Gatorland Again – February 2021

Me Showing What A Gator Will Do To You – Chomp -Gatorland

Today was a beautiful day for another trip over to Gatorland in Orlando, Florida. [About a 50 mile ride] It is still a bit early for the chicks to arrive, but some Great Egrets were nesting. It was a cloudless day, and from the next photo, you can see that there are plenty of birds in the distance on nest. Unfortunately, you cannot get very close to those.

Gatorland Feb 25, 2021 by Lee

Gatorland Feb 25, 2021 by Lee

Zoomed in – Gatorland

After we enter toward the bottom left of the park [see map], we proceed to the boardwalk where we take most of our photos [#24 and #25]. We come back to the front and usually stop by #39 and #40 where we take the photos of the Flamingos and the “taxi rides.” Stay tuned, I took some good videos today. [Later post]

Map of Gatorland Showing Boardwalk

By the time we make that loop, we have been there a couple of hours. Today I walked with my walker instead of renting electric wheels. Whew! Two hours was enough. It is over a mile around that loop. [I stopped to take lots of photos :) ] By the way, in a week, Dan and I will be getting our second Covid vaccine shot. Yeah! I’m tired of wearing masks! And not going birding very often.

While the photos and videos are being sorted and made ready, here is a new critter that has been added to the displays along the front of the park. It is a Serval Wild Cat. I have never seen it here, but it is a beautiful wild cat that comes from Africa. Serval – Wikipedia

Jabari the Serval - Gatorland 02252021 by Lee

Jabari the Serval – Gatorland 02252021 by Lee

Jabari the Serval - Gatorland 02252021 by Lee

Jabari the Serval

Jabari the Serval - Gatorland 02252021 by Lee

Jabari the Serval

What a creation from the Creator!

“And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:24-25 KJV)

If you missed the December trip to Gatorland posts, check these out:

Wordless Birds

Truly Strange Bird – Creation Moments

A Truly Strange Bird

Psalm 40:5
“Many, O LORD my God, [are] thy wonderful works [which] thou hast done, and thy thoughts [which are] to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: [if] I would declare and speak [of them], they are more than can be numbered.”

Though God created the entire living kingdom in only a few days, the variety and creativity of what He made seems nearly unlimited by our standards. One of the more unusual creatures He made was thought extinct until it was rediscovered in 1958.

The kakapo parrot lives in New Zealand. The most unusual parrot on Earth, it is one of only a few known parrots that prefers to sleep during the day and becomes active at night. Weighing in at five pounds, it is also the world’s heaviest parrot. It is, perhaps not surprisingly, the world’s only non-flying parrot.

The Creator’s unusual expression of inventive creativity in designing the kakapo did not end here. The mating habits of the kakapo are especially peculiar for birds. In mating season, the males gather in locations that are used year after year for mate selection. Female parrots come to these places to inspect the males to select a mate. However, in most un-bird-like fashion, the males provide absolutely no help building the nest or rearing the young.

The kakapo is remarkable because of its many strange traits, most of which would make it least fit for survival. In other words, not only is it an unusual creature, but its more unusual characteristics seem to put it at a disadvantage as far as evolution is concerned. So while evolution would not have made the kakapo, our inventive Creator did, perhaps as a witness against evolution.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I thank You for the beauty and creativity You have placed into Your work of creation and for the blessings these gifts add to life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Author: Paul A. Bartz

Ref: Discover, Mar. 1985. p. 36. Photo: Kakapo by Chris Birmingham CCA 2.0.xcf

© 2020 Creation Moments

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila) ©Dept of Conservation

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila) ©Dept of Conservation

Just thought you might enjoy reading about this uniquely created Avian Wonder from Our Creator.

Whistling Duck Visitors

I glanced out our back door and saw two Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks just a few feet from the patio. I was so busy enjoying watching them, that I forgot to pick up my camera, which was right near me. By the time my brain kicked in and I got the lens cap off, they were heading back to the water.

The three photos are not good, but they at least “prove” they were here. :o)

Whistling Ducks in Backyard Feb 2021

Whistling Ducks in Backyard Feb 2021

Heading toward the water:

Whistling Ducks in backyard – Feb 21, 2021

We have seen Whistling Ducks landing on the other strip of water, but they don’t land on our water often. In fact, this winter has provided less avian wonders than last year. In Lack of Birds to Watch I mentioned them chopping down the forest right here by us. Well, it is completely gone, and they are just about ready to start building the 93 new home there. The streets are laid out, sewers in, etc. I am happy with any birds that stop by this year.

Here are a few facts about Black-bellied Whistling-ducks:

“In the family of waterfowl, the tropical whistling-ducks rank midway between geese and dabbling ducks. They are gooselike in appearance, with long necks and long legs; they graze grainfields, usually feeding at night. However their high-pitched whistling calls are typical of neither goose nor duck; and in flight, with necks and legs extended, they suggest a flock of ibises. Nesting colonies of the black-bellied whistling-duck occur in Texas, often around livestock water areas. When feeding in cornfields, they perch on mature stalks to glean the ears.” (Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, Terres ,p214)

I find it interesting, that the Creator created these with just their own niche to fill. We each have just a niche to fill that the Lord has gifted us to do. Whistling is mentioned three times in the Bible. One in particular is when the Lord whistles for the dispersed Jews to return to their land.

“I will whistle for them and gather them, For I will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased.” (Zechariah 10:8 NKJV)

There was a flock that landed back in March of last year:

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks by Lee 3-15-20

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks by Lee 3-15-20

Now for a couple of really good photos by Dan. He went to Circle B Reserve, a few days earlier. He went early morning for just an hour. He caught a beautiful Female Cardinal and a Warbler, that I think is a Myrtle or the old Butter Butt kind. They split them up, and I am not sure what this bird is. So, leave a comment if you know.

Female Northern Cardinal at Circle B Reserve by Dan

“To be named” Warbler at Circle B Reserve by Dan

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” (Psalms 91:14 KJV

“Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—This time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD.”(Jeremiah 16:21 NASB)

[Bolding and Italics – Mine]

Indecisive Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Sunday Inspiration – Whistling, White-backed Ducks, and Geese

Birds of the Bible – Whistling Ducks

How Can We Know that We’ll Go to Heaven

When Birds Shake

Virginia Partridge (under attack by diving hawk) (Public Domain)

“The fish of the sea, the birds of the heavens, the beasts of the field, all the creeping things that creep on the earth, and all the men who are on the face of the earth will shake at My presence; the mountains also will be thrown down, the steep pathways will collapse and every wall will fall to the ground.” (Ezekiel 38:20 NASB)

I had never noticed this verse before about birds shaking, along with all the rest of Creation. While in our reading of Ezekiel, we came across this verse the other morning. My “Blog Idea” bell went off, and have been wondering if birds shake much during their life normally. This verse refers to a very serious situation in the future, and refers to the Lord’s presence.

Birds shake their tails and feathers after bathing, displaying, or as aggression. Yet, do they shake out of fear? Let’s see what we can find out:

How might the birds be acting?

From The Spruce – Bird Emotions

White-bellied Sea Eagle captured a Lesser Whistling Duck ©WikiC

Fear and tension: Frightened birds exhibit several behaviors that demonstrate their fear. Quick flight and escape is the most common reaction to fear and is the same fight-or-flight response humans use. Other fear indicators include freezing in place, crouching, increased respiration rate, widened eyes, and alarm or distress calls. These are all similar fear indicators to humans freezing in fear, a racing heart, and screams of terror. Parent birds may also show fear for their offspring by using different distraction displays or other tactics in an attempt to lure predators away from vulnerable chicks.

Birds have had to face fear and dread every since they left the ark after the flood.

“And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.” (Genesis 9:2 NKJV)

“Adam and Eve originally were given dominion over all the animal creation (Genesis 1:26), but sin came in and then, after the Flood, God placed the fear and dread of man “upon all that moveth upon the earth” (Genesis 9:2), and the primeval fellowship between man and his animal friends was broken. [Days of Praise – To The Animals]

Black Bear

Yet, this fear mentioned in Ezekiel will not only be for birds, it is for all of Creation and mankind. This is what I would describe as TERROR! That puts the shakes in all of creation.

38:20 shake at my presence. The entire world and all its creatures will be affected by this convulsion of nature, the greatest since the global deluge of Noah’s day. Yet this will only be a precursor of the still greater global earthquakes described during the coming tribulation period (Revelation 6:12-14; 16:18-20). (From New Defender’s Bible Study Notes)

Thankfully, there is Good News for people to avoid this coming tribulation. Most of these articles clearly show how to assure you will not be on earth when this occurs.

 

What Alarms Are You Sounding?

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

“Birds’ lives are so filled with danger that they’re on alert at all times, just to stay alive. Luckily, they have several tactics to avoid becoming the next meal for a cat or hawk. One, of course, is to fly away, a good choice, but not always possible. Another is to call in a troop of other birds to set up such a clamor that the predator is driven from the neighborhood. But in cases where the threat is too close and too dangerous, birds freeze in hiding while making soft, high-pitched sounds that serve as a warning to other birds.” [Bird Warning Calls Work Across Species]

Black-capped Chickadee

“Birds give a lot of “false alarms” or brief low-level alarms. With practice you will become sensitive to the higher intensity of real alarm calls, and when these calls are sustained for several minutes, and directed at one spot, you can be fairly certain a predator is there.” [Sibley Guides – Understanding Alarm Calls of Birds]

Here Sibley was using the alarm to help find the bird who was giving the warning.

We have been reading through Ezekiel in our devotions, and came across the often preached passage in Chapter 33. This was written to warn Israel, but it applies to us also. We all know people who need to be warned. As you read through this passage, you will see why I thought of the alarms from our Avian Wonders from the Lord.

Ezekiel 33:1-9 NASB
(1)  And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
(2)  “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,
(3)  and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,

Barking Boobook (Ninox connivens) by Ian

(4)  then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
(5)  ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.

Unwatchful Dove ©S.Young

(6)  ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
(7)  “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.

Birds Mobbing Owl and Warning Others To The Danger With Their Calls ©Andrew O’Connor

(8)  “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.
(9)  “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

[Bolding Mine]

I trust we are all doing our part to warn the lost of their need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sharing the Gospel

More Cinquains

American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) singing by J Fenton

American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) singing by J Fenton

Thought I would continue with the challenge to another Cinquain. See: Eagle Cinquain

Especially since a friend in South Carolina tried the challenge and sent this Cinquain:

Covid

Scary, deadly

Disruptive, threatening

God is in control of Covid.

Full Peace

Here is my second attempt at writing a Cinquain:

Bright yellow female American Goldfinch perched on pine sapling. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Song Bird

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) by Robert Scanlon

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus) by Robert Scanlon

Making Music

American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) by Daves BirdingPix

American Yellow Warbler (Setophaga aestiva) by Daves BirdingPix

Happy and Contented

Sweetly Singing In The Pine Tree

Carolina Chickadee in pine tree (photo credit: FeederWatch.org )

Peaceful

 

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27 KJV)

Song Bird

Making Music

Happy and Contented

Sweetly Singing In The Pine Tree

Peaceful

I still think these look like trees, Sandra Connor. See her challenges at:

Sandra Connor’s Three Day Cinquain Challenge

Trust you are enjoying these Cinquains. Why not send me your attempt, or post them on your blog and send a link to Sandra Connor’s blog and leave a comment here.

Eagle Cinquain

What is the Gospel?

Eagle Cinquain

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Ray Barlow

My blogging friend, Sandra Connor, has challenged her readers to write a Cinquain, then post it. Well, here is my first attempt at writing one of these.

First I had to find out HOW. So, she sent us to her link that explains how: Ahyoka/Cinquain

Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) by TAJA

Here we go:

Eagles

Flying Aloft

What A Majestic Sight

Displaying, Surveying, Preying

Eagles

I had kidded her about it looking like a tree, but then so does mine.

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) ©WikiC

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) ©WikiC

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

If you would like to join the challenge, swing by her sight and check it out. Also, you could leave one below in the comments.

Three-Day Coffee Cinquain Challenge – Day 1

Birds of the Bible – Eagles

Ten Beautiful Hummingbirds

An interesting video with ten of the most beautiful Hummingbirds in the world.

What a Creator! Such variety and colors. I love the way the sun reflects on them and its affect on them.

How well are we reflecting?

“The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;” (Numbers 6:25 NKJV)

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

“Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake.” (Psalms 31:16 NKJV)

Copper-rumped Hummingbird by Judd Patterson

Copper-rumped Hummingbird by Judd Patterson

“Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.” (Psalms 119:135 NKJV)

Marvelous Spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis) ©©Dubi Shapiro

“”You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV)

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Good News

Great Egret by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan in 2020

“…O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalms 139:1-3 NKJV)

This Great Egret’s pose caused me to chuckle, but also to think about how their neck can be raised and lowered. “Up and Down” Egrets, Herons, and other birds with long necks seem to like to pull them down. Scrunch them!

At times, especially now, with so many things, like Covid, and other challenges of life, make us want to just go somewhere and hide. Here are a few verses I found about having ups and downs:

Great Egret by Dan at Gatorland in 2015

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.’ “Rain down, you heavens, from above, And let the skies pour down righteousness; Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together. I, the LORD, have created it.” (Isaiah 45:5-8 NKJV)

Great Blue Heron Lake Morton by Dan

“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19 NKJV)

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan (2014)

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright.” (Psalms 20:7-8 NKJV)
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20 NKJV)

[bolding and italics mine]

Trust these photos and verses are an encouragement for you today. Lord’s Blessings

Dan’s Pix

Wordless Bird – Green-tail Sunbird

Silver, Gold, and Hearts

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

Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) by Dario Sanches

Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) by Dario Sanches

“The refining pot is for silver

Golden Tanager (Tangara arthus) ©WikiC

and the furnace for gold,

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

Bleeding Heart Pigeons

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

A simple blog with a great message.

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

Sharing The Gospel

Birdwatching and More Photos By Dan at Gatorland

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

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

Snowy Egret and Gator at Gatorland by Dan

Snowy Egret and Gator at Gatorland by Dan

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

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

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

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

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

Where is our focus?

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

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

Trust you have been enjoying these Gatorland posts:

The Wise Owl

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

Tricolored Heron by Dan

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

Tricolored Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Great Blue Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Great Blue Heron by Dan at Gatorland

See:  Wishful Thinking

Black Vulture by Dan at Gatorland

Black Vulture by Dan at Gatorland

See:  Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

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

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

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

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

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

Stay Tuned! I have some more of his photos.

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

The rest of our Gatorland trip in December:

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

Wordless Birds