the little owl, the great owl, the white owl,
(17) the pelican, the carrion vulture, the cormorant,
(18) the stork, and the heron in their kinds, and the hoopoe and the bat.

Notice that all three versions us the bat in verse 18, yet now we find in Wycliff’s verse 17 a rearmouse mentioned.

According to information from the internet, the rearmouse is an archaic word used for a type of bat.

Parti-colored Bat (Vespertilio murinus) ©Flickr Rudo Jurecek

Parti-colored Bat (Vespertilio murinus) ©Flickr Rudo Jurecek

The parti-coloured bat or rearmouse (Vespertilio murinus) is a species of vesper bat that lives in temperate Eurasia.

Their twittering call, similar to a bird’s call, are to be heard particularly in the autumn during the mating season. The parti-coloured bat has a body size of 4.8–6.4 centimetres (1.9–2.5 in) with a wingspan of 26–33 cm (10–13 in), and a weight of 11–24 grams (0.39–0.85 oz). Its name is derived from its fur, which has two colours. Its back (dorsal side) is red to dark-brown, with silver-white-frosted hair. The ventral side is white or grey. The ears, wings and face are black or dark brown. The wings are narrow. The ears are short, broad and roundish. The highest known age is 12 years.

The Websters 1913 addition has this about it:

Reremouse
(1):
(n.) The leather-winged bat (Vespertilio murinus).
(2):
(n.) A rearmouse.

Parti-coloured bat or Rearmouse Wikipedia

This version, Wycliffe’s Bible Version, was taken from Bible Gateways site.

The Bat has already been written about in these two articles:

Birds of the Bible

What is the Gospel?

Whoa!! From My Window

View Though Patio Door

When I showed the first From My Window, you could see this is just a neighborhood with a small retention pond behind our home. Well, the latest photo, taken by Dan, came as a surprise.

While I was finishing up my breakfast, I noticed, what I thought was a crumpled up paper on the other side of the bank. I kept watching as it “floated” toward our side of the pond. As it got closer, I mentioned to Dan that it looked like two eyes. I stopped eating and walked to the door so I could watch closer.

WHOA!!

Finally, my suspicions were verified. A back popped up behind those eyes. AN ALLIGATOR!!!

Alligator in pond between the yards. By Dan

Dan’s camera was handy, but he didn’t have his zoom lens on. So this is the best we could do. Here is the photo after I cropped it.

Alligator in pond between the yards. Zoomed By Dan

Alligator in pond between the yards. Zoomed By Dan

It was not a very large one, maybe four or five feet long. Just a guess. I have been watching for it since Thursday, but so far haven’t seen it again.

We have noticed all the ducks that were around the pond have disappeared. They must have flown off to one of the other ponds in the neighborhood. Playing it safe. I doubt that the gator could have eaten all of them in one day. We saw the ducks on Wednesday.

I did watch an Anhinga swimming with just his head up today. Typical for the Anhingas, but he came out after a while without getting eaten. Plus, a Great Blue Heron safely fished along the bank today. So, maybe Mr. Beedie Eyes [as I have named him] has left.

Stay Tuned!!

“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” (Galatians 5:14-15 NKJV)

“Then he said to them, “The LORD had better be with you when I let you and your little ones go! Beware, for evil is ahead of you.” (Exodus 10:10 NKJV)

 

Wow!! Two Million And Counting!!

Snowy Egret Viera Wetlands – 12-31-2018 by Lee

“Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O LORD, And I will sing praises to Your name.” (Psalms 18:49 NASB)

Thank You!!, Thank You!! again for all visits and views of this blog. Last night (Oct 31, 2019) sometime the counter flipped over the Two Million mark on the visitor counter on the left side of the blog.

2 Million Views

2 Million Views

Here’s a closer view:

Close-up of Two Million Views

Close-up of Two Million Views

On October 20th in 2013, we hit the One Million Mark. See:

Thank You – One Million And Counting!

Now, here we are just a tad over 6 years to the two million mark. Who ever thought that we would still be blogging after all these years. We have now been using WordPress for over 11 years, and the blog is almost 12 years old. It was begun in February 2008, but when it was moved to WordPress the counter was reset.

I am so thankful to the Lord for letting this blog be used to present His beautifully Created birds. Also, without you readers, it would not have been successful. Thank You for every visit, pages viewed, and the many comments. Those comments have come many times when I was thinking of quitting and giving up. But, just when I needed a little extra encouragement, along came a comment that was perfectly timed to keep me going.

Red-crested Turaco at Brevard Zoo by Lee

After these many years, we have met so many people from around the world, and many have become personal friends. [At least I consider you personal friends.]

Also, those that write for the blog have made great contributions: James J.S. Johnson. or Dr. Jim, as I call him; Emma Foster and her Emma’s Stories, have been two of the newest writers used during this six year span. Also, Golden Eagle drops by occasionally. Our Ian Montgomery has provide numerous post from his birding adventures.

“God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” (Genesis 1:21-22 NASB)

Thank you, Lord, for giving us so many birds to learn and write about. Thank you, readers, for every visit to this blog. I trust that the Lord will allow me the wisdom, strength, and curiosity about the Avian Wonders from His Hand to keep writing about them.

Stay Tuned!

Feeding White Ibises at Lake Morton, by Lee [Dr. J.J.S. Johnson, Baron, and Dan]

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Sunbittern

Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Sunbittern

by Ian Montgomery

I’ve recently returned from a three week trip to South America with Trish, a close, birding friend of mine from Townsville. Our main destination was the Pantanal in western Brazil, a wetland famous for birds and jaguars, where we spent two weeks. On the way back to Australia we had a five day stopover in Santiago, Chile, fortunately before the recent unrest started. The red marker on the map below indicates the city of Cuiabá in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso. This is the usual gateway to the Pantanal and is serviced by regular, direct flights from São Paulo on the east coast.
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The Pantanal floods an area of perhaps 150,000 square kilometres southwest of Cuiabá during the wet season, November to March, and then gradually drains south during the dry season via the Paraguay River. As it does so, the wildlife becomes increasingly concentrated in the remaining water, providing the best opportunities for viewing wildlife from about July until October. Road access is provided by the Transpantaneira, a 150 km gravel road which runs through the northern Pantanal from Poconé, 100km south of Cuiabá, to Porto Jofre as on the map below.
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The Transpantaneira was planned as an overland route to Bolivia, but only got as far as the rather wide Rio São Laurenço at Porto Jofre. The road has about 150 bridges of variable quality. These are steadily being upgraded to cater for the tourist traffic but some of the remaining wooden bridges – the one below is one of the worst – aren’t for the faint-hearted. Rather than take an expensive guided tour, we made our own arrangements, renting an SUV in Cuiabá, booking accommodation at three wildlife lodges via the internet and acquiring a working knowledge of Brazilian Portuguese.
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Two of these lodges, or Pousadas in Portuguese, were in the northern part south of Poconé and were primarily birding lodges, while the third, the Jaguar Lodge, about 40 km north of Porto Jofre, provided opportunities for boat trips from Porto Jofre to view Jaguars in the area named the Parque Estadual Encontro das Aguas on the second map (“Meeting of the Waters State Park”).
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Trish and I had overlapping priorities: top of her list was perhaps the Jaguar as some years ago she had done field work on Lions and Leopards in Africa; my list had about twelve species of birds selected on various criteria including beauty, strangeness and taxonomic uniqueness. Right at the top of my list was the Sunbittern which qualified on all criteria. I’ll say a bit more about its taxonomy later but it first attracted my attention in 2015 when I found out that the only (and rather distant) relative of the Kagu of New Caledonia is the Central and South American Sunbittern.
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Our first lodge was the Pousada Rio Claro, named after the river on which it was situated. The lodge offered two-hour boat trips on the river and for a relatively modest extra fee, private boat trips were available so we did two of those. We had the same boatman on both but it wasn’t until the second one that we managed to convince him that our main target was the Sunbittern. After one and a half hours of diligent searching in riverside vegetation, sharp-eyed Trish spotted one (first photo) hunting for food in a dense and gloomy swamp beside the river and our skilful boatman managed to approach it silently so that I could get photos. Missão comprida, as they say in Portuguese.
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Later that day, we went for a drive along the Pantaneira and stopped at a muddy pond beside the road to see what was around. To our great surprise, a Sunbittern wandered out of the surrounding vegetation in full sunlight (second photo), proving once again that difficult to find birds have a habit of appearing readily once the spell has been broken by seeing the first.  In size, 43-48 cm/17-19 in long, they were smaller and more delicate-looking than I’d expected. Their intricately patterned plumage is very beautiful and wonderfully cryptic. The vertical bars on the body and the horizontal lines on the head break up its outline in a remarkable way both in the shade of the forest and in bright sunlight.
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They feed on a variety of aquatic prey, both vertebrate and invertebrate. Their technique is stealth (third photo) followed by a lighting strike (fourth photo) which is wonderful to watch.
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The Sunbittern normally appears cryptic but when it spreads its wings, in flight or in display, it reveals the spectacular pattern on the flight feathers that gives it its name. These are like huge eyes – similar to the wings of some butterflies – and are used both as threat display and in courtship. We found that Sunbitterns are reluctant to fly and when disturbed tend to walk away and hide in dense vegetation. The fifth photo shows one in flight and provides a glimpse of the wings, but it wasn’t until towards the end of our stay in the Pantanal that I managed to get a photo of one spreading its wing in preparation for flight (sixth photo).
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The classification of the Sunbittern has historically been a headache for taxonomists. Morphologically, it bears some resemblance to herons and rails (which aren’t related to each other) and has traditionally been placed in the order Gruiformes which includes the Cranes, Rails and Bustards. Recent studies (e.g. Hackett et al. 2008) which combine the fields of evolution and genomics (the study of  genes) have found that the Sunbittern and the Kagu (below) belong to the same ancient lineage which arose during the same epoch as the other major groups of birds. Consequently, a new order has been created, the Eurypygiformes, containing two families each with a single species, the Eurypgidae (Sunbittern) and the Rhynochetidae (the Kagu). The two species don’t look very similar, but the Kagu also has a banded pattern on the wings used in display.
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Unlike the flightless, endangered Kagu, endemic to New Caledonia, the Sunbittern is widespread through Central and South America from Guatemala to Bolivia and Brazil in suitable habitats combining forest and water. The Pantanal, incidentally, is near the southern end of its distribution. How one species ended up in New Caledonia and the other in the Americas is an interesting problem for biogeographers.
Greetings
Ian

Ian’s Birds of the “Moment” always surprise me. When he wrote all the Birds of the Week posts, he was very regular. Now?? Whenever the “moment” arrives, I am delighted. So, here is his latest. The Sunbittern is also a favorite of ours. Especially, when the one at Lowry Park Zoo (Zoo Tampa now) opened its wings up for a good view.

Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) by Lee at Lowry Park Zoo

Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias) by Lee at Lowry Park Zoo

Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.| (Psalms 96:6 NASB)

“How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” (Romans 10:15 NASB)

More of Ian’s Birds of the Week, Moment

Good News