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

Lack of Birds To Watch

Staying in as much as we have lately, the birds were at least coming by for a visit. Now that fall has arrived, we were expecting the birds to return. BUT!

Northern Mockingbird on Hook 2
Northern Mockingbird on Hook, last spring.
The trees beyond those houses are the beginning of the forest.

The feeders are filled, yet the birds are not returning. Could it be because they are destroying a huge area of trees right here by us???

Here is a picture, from the weather radar zoomed in on this area. It is a satellite view. The bare spot at the top is where the new houses were put in last year. (Of course, the view is the newest that they have released.)

Before they started clearing

The dark spot in front is a huge forest. When I have shown photos of the birds, those trees have been visible over the houses. That strip of trees is about all that is left of all of those woods. They are clearing it all out for another housing addition. I am expecting any day for those trees to disappear. When they do, I’ll update and show a photo with the trees gone.

The Trees already gone as of today.

The yellow outlines the area that has already been cleared. When that little section is cleared, who knows if many birds will come back this winter. With our area being new, there are few trees that have been planted, and the ones that have been, are only a few feet tall.

Yet! There is always hope for the strange finds now and then. We were visited by a new bird about a week ago. One we have not seen that often. First time we saw one was in Louisiana years ago.

Loggerhead Shrike on Oct 1, 2020

What a surprise!! This Shrike is a first for our yard, and a first in a long time since we spotted the last one.

Loggerhead Shrike 1 Oct 2020-2
Loggerhead Shrike 1 Oct 2020

Stay tuned to see what might show up this winter. I am hoping that we have as many as last winter, but we shall see. Thankfully, we still have the water birds walking by now and then. Oh! Another gator has shown up and ate a Muscovy Duck recently. But that is another post.

Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy Before the LORD, for He is coming; For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, And the peoples in His faithfulness. (Psalms 96:12-13) [Unfortunately, these trees will not be in that chorus

Who Paints The Leaves?

Backyard Birding – Green Heron

Watching birds from our backyard/backdoor is becoming quite interesting. Our latest visitor to the water’s edge is this Green Heron. He caught our attention again this morning while we were having breakfast. Of course, by the time I got my camera on, he flew off. The Joys and Disapointments of birdwatching. These photos are cropped so that you can see him better. These were taken a few days ago.

Green Heron 6-9-20 by Lee Cropped

And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Leviticus 11:19)

What is so amazing about this sighting is how hard we have searched for them on birdwatching trips. Green Herons (Butorides virescens) are known to be secretive, and because of their colors, stay well hidden in the mangroves and other bushes along the water. When we spot “Greenies” on a trip, it is usally one of our highlights.

“Compared with most herons, Green Herons are short and stocky, with relatively short legs and thick necks that are often drawn up against their bodies. They have broad, rounded wings and a long, daggerlike bill. They sometimes raise their crown feathers into a short crest.” All About Birds – Size & Shape

Green Heron 6-9-20 by Lee Cropped

Interesting Fact from Wikipedia: “Green herons are one of the few species of bird known to use tools. In particular, they commonly use bread crusts, insects, or other items as bait. The bait is dropped onto the surface of a body of water in order to lure fish. When a fish takes the bait, the green heron will then grab and eat the fish. When green herons catch large frogs, they will drown them before swallowing them whole.

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

I posted this video back in 2013, and thought you might enjoy it again.

“Color Pattern – From a distance Green Herons look all dark. In better light they are deep green on the back with a rich chestnut breast and neck. The wings are dark gray. Juveniles are browner, with pale streaking on the neck and spots on the wings.” All About Birds

Green Heron 6-9-20 by Lee Cropped

Here is a previous photo taken at Flamingo Gardens, Florida several years ago. That is the way you normally find them. Not out in the open like our current one.

Green Heron at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

 

Backyard Birding – Maybe Part III

Gator and Sandhill Cranes 05-20-20 by Lee

Gator and Sandhill Cranes 05-20-20 by Lee

“Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established.” (Proverbs 4:26 NKJV)

In Backyard Birding – Maybe Part I and Part II, I referred to our gator that hangs out at the edge of our backyard. Here is the video I promised.

The two Sandhills had been on our back lanai and we had shooed them off. They went down to the water at the end of our yard and started teasing the gator. They jumped up a few times and just looked at him. Then they flew across to the other bank, and that is where I captured this on video.

[I thought I knew how to kill parts of the sound, but it killed it all. So I left the sound on. We were eating our breakfast when all of this was occurring. I was sitting in my chair filming this.]

From the following articles, it is obvious that Sandhill Cranes are quite common here in central Florida. They are fun to watch, except when the peck on the back sliding door.

Sandhill Cranes ousidet window Coventry by Lee

Sandhill Cranes ousidet window Coventry by Lee

“Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 8:7 KJV)

“Sandhill Cranes mate for life, choosing their partners based on dancing displays. Displaying birds stretch their wings, pump their heads, bow, and leap into the air.” [All About Birds – Sand Hill Cranes]

More about Cranes:

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe Part II

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Our gator adventure has been keeping me from using my bench, but we still have lots of birds to watch. Just from a safer distance. In Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe, I explained why I haven’t used my bench too much yet. The talk of the neighborhood, “our own gator,” brings visitors to the water. As I mentioned before, we don’t get to see it most of the time because of the embankment.

When he [or she] moves more to the middle of the water, then we get to see it. When we came home from church, Sunday (5-17), there he was. We both grabbed our cameras, which we now keep at the table by the door. Here is what I saw:

Dan taking a photo of the gator and me taking of photo of him.

Dan taking a photo of the gator and me taking of photo of him.

Then I zoomed in on what he was taking a photo of:

What Dan Was Photographying by Lee 5-17-20

What Dan Was Photographying by Lee 5-17-20

We still have that Variant House Finch stopping by. He feeds at the feeder up by the door. Much safer there. The sun was shining brightly, and it made him almost glow. Here a few I took a few days ago:

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Variant House Finch 5-14-20

Also recently, the three species I mentioned in the first post, we spotted though the door on May 16th. Here are a few more closeups:

Great Blue Heron close up

Great Blue Heron close up

“And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.” (Leviticus 11:19 KJV) – Don’t Eat List

Great Blue Heron with neck bent in S

Great Blue Heron with neck bent in S – Sandhill Crane in foreground

Great Egret 5-16-20

Great Egret 5-16-20

I know these are not the greatest photos, but I sure do enjoy seeing so many interesting birds to watch, and even the alligator. Stay tuned for a video I shot this morning.

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Birds of the Bible – Cranes

Wordless Birds

 

Backyard Birdwatching – Maybe

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Old Bench for Backyard Birdwatching

Recently, we laid a few blocks down in the backyard so that I [we] could use our old bench. My goal was to be able to watch some of the numerous birds that stop or fly by. Needless to say, the bench needs a little TLC [tender love and care] This was taken May 14th.

I grabbed my camera and took a few photos, thinking I’d start a new series called: Backyard Birdwatching. Real original, right?

Great White Egret - First bird spotted from bench 05-14-20

Great White Egret – First bird spotted from bench 05-14-20

Had to wait for him to get in the clear.

Great White Egret finally in the clear 05-14-20

Great White Egret finally in the clear 05-14-20

I took a few photos and then the next day, decided that plan may be put on hold for awhile. Why? Hang on.

On the 16th, I was able to capture three different species through our door. We were having breakfast when they all appeared. A Great Blue Heron and Great Egret by the water’s edge and the two pesky Sandhill Cranes.

Three species from our door 05-16-20

Three species from our door 05-16-20

Why was I shooting through the door instead of from my bench? Well, this dude showed up the 15th.

Alligator Taken from my neighbor's yard. 05-16-20

Alligator Taken from my neighbor’s yard. 05-16-20

This Alligator is at the end of our yard. Because of the incline by the bank, we don’t get to see him often. So, I went to my neighbor’s yard and took this. She was with me, so if I had to waddle away fast, she could help me. Our neighbor, from across the water, told us that he comes and has layed on our bank at about 6 or 7 every morning for that last few days. Yikes!!

Needless to say, I have not been using my bench, yet!!

“Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6:20 NKJV)

We know that at least two of each kind of birds and creeping things were kept alive in the ark. I wonder if the alligators were on board, or swimming? Never thought about that before. Have you?

More later. We had a great view of this gator and the two Sandhill cranes today. Stay turned!