“He led me through water to the ankles…, he led me through water to the knees…, he led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass over.” Ezekiel 47:1-5
Birdwatching. Birding. Ornithology. In most minds, those three terms conjure differing depths of avian appreciation. Bird enthusiasm ranges from the simple enjoyment of backyard birds, to submerging in state lists and big years, and even deeper into the intellectual fathoms of anatomy and natural history. The books upon the shelf range from Your Backyard Feeder to Latin Terms for Taxonomists.
In the same manner, the Bible is book of unending fathomage. From inspiring daily devotionals, to word studies and commentaries, and into the depths of theology, the Sacred Writ can be enjoyed and experienced on so many different levels.
But is one level of devotee better than another? Is the ornithologist more serious or dedicated than a birder? Is the theologian more important than the lay congregant? Are we only dipping in our toes when we should be swimming deeper? Are we drowning in the depths and neglecting the satisfaction of the shallows?
In reality, one can be all things, or be what one desires! In his chapter of Good Birders Still Don’t Wear White, David A. La Puma writes, “Find out what you love about birds and dive in; the pool of knowledge is deep and rich and full of others happy to help you along the way.” An ornithologist can still enjoy birdwatching just as a theologian should still delight in daily devotionals.
Our Christian life and experience, just like birding, should enjoy the shallows, wade into the depths, dive the deep ocean trenches, and swim back again. Just as you would enjoy cardinals and chickadees at your backyard feeder, or decide to tackle identifying the gulls, sparrows and peeps, enjoy your yearly reading plan through the New Testament and Psalms, and simultaneously sound the depths of Biblical wisdom and application. Find out what you love about the Word of God in this season of life and dive in. The only wrong thing to do is to completely dry up!
Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.
This is a blog-site about birdwatching. Yet don’t forget that we ourselves are being watched, so be on your best behavior! (Consider 1st Corinthians 4:9, quoted above.)
Once I watched a hummingbird, displaying its marvelous metabolism, that busily slurped nectar from trumpet vines that grow upon my backyard’s fence. The hovering, buzzing, flitting, iridescent-sparkling hummingbird was too busy to notice me!
Yet, come to think of it, there are times when I am so busy that I don’t notice others watching me — and sometimes (according to 1st Corinthians 4:9) even angels are watching. All the more reason to be on my best behavior.
However, even if only God is watching, that’s the best reason for doing what is right, to honor Him (1st Corinthians 10:31).
Meanwhile, enjoy watching the birds! May God bless your new year: the year of our Lord 2020. This year is God’s gift — let’s walk through it reverently and appreciatively.
In Where Are You From? [Part I], the birds and my ancestry were both mentioned. Since we have not done much birdwatching lately other than through my window, my time has been spent looking for my ancestors.
Of course, since Creation is how God created the birds and humans, there are no birds in my Ancestorial Tree!! That is a given. I do have a Buzzard [Catherine] listed in Dan’s tree. A Hawk [Susannah] in my tree, and that is about it. The rest are normal human names.
What is so amazing is how many people [my ancestors] that it took for me to come into existence. If anyone of them had died before they had the child that would be my ancestor was born, I wouldn’t be writing this article. That thought is awesome. God is so merciful and sovereign in His dealings with us. What Grace!
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4 NKJV)
The birds we watch today also come from their ancestors. Had one group died out, as they have, then that branch of birds is extinct. As beautiful as the birds are today, what would they be like had those not become extinct? Interesting thought.
Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) Extinct by Wikipedia
The children today who are prevented from being born would have had many descendants in the future. A quote from the article above:
“Howland and his eventual wife, fellow Mayflower passenger Elizabeth Tilley, had 10 children and more than 80 grandchildren. Now, an estimated 2 million Americans can trace their roots to him.
Howland’s direct descendants include three presidents — Franklin Roosevelt, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — as well as former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin; poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; actors Alec Baldwin, Humphrey Bogart, and Christopher Lloyd; Mormon church founder Joseph Smith; and child care guru Dr Benjamin Spock.
“The idea that the existence of all these people hinged on that one guy grabbing a rope in the ocean and holding on tight totally caught my imagination,”
The rope with the “Chatterbox” aboard. [Great nephew]
“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,” (1 Corinthians 1:4 NKJV)
And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
USING RECREATION TO TEACH GOD’S CREATIONSHIP TO KIDS
Kids grow with imagination,
Kids learn, too, with recreation;
Moth to watch, ducks to feed,
Songs to sing, books to read —
So teach kids about creation!
And, in the process of teaching kids about creation, teach them about God’s Creatorship.
Unless the process is “boring”, most kids like to learn. Furthermore, most young children love to learn about animals — especially mammals and birds.
child feeding ducks (Daily Express photo)
Introducing a young child to birdwatching, therefore, can be one of the most wonderful favors one can do for such a child. In fact, teaching a child about God’s Creatorship is one of the best “inheritances” that a parent — or a grandparent (or a family friend) — can bestow to a child (Proverbs 13:22).
WOOD STORKS in evergreen tree (photo by Dan Dusing)
He sends the springs into the valleys;
They flow among the hills.
They give drink to every beast of the field;
The wild donkeys quench their thirst.
By them the birds of the heavens have their home;
They sing among the branches. …
The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
The cedars of Lebanon which He planted,
Where the birds make their nests;
The stork has her home in the fir trees.
(Psalm 104:10-12 & 104:16-17)
WOOD STORKS in tree ( image credit: SlidePlayer.com )
Springs and rain fall water the hills. Wooded hills provide myriads of branches useful for avian nests, providing a hospitable habitat for birds of many kinds. (Of course, the ecological fact that thriving trees facilitate homes for thriving birds is nothing new — see Daniel 4:11-12). So, if rainfall is adequate, trees thrive – and where you find trees you also find birds, many birds of many different kinds. Forests are homes for owls, corvids, cardinals, hawks, wood ducks, doves, storks, and miscellaneous passerines galore!
BIRDWATCHING IN FOREST HABITATS
Watch birds as they fly or they walk;
See their plumage and hear them talk!
Look for bird neighborhoods
In green, well-watered woods:
Homes for woodpecker, jay, owl and hawk!
So, take a trek through the woods – you should like the hike! Walk and gawk. (Is there a fowl on a bough? Do birds perch on a birch?) Wherever woods and water abound, look for winged wonders!
STELLER’S JAY on evergreen tree branch (iStock / Getty image)
“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21 NKJV)
The Procellariidae – Petrels, Shearwaters Family contains more than those two species of birds. You will be introduced to Giant Petrels, Diving Petrels, Petrels, Fulmars, Prions, and Shearwaters. The previous Petrels families shown were Storm Petrels (Oceanitidae and Hydrobatidae), and the Albatross (Diomedeidae) family also was presented. These four families make up the Procellariiformes Order. This Procellariidae group, being the largest, will take several weeks to be able to cover.
From Wikipedia – “The family Procellariidae is a group of seabirds that comprises the fulmarine petrels, the gadfly petrels, the prions, and the shearwaters. This family is part of the bird order Procellariiformes (or tubenoses), which also includes the albatrosses, the storm petrels, and the diving petrels.
Northern Giant Petrel head close-up by Daves BirdingPix
The procellariids are the most numerous family of tubenoses, and the most diverse. They range in size from the giant petrels, which are almost as large as the albatrosses, to the prions, which are as small as the larger storm petrels. They feed on fish, squid and crustacea, with many also taking fisheries discards and carrion. All species are accomplished long-distance foragers, and many undertake long trans-equatorial migrations. They are colonial breeders, exhibiting long-term mate fidelity and site philopatry. In all species, each pair lays a single egg per breeding season. Their incubation times and chick-rearing periods are exceptionally long compared to other birds.
Many procellariids have breeding populations of over several million pairs; others number fewer than 200 birds. Humans have traditionally exploited several species of fulmar and shearwater (known as muttonbirds) for food, fuel, and bait, a practice that continues in a controlled fashion today. Several species are threatened by introduced species attacking adults and chicks in breeding colonies and by long-line fisheries.” (Wikipedia)
Southern Giant Petrel (Macronectes giganteus) by Ian
“Giant petrels form a genus, Macronectes, from the family Procellariidae, which consists of two species. They are the largest birds of this family. Both species are restricted to the Southern Hemisphere, and though their distributions overlap significantly, with both species breeding on the Prince Edward Islands, Crozet Islands, Kerguelen Islands, Macquarie Island and South Georgia, many southern giant petrels nest further south, with colonies as far south as Antarctica. Giant petrels are aggressive predators and scavengers, inspiring another common name, the stinker. South Sea whalers used to call them gluttons.”
“The Antarctic petrel (Thalassoica antarctica) is a boldly marked dark brown and white petrel, found in Antarctica, most commonly in the Ross and Weddell seas. They eat Antarctic krill, fish, and small squid. They feed while swimming but can dive from both the surface and the air.”
Cape Petrel (Daption capense) by Ian
“The Cape petrel (Daption capense), also called the Cape pigeon, pintado petrel, or Cape fulmar is a common seabird of the Southern Ocean from the family Procellariidae. It is the only member of the genus Daption, and is allied to the fulmarine petrels, and the giant petrels. They are extremely common seabirds with an estimated population of around 2 million.”
“The snow petrel (Pagodroma nivea) is the only member of the genus Pagodroma. It is one of only three birds that breed exclusively in Antarctica and has been seen at the geographic South Pole. It has the most southerly breeding distribution of any bird.
“The blue petrel (Halobaena caerulea) is a small seabird in the shearwater and petrel family Procellariidae. This small petrel is the only member of the genus Halobaena, but is closely allied to the prions.”
“Pachyptila is a genus of seabirds in the family Procellariidae and the order Procellariiformes. The members of this genus and the blue petrel form a sub-group called prions. They range throughout the southern hemisphere, often in the much cooler higher latitudes. Three species, the Broad-billed Prion (Pachyptila vittata), the Antarctic Prion (Pachyptila desolata) and the Fairy Prion (Pachyptila turtur), range into the subtropics.”
“The Kerguelen petrel (Aphrodroma brevirostris) is a small (36 cm long) slate-grey seabird. Kerguelen petrels breed colonially on remote islands; colonies are present on Gough Island in the Atlantic Ocean, and Marion Island, Prince Edward Island, Crozet Islands and Kerguelen Island in the Indian Ocean. The species attends its colonies nocturnally, breeding in burrows in wet soil. The burrows usually face away from the prevailing wind. A single egg is laid per breeding season; the egg is unusually round for the family. The egg is incubated by both parents for 49 days. After hatching the chick fledges after 60 days.”
[Quotes are from Wikipedia, with editing.]
“He alone spreads out the heavens, And treads on the waves of the sea;” (Job 9:8 NKJV)
Once there was a chicken named Mae who lived on a small farm in the country. Mae lived on this small farm with many other animals who were her friends, but despite living in such a nice place, Mae was not happy. Every day the farmer would come into the henhouse to collect all of the eggs that the chickens laid, but Mae really wanted to have chicks of her own. One day Mae laid two eggs and promptly decided to hide them behind the henhouse. Mae searched for several good places to hide them, and finally decided to hide them inside the coils of a garden hose and cover the hose with a tarp to keep the eggs warm.
Mae checked her eggs every now and then to make sure they were safe. A couple of days later, however, Mae noticed some of the farmers hiding different colored eggs in several different places around the farm. Puzzled, Mae flapped over to one purple egg to see to whom it the egg might belong. After pecking at it, Mae was startled to see the egg pop open to reveal a small piece of candy.
Suddenly a large group of squealing children ran out into the yard. Mae was so frightened she flapped back into the safety of the hen house. She watched as the children began running around, searching for the colored eggs with candy inside them.
Mae eventually realized that each of the children was hunting for the eggs in order to obtain the candy inside each one. Confused at the overall purpose, Mae decided to stay inside the hen house while the children tried to find the rest of the eggs.
Eventually, Mae waddled outside the hen house to check on her eggs, but when she walked behind the hen house she noticed that the tarp had been cast aside and her eggs were gone. Mae began frantically searching for her eggs, but they were nowhere to be found. The only eggs she found were the brightly colored eggs filled with candy. Mae searched all over the farm to find her two eggs, but they had disappeared.
Mae grew very upset because she couldn’t find her eggs, so upset that she barely noticed a group of children gathering around a girl’s Easter basket. Mae started to walk past them, but she heard a small cracking sound, followed by cries from the children. Mae fluttered over to where the children stood and saw her eggs in the basket. One of the eggs was shaking while another was almost completely open. All of a sudden the egg hatched open to reveal a tiny chick. The chick peeped loudly and gazed at its new surroundings. Mae was so happy she started clucking noisily, and the children quickly drew back because they thought she was angry at them for accidentally taking her chicks, thinking they were Easter eggs.
The other chick hatched out of his egg and quickly found its mother like the first chick. Carefully pulling her chicks out of her Easter basket, Mae guided her chicks toward the henhouse, grateful that she had found them and that they were safe. Mae came back from the henhouse, however, after her chicks were safe inside, and showed the children who had watched her chicks hatch where the rest of the Easter eggs were. Mae had done so much searching she was able to find other eggs that the rest of the children hadn’t seen. She decided to show them the eggs as a way of saying thank you, which made the children very happy. From then on Mae looked forward to the Easter egg hunt that came once a year, and every year she told her chicks the story of how they hatched in an Easter basket.
“But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV)
Pheasants and their cousins have kept us interested for four weeks already. Today, even though there are 54 of these Avian Creations from our Lord left in this family, we will finish. The Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae Family has interesting and colorful members. With Partridges, Pheasants, Peafowls, Tragopan, Monals, and other members, the similarities are obvious, yet they all have their differences. One thing about their Creator, He enjoys variety. The Partridge is one of the many Birds of the Bible as listed in I Samuel 26:20 and Jeremiah 17:11. They are also on the clean fowl and are permissible to be eaten. I trust you have enjoyed seeing this large family of 187 members.
Painted Spurfowl (Galloperdix lunulata) by Nikhil
Galloperdixis a genus of three species of birds in the pheasant family, Phasianidae. These terrestrial birds are restricted to the Indian Subcontinent, with the Red Spurfowl and Painted Spurfowl in forest and scrub in India, and the Sri Lanka Spurfowl in forests of Sri Lanka. They share the common name “spurfowl” with the African members of the genus Pternistis.
The blood pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) is the only species in genus Ithaginis of the pheasant family. This relatively small, short-tailed pheasant is widespread and fairly common in the eastern Himalayas, ranging across India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China. The blood pheasant is the state bird of the Indian state of Sikkim.
Tragopanis a genus of bird in the family Phasianidae. These birds are commonly called “horned pheasants” because of two brightly colored, fleshy horns on their heads that they can erect during courtship displays. The scientific name refers to this, being a composite of tragus (billy goat) and the ribald half-goat deity Pan (and in the case of the satyr tragopan, adding Pan’s companions for even more emphasis). Their habit of nesting in trees is unique among phasianids.
Koklass Pheasant (Pucrasia macrolopha) by Nikhil Devasar
The koklass pheasant is a medium-sized elusive bird confined to high altitude forests from Afghanistan to central Nepal, and in northeastern Tibet to northern and eastern China. Upper parts of male koklass pheasant are covered with silver-grey plumage streaked velvety-black down the centre of each feather, and it has the unique feature of a black head, chestnut breast and prominent white patches on the sides of the neck.
Junglefowl are the four living species of bird from the genus Gallus in the Gallinaceous bird order, which occur in India, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. These are large birds, with colourful male plumage, but are nevertheless difficult to see in the dense vegetation they inhabit. As with many birds in the pheasant family, the male takes no part in the incubation of the egg or rearing of the precocial young. These duties are performed by the drab and well-camouflaged female. The junglefowl are seed-eaters, but insects are also taken, particularly by the young birds.
One of the species in this genus, the red junglefowl, is of historical importance as the likely ancestor of the domesticated chicken, although it has been suggested the grey junglefowl was also involved. The Sri Lankan junglefowl is the national bird of Sri Lanka.
Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi) at Wings of Asia by Lee
The gallopheasants (genus Lophura) are pheasants of the family Phasianidae. The genus comprises 12 species and several subspecies.
The name Crossoptilonis a combination of the Greek words krossoi, meaning “fringe” and ptilon, meaning “feather”— a name Hodgson felt particularly applied to the white eared pheasant “distinguished amongst all its congeners by its ample fringe-like plumage, the dishevelled quality of which is communicated even to the central tail feathers”. All are large, sexually monomorphic and found in China.
Cheer Pheasants lack the color and brilliance of most pheasants, with buffy gray plumage and long gray crests. Its long tail has 18 feathers and the central tail feathers are much longer and the colour is mainly gray and brown. The female is slightly smaller in overall size.
Reeves’s Pheasant (Syrmaticus reevesii) Memphis Zoo by Dan
The genus Syrmaticus contains the five species of long-tailed pheasants. The males have short spurs and usually red facial wattles, but otherwise differ wildly in appearance. The hens (females) and chicks pattern of all the species have a rather conservative and plesiomorphic drab brown color pattern
Common Pheasant (Phasianus colchius) by Robert Scanlon
The “typical” pheasant genus Phasianus in the family Phasianidae consists of twp species. The genus name comes from Latin phasianinus “pheasant-like” (from phasianus, “pheasant”). Both Phasianus and “pheasant” originally come from the Greek word phāsiānos, meaning “(bird) of the Phasis”. Phasis is the ancient name of the main river of western Georgia, currently called the Rioni.
Lady Amherst’s Pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae) Zoo Miami by Lee
The genus name is from Ancient Greek khrusolophos, “with golden crest”. These are species which have spectacularly plumaged males. The golden pheasant is native to western China, and Lady Amherst’s pheasant to Tibet and westernmost China, but both have been widely introduced elsewhere.
The peacock-pheasants are a bird genus, Polyplectron, of the family Phasianidae, consisting of eight species. They are colored inconspicuously, relying on heavily on crypsis to avoid detection. When threatened, peacock-pheasants will alter their shapes utilising specialised plumage that when expanded reveals numerous iridescent orbs. The birds also vibrate their plume quills further accentuating their aposematism. Peacock-pheasants exhibit well-developed metatarsal spurs. Older individuals may have multiple spurs on each leg. These kicking thorns are used in self-defense.
Little is known about this species in the wild. A shy and elusive bird, the crested argus is found in submontane Vietnam, Laos, and Malaysia in Southeast Asia. The diet consists mainly of invertebrates, mollusks, amphibians, small reptiles, bamboo shoots, leaves, fruits, and fungi
The scientific name of the Great Argus was given by Carl Linnaeus in reference to the many eyes-like pattern on its wings. Argus is a hundred-eyed giant in Greek mythology. There are two subspecies recognized: Nominate argus of the Malay peninsula and Sumatra, and A. a. grayi of Borneo. William Beebe considered the two races to be distinct species, but they have since been lumped.
Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus) at Cincinnati Zoo by Lee
Pavo is a genus of two species in the pheasant family. The two species, along with the Congo peacock, are known as peafowl.
The Congo peafowl (Afropavo congensis), known as the mbulu by the Congolese, is a species of peafowl native to the Congo Basin. It is one of three extant species of peafowl, the other two being the Indian peafowl (originally of India and Sri Lanka) and the green peafowl (native to Burma and Indochina).
(Information from Wikipedia, with editing)
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16 NKJV)
“How Can I Keep From Singing” ~ Three + One Quartet (Pastor Smith, Reagan, Jessie, and Caleb)
Once there was a duck named Pete who was taking his usual morning route around the pond in which he lived. It was Saturday and the weather was cool and breezy. On this morning Pete noticed a large group of people gathered inside a huge patch of soft green grass. Most of the people were children and they all wore matching colored uniforms.
Pete grew curious and decided to flap up and peer through the fence to see what was going on. All around Pete people were cheering as the children ran back and forth with some kind of black and white ball. At one point, Pete watched one of the children kick the black and white ball into a small net and he listened to everyone cheer ecstatically. A man wearing a black and white-striped shirt blew a whistle loudly and the team members who wore the same green uniform as the boy who scored the goal ran back to the bench cheering. Apparently, whatever game they were playing was over and Pete guessed that the green team had won something.
Pete became very interested in this game and how it worked. He decided to stay and watch another game to understand the rules. The more Pete watched from the sidelines the more interesting the game became. Eventually, he realized that the name of the game was soccer, the black and white ball was called a soccer ball, and the players could not touch the ball with their hands.
Upward Soccer 4-5 yr olds.
As Pete looked around, carefully taking in every detail, he noticed a shed that stood near the edge of the field. Glancing inside, Pete found an assortment of cones, soccer balls, and uniforms. Pete automatically decided to get into the spirit of things and pulled a green uniform out of a box and put it on. Shoving his head into the shirt, Pete wriggled and pushed his head through one of the arm sleeves. This seemed to work, but he found it difficult. Despite this difficulty, he made sure not to touch the ball with his wings just like the players.
Eventually, Pete waddled out of the shed in his green uniform with the soccer ball. He attempted to kick it again but only succeeded in rolling it onto the middle of the field. Pete flew after it to try to bring the ball back. Suddenly the referee blew his whistle and stopped the game. Embarrassed, Pete kicked the ball as best he could off the field. All of the players, however, were impressed that Pete was able to kick it so well because he was a duck. Since the team with green uniforms was short a player they were able to convince the referee to let Pete play even though his uniform was not quite right. The referee called Pete over, and Pete happily flapped back onto the field to finish the game.
Pete did his best to waddle back and forth and catch up with the other players. Every now and then he was able to kick the ball to another player. The game was tied because each team had scored one goal.
As time began to run out and there were only a few minutes left, one of the players suddenly passed the ball to Pete. Because Pete was close to the other team’s goal he quickly waddled down the field with the ball, trying not to fly.
Once Pete reached the goal he did his best to kick the ball. He kicked the ball as hard as he could and was surprised when the ball sailed over the goalie’s head into the net. The entire crowd cheered for Pete because he had helped the green team win the game. Pete had never been so happy until that moment when he scored the goal, and the team was very grateful that Pete had been there to help them. From then on, Pete watched every single game that the people played, and always wore the green uniform he had found in the shed just in case the green team was short a player.
“… to be ready to every good work,” (Titus 3:1b KJV)
Another great story from Emma Foster. I felt since our Duck Pete was small, he may have played with our youngest Upper Soccer team.
You might enjoy these videos I found to help show off Emma’s Soccer Duck.
Crimson Finch featured as bird of the week a little over eight years ago, but I’ve decided to have it again as a pair appeared in my backyard several weeks ago, the first time I’ve seen any in Bluewater.
Shortly earlier, I’d seen what looked like a female Satin Flycatcher having a splash in the pool. Satin Flycatchers are rare in North Queensland, though they do show up sometimes on migration. This one didn’t hang around for a photo while I got the camera, so I headed off around the property looking for it. Female Satin Flycatchers are notorious difficult to separate from their slightly duller cousins, female Leaden Flycatchers, so a photograph is essential not only for identification but also to convince anyone else.
I didn’t find the Flycatcher, but I found the Crimson Finches, male in the first photo and female in the second, feeding on some unseasonable Guinea Grass. We’ve had an odd dry season with not much but sufficient rain at intervals to confuse some of the local plants – Guinea Grass usually seeds here at the end of the wet season (April). In North Queensland, Crimson Finches are usually found in dense grassland near wetlands, and these two were only about 50m from Bluewater Creek, which was still running at the time.
A couple of weeks later I photographed this very young Crimson Finch at the Townsville Town Common. When I approached, it was being fed by an adult male, who flew off leaving the young bird to its fate. You can see the very pale gape, typical of very young birds. Young Crimson Finches just have a reddish flush in the wings and tail.
A few days after seeing the pair of Crimson Finches in the backyard, a male Crimson Finch obligingly appeared beside the pool when I was having a swim. I thought the plumage was more intensely coloured and with strong white spots on the flanks than the male member of the earlier pair – more like the one in the fourth photo. I wondered whether they were different individuals, with the first one being younger than the second. The one in the fourth photo was taken on a trip to the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia in 2009.
I don’t really keep a yard list as such. If I did, the day I found the Crimson Finches would have been notable. Apart from the possible Satin Flycatcher, later that afternoon I flushed a female King Quail. This time I was armed not with the camera but a brush cutter as part of the fire season preparations.
Several weeks later I had the rest of the long grass cut by a man with a tractor. After he had finished, I went down to inspect the result and spotted a Blue-winged Kookaburra pouncing on something in the cut grass. This proved to be the King Quail, which flew off a high speed pursued by the Kookaburra. The Quail landed safely in some long grass and the Kookaburra perched in a nearby tree. If you ever tried to flush a quail a second time, you’ll know how elusive they are on the ground, so I hope the Kookaburra didn’t have quail for lunch.
His other birds mentioned:
Star Finch (Neochmia ruficauda) by Ian
Red-browed Finch (Neochmia temporalis) by Ian
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18 KJV)
I decided to put a photo of the three other finches mentioned in Ian’s newsletter. They all seem so colorful for a nice Christmas Eve day. Thanks, Ian, for sharing your photos with us and for a Christmas photo present. Trust you eyes are improving. We miss your newsletters.