Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 7/15/17

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White Ibis Photo outside my room at Sea Pines RH

I HAVE LEARNED…

TO BE CONTENT

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“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
(Philippians 4:11 KJV)

White Ibis Photo outside my room at Sea Pines Rehab Hospital

(Photos were 3′ x 4′ on the walls)

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More Daily Devotionals

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Birdwatching at Lake Morton Finally

Aflac Momma Duck at Lake Morton by Lee

Aflac Momma Duck at Lake Morton by Lee

Last week Dan and I actually got to do a little birdwatching. My back has been improving, but not healed. After 12 therapy sessions, I felt brave enough to see what was going on at Lake Morton. It is in Lakeland, Florida and you can park across the street from the lake. Easy walk for me.

Needless to say, I was excited about getting out birdwatching, but the birds had other ideas. There were very few birds other than the normal residents hanging around for a hand out. Guess the winter birds haven’t arrived yet. That top pictures show the lack of birds on the lake.

Momma Duck at Lake Morton by Lee Close-up

Momma Duck at Lake Morton by Lee Close-up

“If you happen to come upon a bird’s nest along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; you shall certainly let the mother go, but the young you may take for yourself, in order that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.” (Deuteronomy 22:6-7 NASB)

Aflac is not the name of this domestic Peking/Mallard Duck. She is pretty though she is a hybrid. She was busy working on her nest and you can see some of the things she was adding below.

Aflac Momma Duck at Lake Morton by Lee Close-up of nest material

Aflac Momma Duck at Lake Morton by Lee Close-up of nest material

Other interesting birds were some immature White Ibises, an immature Limpkin and some Wood Ducks. Like I said, it was rather quiet.

Immature White Ibis at Lake Morton by Lee

Immature White Ibis at Lake Morton by Lee

Limpkin Juvenile at Lake Morton by Lee

Limpkin Juvenile at Lake Morton by Lee

Wood Duck at Lake Morton by Lee

Wood Duck at Lake Morton by Lee

Any day we can go birdwatching is always enjoyable. There is usually something that is there to see. Life is not made up of big events all the time, just the everyday normal sights. When we do get to see special birds or whatever, then that makes them extra nice.

Here is a video of that Wood Duck and his mate bouncing around in the water. Trust you don’t get seasick. They seem to have been created to handle floating and bobbing well.

The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. (Genesis 7:18 NASB)

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Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida III

PondsideBirdwatching-WebelBackyard.2

Pond-side Birdwatching-Webel Backyard

Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida,

from Chaplain Bob’s Backyard: Part 3

 by James J. S. Johnson

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14)

But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity. (Ezekiel 7:16)

O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth.  (Jeremiah 48:28)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Daves BirdingPix

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Daves BirdingPix

Doves (a kind of birds that include pigeons) are among the most commonly observed birds in the world.  Doves display great variety (mourning dove, turtle dove, zebra dove, Inca dove, white-winged dove, etc.), the most popular variety being the pigeon (whose more formal name is “rock dove”).   Doves illustrate 2 different nesting habits (both being mentioned in Deuteronomy 22:6-7):  some nest in trees or other high places; others nest on the ground. Pigeons are often seen, due to their conspicuous habit of domesticating urban habitats (such as city buildings and bridges), nesting in high places (as indicated by , feeding, and flying in plain view of human spectators – often learning to accept food from humans, or to scavenge human garbage.  However, other doves (such as mourning doves) nest on the ground, a more vulnerable lifestyle.  Doves that nest on the ground, however, tend to be more reclusive (hiding in bushes and other thick vegetation), so they are more often heard than seen.  For example, in this birding report, brief mention will be made of a cooing mourning dove – that was heard, but not seen.

As reported previously, at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures, it was a wonderful morning in St. Petersburg, where 3 of us  (my dear friends in Christ, Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel, and I)  were watching the duck-populated pond and its bird-visited shores, with coffee and feet propped up, in the Webels’ backyard —  under a huge beach umbrella, shielded from occasional droppings (!) from ibises and ospreys (who were perched in branches hanging over where we were) sitting with binoculars, coffee mugs, healthy breakfast foods, and a bird-book.  Mostly we were bird-watching, that morning, but also we were bird-listening!

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck

MUSCOVY   (a/k/a “MUSCOVY DUCK” or “BARBARY DUCK”:  Cairina moschata).

RTP @ 52-53 & 302-303

The Muscovy Duck is a strange looking fowl.  (And its name refers to “musk”, so it must have a characteristic smell, too!)  It is a duck, yet it is large – the size of a goose.  Yet even stranger are the colorful growths of red flesh upon its face:  the Muscovy looks like someone spilled some red bumpy-lumpy oatmeal on the sides of its bill, and on some of them the “red oatmeal” stuck to the face even around the eyes.  This fleshy growth is wattle-like “caruncle”, something like what turkey faces display.  Some people dislike the Muscovy Duck simply because its knobby (i.e., carunculated) face looks grotesque or diseased or “corrupted”!  But Mallards don’t seem to disdain these beauty contest flunkies; often a Muscovy (or two) is seen amidst a group of Mallards, and it seems that maybe they sometimes hybridize.  The coloring of a Muscovy Duck might be mostly white, or mostly black (with iridescent green tinting), or a quilt-patched mixture of black and white, with large white “patches” or “bars” on the wings.   (See Roger Tory Peterson, A Field Guide to the Birds Eastern Birds:  A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America, abbreviated as “Eastern Birds” [Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin, 1980], at pages 52-53 & 302-303.)   The Muscovy’s awkward gait, when waddling about, sometimes looks a clumsy-looking, but these strange ducks are hearty survivors.  Regardless of where they came from (some say Latin America), these ducks are here to stay.   A domesticated form of the Muscovy is bred as the Pato Criollo (i.e., Creole Duck), though it seems that many of these have figured out how to escape their intended culinary destinies, becoming semi-wild as escapees. Muscovy Ducks have been observed and studied for centuries.  The Muscovy Duck was noted by two of the earliest (and most godly) eco-science geniuses, Konrad Gessner and John Ray, both being Bible-believing creationists.  To appreciate just an introductory sample of their trail-blazing creation research, analysis, and scholarship, see:  http://www.icr.org/article/christianity-cause-modern-science/  (mentioning John Ray),   http://www.icr.org/article/graffiti-judgment/  (mentioning, in Footnote #3, both Konrad Gessner and John Ray),  and  http://www.icr.org/article/fossil-political-correctness-sixteenth-century (mentioning Konrad Gessner as a Bible-believing Christian ecologist).

Feeding White Ibises at Lake Morton

Feeding White Ibises at Lake Morton

WHITE  IBIS   (Eudocimus albus).

The White Ibis is a white-plumed wading bird, with a reddish/orange-scarlet/pinkish/salmon-colored “decurved” (i.e., downward-curved) bill — shown here (with Dan Dusing, Baron Brown, and me  —  in a lakeshore photograph taken by ornithologist Lee Dusing) being fed bread crumbs.  The White Ibis is a gregarious bird, nesting in colonies and often seen foraging as a group.  Its homes are found in coastal mudflats, lakes and lakeshores, ponds and pondshores, and marshy areas.  (Obviously this group of ibises have been fed bread crumbs before – they are quite ready for a tasty snack!)  During the breeding season the White Ibis also has skinny pink legs (about the same color as its prominent bill, but at non-breeding times these legs are duller in color),  —  and this bird knows how to scurry about on those legs! The decurved bill, of course, is an excellent tool for probing around in shoreline mud or sand, for little things to eat, such as small crustaceans (like mudcrabs), frogs, or bugs.  (Obviously God gets the credit, for designing the ibis bill to accomplish what it does for the ibis, as well as for supplying ibis populations with the food sources they need to carry on the business of life.)  If the White Ibis bill snaps your fingers, as you feed him (or her) a bread-crumb, don’t worry!  –  the ibis’s bill is so light and gentle that its peck doesn’t hurt at all.  The White Ibis is found all over Florida, year-round, as well as on the Gulf Coast and America’s East Coast as far north as North Carolina.   (See Peterson’s Eastern Birds” [noted above, in entry for Muscovy Duck], at page M105.)  Why do fishermen especially appreciate the White Ibis?   The ibises eat a lot of shoreline crustaceans (like crabs and crayfish), which in turn eat fish eggs.  So if the crustacean populations grow too much, eating lots of fish eggs, the fish populations decline – bad news for fishermen.  Without consciously realizing it, therefore, the White Ibis is protecting the reproductive success of coastal fish populations — on which human fishermen (and their customers) rely.   (See the National Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Birds – Eastern Region [Alfred A, Knopf, 1994 revised edition], co-authored by John Bull & John Farrand, Jr., at page 376.)

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

GREAT  WHITE  EGRET   (Ardea alba  or  Casmerodius albus).

The Great White Egret (a/k/a “Great Egret”) is a large long-legged heron-like wading bird, white in plumage, with a yellow bill and black legs.  (See Bull & Farrand’s Eastern Region [noted above, in entry for White Ibis], at page 368.)  This truly “great” egret is often seen standing, like a statute, on the shoreline of a pond, waiting for movement that would betray the availability, in the shallow water or the shoreline weeds, of a quick meal  –  perhaps a fish, a frog, or even a snake.   Donald and Lillian Stokes describe its eating habits as follows:  “Primarily feeds by walking slowly, head erect, then striking prey.  Forages in shallow water for small fish and amphibians [like frogs], but also on land for insects, reptiles [like snakes], and small mammals.  May feed solitarily and defend feeding areas by displaying aggressively and supplanting intruders.  Also feeds in large groups when food is concentrated.  Has been known to steal fish from other birds.” (Quoting Donald W. Stokes & Lillian Q. Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region [Little, Brown & Co., 1996], page 34.)  During summer this egret also frequents marshy grasslands, tidal mudflats, salt marsh beaches, and other wet habitats – all over America’s lower 48 states.  During winter this fair-weather fowl routinely migrates to America’s East (northward to Delaware), Gulf Coast, and West Coast.  It makes guttural-hoarse croaking noises, as well as loud squawking noises, but it is usually seen before it is heard – due to its large size and strikingly white color.  Its flight is majestic and gracious  —  a marvel to watch, with or without binoculars.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) by J Fenton

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) by J Fenton

COMMON  TERN   (Sterna hirundo).

The Common Tern is one of the many coastline-dwelling birds that get lumped into the term “seagull”.  The Common Tern has been described as “White with black cap and pale gray back and wings.  Bill red with black tip; tail deeply forked.  Similar to Forster’s Tern, but lacks frosty wing tip.  Also similar to Arctic and Roseate Terns.”  (Quoting Bull & Farrand’s Eastern Region [noted above, in entry for White Ibis], at page 519.)  This seagull likes to nest in colonies, often on sandy beaches or on small islands, near lakes, bays, or ocean tidewaters.  Unsurprisingly, the males are the more aggressive sex, although a male intruder may be rebuffed by a male-and-female pair  —  so don’t mess with a Common Tern couple!  (See “Common Tern”, by Donald W. Stokes & Lillian Q. Stokes, in Bird Behavior, Volume III [Little, Brown & Co., 1989], page 71.)

Mourning Dove by Reinier Munguia

Mourning Dove by Reinier Munguia

MOURNING  DOVE   (heard cooing  —   Zenaida macroura).

Many books could be written about the Mourning Dove, and about its many cousins – such as the “pigeon” (Rock Dove) – that inhabit so many rural, suburban, and urban places around the world (as noted above, at the beginning of this birding report).  But a better description and appreciation for this bird must wait another day, because this report is already too long!  So, for now, this report closes with a passing mention that “mourning” was heard that morning – the plaintive cooing of the (well-named) Mourning Dove.  But no need for sadness  –  because it will soon be (God willing) another day for pondside birdwatching in Florida!


On the morning of February 9th, AD2015, from the pond-side backyard of Bob & Marcia Webel (while enjoying breakfast and Christian fellowship with the Webels), I saw 14 birds:  Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelican, Mallard, Double-Crested Cormorant, Black Vulture, Wood Stork, Lesser Scaup, Osprey, Snowy Egret, and Florida Gallinule,  as reported previously,  —  and, as reported hereinabove, Muscovy Duck, Great Egret, White Ibis, and Common Tern, plus the cooing of a nearby Mourning Dove was clearly recognizable.  What a morning!


James J. S. Johnson loves duck ponds, having formerly taught Environmental Limnology and Water Quality Monitoring for Dallas Christian College, as well as other courses on ecology and ornithology.  Limnology terms are not universal:  what some call a “pond” others call a “lake”.  [NOTE:  Some use the temperature of the bottom water as the lentic nomenclature determinant:  if the bottom water is the same temperature, year-round (i.e., regardless of whether it is winter or summer), it’s deep enough to be a “lake” – otherwise limnologists call it a “pond”.]   Regardless of this semantic custom, the “pond” viewed in the foregoing bird-watching report is called “Lake Coronado” in Florida’s Pinellas County.  J


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Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida I

Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida II

Other Articles by James J. S. Johnson

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Latest Wood Stork Encounter

Wood Stork at Lake Morton by Lee

Wood Stork at Lake Morton by Lee

I know all the birds of the mountains (and Lake Morton) , And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)

We finally had a chance to take a short birdwatching adventure to Lake Morton over in Lakeland. I have been battling a cold and cough for the last three weeks. Our trips to Lake Morton don’t require much walking and it is one of the few places that people feed the birds.

When someone parks their car, before they can get across the street, the birds start walking towards them. Needless to say, the birds are expecting something.

Wood Stork up close by Lee at Lake Morton

Wood Stork up close by Lee at Lake Morton

As I was walking across the street, here they came; Wood Stork in the lead because of its long legs, White Ibises next, followed by the waddling shorter legged birds – Mute Swans, Mallards, Muscovy Duck and then the fly-ins – Boat-tailed Grackles and the Gulls. The Wood Stork met me at the curb.

Of course when you have a treat for them, you become the “Pied Piper.” Apparently, someone must have recently fed them, because they were gathered loosely together. Once I got to the table and sat down, the group gathered around. I was enjoying them so much, I didn’t take many photos then.

White Ibis on Table by Lee

American White Ibis on Table by Lee

Once the food gave out, of which I didn’t have much to begin with, they moseyed off to rest in the shade until the next visitor with a bag of goodies came. One White Ibis hopped upon the table behind me, but too late because the bag was empty. Took its photo, but it was almost too close.

Woodstork & Lee by Dan at Lake Morton

Woodstork & Lee by Dan at Lake Morton

One of the resident Wood Storks walked up in front of me and stood there. I reassured him that I had nothing else, but he (or she) just stayed there. I started talking to it, motioned to come closer, and it did. I could have reached out and touched the Wood Stork, but chose not to with that long beak. Have you ever heard a Wood Stork’s beak “snap” when it grabs food? It is loud. No, I like my fingers!

Wood Stork close-up by Lee at Lake Morton

Wood Stork close-up by Lee at Lake Morton

We sat face to face for about 4 minutes of so; me talking and him just standing there looking at me.

Even though they are “ugly,” they are really neat. Have you ever seen a Wood Stork in the air? They are so beautiful and graceful, but up this close? I assured him that the Lord had created him and that He makes no mistakes.

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite. (Psalms 147:5 NKJV)

Wood Stork flying over Lake Morton by Lee 2009

Wood Stork flying over Lake Morton by Lee 2009

 The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s? (Job 39:13 NKJV)

Wood Storks belong to the Ciconiidae – Storks Family and are also one of our Birds of the Bible.

Oh, I almost forgot. Since the Wood Stork was so close, I took a close up of its feet.

Wood Stork's Feet by Lee

Wood Stork’s Feet by Lee

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The First Birds of 2014

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) 1st Birds of 2014 by Lee

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) 1st Birds of 2014 by Lee

About 8:30 am I was sitting at our table and caught a glimpse of some white birds landing in the front yard. Looking out, I saw 22 American White Ibises. Yeah! My first birds sighted in 2014. I went back in and after a while decided to get my camera. Three had left, but 19 were left. Here are some photos and a video I made of them.

Oh, sing to the LORD a new song! Sing to the LORD, all the earth. (Psalms 96:1 NKJV)

For the Athenians, all of them, and the foreign residents and visitors among them spent all their leisure time in nothing except telling or hearing something newer than the last– (Acts 17:21 AMP)

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) 1st Birds of 2014 by Lee

American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus) 1st Birds of 2014 by Lee

The photos are blurred around their heads, but when you watch the video, you will see why. Their heads are bobbing constantly as they probe for goodies out of my neighbor’s and my yard. They had originally landed in our yard on the right. By the time I got the camera, they had worked their way next door. I figured that I would do good to get a photo. But! They turned around and worked their way back to our yard.

As you can tell it was drab and drizzling rain. It was also cool and I was standing out in my bare feet and my pajamas. What we won’t do to get that 1st sighting and photo of a bird in a new year.

Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) 2nd Bird of 2014 by Lee

Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) 2nd Bird of 2014 by Lee

I kept hearing a Boat-tailed Grackle in the tree, so decided to get his photo. So he was #2 and as I looked through the lens, there was #3 behind him. That is an Eurasian Collared Dove. Not to be left out, #4 landed on that tree. A male Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) 3rd and 4th Birds of 2014 by Lee

Eurasian Collared Dove and Red-bellied Woodpecker 3rd and 4th Birds of 2014 by Lee

There you have my first birds of 2014
1. American White Ibis (Eudocimus albus)
2. Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major)
3. Eurasian Collared Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
4. Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus)

How about you? 

Also, if there are any photographers that would like to share photos with the blog on a regular basis, contact me at Lee@Leesbird.com. I am always eager to have photos available for showing the birds as we write about them. A link and credit are given to you.

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2014′s First Bird Seen

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