Sunday Inspiration – Procellariidae Family – Petrel, Fulmar and Prion

Broad-billed Prion (Pachyptila vittata) ©www.TeAra.govt.nz

Broad-billed Prion (Pachyptila vittata) ©www.TeAra.govt.nz

“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

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.

Northern Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis) ©AGrosset

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

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.”

Antarctic Petrel (Thalassoica antarctica) ©WikiC

“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 5

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.”

Snow Petrel (Pagodroma nivea) ©WikiC

“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.

Blue Petrel (Halobaena caerulea) ©WikiC

“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.”

Slender-billed Prion (Pachyptila belcheri) ©WikiC

“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.”

Kermadec Petrel (Pterodroma neglecta) ©WikiC

“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.]

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“He alone spreads out the heavens, And treads on the waves of the sea;” (Job 9:8 NKJV)


“You Were There” ~ Three Plus One Quartet – Solo Reagan Osborne
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More Sunday Inspirations

Assurance: The Certainty of Salvation

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Mae and the Easter Egg Hunt by Emma Foster

Baby Chick with Easter Eggs

Mae and the Easter Egg Hunt  ~ by Emma Foster

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.

Variety of Chickens ©motherearthnews

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.

Easter Egg Huning ©Living Vintage

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.

Baby Chicken with colorful easter eggs ©Colorbox

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.

Baby Chickens with colorful easter eggs ©Colorbox


Lee’s Addition:

Emma, thank you for another delightful Bird Tale. Mae is quite an adventurous hen. Trust these added photos help illustrate Mae’s surprise of finding her new chicks in an Easter Basket.

Mae also reminds us that we should not be come overly concerned as Christians.

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34 KJV)

“And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?” (Luke 12:25 KJV)

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Check out Emma’s other delightful stories.

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Tiniest Owl in the World – Elf Owl

Elf Owl (Micrathene whitneyi) ©WikiC

“And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,” (Leviticus 11:17 KJV)

Here is an interesting Podcast from the Audubon Society you might enjoy listening to.

Meet the Tiniest Owl in the World

Native to the American Southwest, Elf Owls are slightly larger than a soda can, but that doesn’t stop them from being determined predators….

http://www.audubon.org/news/meet-tiniest-owl-world

Click the link to this to the article and then listen to the audio.

“The little owl, and the great owl, and the swan,” (Deuteronomy 14:16 KJV)

Birds of the Bible – Owls

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Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 3/21/17

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Cabot's Tragopan (Tragopan caboti) Head Feathers ©WikiC

OUTWARD APPEARANCE

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“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)

Cabot’s Tragopan (Tragopan caboti) Head Feathers ©WikiC

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More Daily Devotionals

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Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies V

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

Galloperdix is 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.

Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) ©Arthur Grosset

Blood Pheasant (Ithaginis cruentus) ©Arthur Grosset

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.

Tragopan Wattles ©WikiC

Tragopan is 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

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.

Himalayan Monal (Lophophorus impejanus) ©ArthurGrosset

A monal is a bird of genus Lophophorus of the pheasant family, Phasianidae. There are three species and several subspecies: Himalayan Monal, Sclater’s Monal, and the Chinese Monal.

Green Junglefowl (Gallus varius) ©WikiC

Green Junglefowl (Gallus varius) ©WikiC

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

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.

White Eared Pheasant (Crossoptilon crossoptilon) ©©

White Eared Pheasant (Crossoptilon crossoptilon) ©©

The name Crossoptilon is 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 Pheasant (Catreus wallichii) ©©

Cheer Pheasant (Catreus wallichii) ©©

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

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”).[1] 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.

Palawan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis) M ©WikiC

Palawan Peacock-Pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis) M ©WikiC

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.

Crested Argus (Rheinardia ocellata) ©WikiC

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

Great Argus (Argusianus argus) ©WikiC

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.

Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

Congo Peafowl (Afropavo congensis) M F ©WikiC

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)

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“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)

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Sunday Inspirations

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies I

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies II

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies III

Sunday Inspiration – Pheasants and Allies IV

Pheasants and allies – Phasianidae

Birds of the Bible

In Our Place

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Pete’s Soccer Game ~ by Emma Foster

Goose with Soccer Ball ©Pixabay (Pete’s Friend)

Pete’s Soccer Game ~ by Emma Foster

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 Girls

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)

Lee’s Addition:

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.

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More of Emma’s Stories

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Crimson Finch

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) by Ian

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.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Female by Ian

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.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Fledgling by Ian

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.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Male by Ian

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.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) X Star Hybrid by Ian

On that same trip, I photographed this odd-looking individual at Kununurra. We decided that it was a hybrid between a Crimson Finch and a Star Finch, both of which were present at the time and both of which belong to the same genus, Neochmia, which includes two other Australian species: Red-browed and Plum-headed Finches.

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.

Greetings
Ian
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His other birds mentioned:

Star Finch (Neochmia ruficauda) by Ian

Star Finch (Neochmia ruficauda) by Ian

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Red-browed Finch (Neochmia temporalis) by Ian

Red-browed Finch (Neochmia temporalis) by Ian

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Plum-headed Finch (Neochmia modesta) by Ian males

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Lee’s Addition:

“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.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Crimson Finch

pas-estr-crimson-finch-neochmia-phaeton-by-ian-1Ian’s Bird of the Week – Crimson Finch ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 11/10/16

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.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Female by Ian

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.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Fledgling by Ian

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.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) Male by Ian

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.

Crimson Finch (Neochmia phaeton) X Star Hybrid by Ian

On that same trip, I photographed this odd-looking individual at Kununurra. We decided that it was a hybrid between a Crimson Finch and a Star Finch, both of which were present at the time and both of which belong to the same genus, Neochmia, which includes two other Australian species: Red-browed and Plum-headed Finches.

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 at 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.

Greetings
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

“Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” (Mat 13:32 KJV)

Thanks again, Ian for another beautiful avian wonder for us to enjoy. That hybrid is quite interesting also. We have seen the Star Finch before, but this is an interesting mix. Also, glad you are putting these Birds of the Week out again.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Birdway Finch photos

Estrildidae – Waxbills, Munias and allies

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The Owl’s Library – By Emma Foster

Western Barn Owl (Tyto alba) by Daves BirdingPix

Western Barn Owl (Tyto alba) by Daves BirdingPix

The Owl’s Library

By Emma Foster

Once there was an owl who lived in the attic of a library. His name was Leonard and his cousin’s name was Art. One day Leonard received a letter from Art telling him that Art had just published his own book.

Leonard watched people come and go to and from the library every day checking out different kinds of books. Leonard decided that it would be a great idea to have his own library. Then he could watch people check out books every day, and Art’s book could be checked out every day as well.

Leonard had to find some land for sale first. He flew to the library Art lived in, and asked for his help. Art told him how the librarian who owned the library he lived in was retiring and had already put the place up for sale. If Leonard couldn’t buy this library, Art wouldn’t have any place to live.

So Leonard went to the librarian. The librarian, Frank, said that he was going to retire and someone else would have to buy the property because he was in so much debt.
Leonard and Art got together and decided to hold a fundraiser to save the library. They began by posting flyers all over town. The fundraiser would be held that Saturday at the library. Leonard and Art decided that they would have a race to raise money for it. Many people who lived nearby, saw the sign, and decided they would run in the race.

On that Saturday, all the people, including many birds, made their way to the starting line to start running the race. Everyone would run or fly around the entire library and down several streets downtown nearby.

Mixed Flock of birds flying in a V Formation- Put together- ©Creative Commons

Mixed Flock of birds flying in a V Formation- Put together- ©Creative Commons

Art blew the whistle and Leonard watched excitedly s everyone started running as fast as they could. The birds flew up above the buildings to watch everyone run around the library and up the next street. They flew above them to cheer the runners on.

Leonard was excited to see how much money they had raised at the end of the day, so the race seemed to take a really long time. When the first runners ran around the corner to the finish line, Leonard flew after them for the rest if the day.

Barn Owl at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

Barn Owl at Flamingo Gardens by Lee

Everyone cheered when Leonard flew past the finish line with the first runner. When all of the donations were counted up, the total was ten thousand dollars, which was more than enough to keep the library open.

Frank decided that he would still retire, but since Leonard was so excited about keeping the library open, he decided to let Leonard run the library for him when he retired.
Leonard was really happy to run the library, and Art was happy that he would be living in the same library. Every day, Leonard would help people check out books while Art continued to write more books. Both Leonard and Art couldn’t have been happier, especially since they were able to save the library.

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And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28 KJV)

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Psalms 104:24 KJV)

Well, Emma has given us another enjoyable story to enjoy. I assume that since Leonard and Art will both be living in the library, they will become even “Wiser Owls.”

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Other Articles by Emma Foster

Wordless Birds

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Jesus Helps Me – Book Review

Jesus Helps Me – Cover

I was contacted by Shelton Interactive on behalf of Callie Grant, the founder of Graham Blanchard, asked if I would review a children’s book by the title: Jesus Helps Me. She knew this blog is Christian based and about birds.

Jesus Helps Me is Christian and about birds. This book is another one in their Knowing My God series.

To begin with, the book is made to be handled by young children. The pages are very colorful, the photos of the bird are great. The verses are simple enough that a child can understand them, and are teaching good Biblical Truths.

As you turn the well made pages (thick, that can be handled by a youngster without tearing); they are colorful, have a bird photo and a simple description or information about the bird, and have a verse or partial verse that is spread over several pages. The page color is different each time you turn a page. That is for teaching colors to the young children.

The book is for babies, toddlers and young children. They suggested reading to babies because they thrive “just hearing your voice as you read the Bible passage in this book.” Toddlers can be shown and told about the birds and colors as a learning tool, besides the verses. As the children advance in age, they can be taught more about those verse to increase their knowledge.

Mute Swan

Mute Swan

As I was reviewing this book, besides the book teaching the little ones about verses, birds, colors, etc., I had another thought.  What a great way to start training “new birdwatchers.” And, from a Christian perspective, no less.  :)

Jesus mentioned the “little children” in many verses. In Matthew 18:2-5, Jesus taught this lesson:

“And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. (Matthew 18:2-5 KJV)”

For more information, you can contact, www.grahamblanchard.com

ABC’s Of The Gospel
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Birds of the Bible – Lord Who Is There

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) ©USFWS

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) ©USFWS

I am currently taking a Ladies Bible study, “Disciples Prayer Life.” One of our lessons suggested using some of the different names of God while praying. There is quite a list of God’s names in our lesson. Some of them are:

  • God (Elohim) – Sovereign, Power, Creator
  • Lord (Adonai) – Master, Ruler, Owner
  • Jehovah (the self-existing Lord) – eternal, changeless, faithful
  • The Lord our Provider (Jehovah-Jireh)
  • The Lord our Peace (Jehovah-Shalom)
  • The Lord who is there (Jehovah-Shammah)

It is this last one, Jehovah-Shammah, that has really caught my interest. As you can see, it means “The Lord who is there.”

When we read Genesis 1:1, it begins with “In the beginning, God…” The word for God here is Elohim – אֱלֹהִים ,  ‘ĕlôhı̂ym,  el-o-heem’ There is much to be said about this, but, for now, that is not my purpose. The Lord God is the Creator, Sovereign and all-powerful. God has no beginning, or ending, He is the Alpha and the Omega.

Because God has always been, the word, Jehovah-Shammah, “The Lord who is there” is also true. God’s Word chose not to use that word here.

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) by Ray

Grasshopper Sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum) by Ray

All of this to explain a passage about the sparrows, which I have used many times before, that could have used the word ” Jehovah-Shammah.”

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31 KJV) (emphasis mine)

When a sparrow or any bird falls and/or dies, their Father, knows all about it because HE IS THERE.

If a fallen sparrow is noticed by the Father, who is there, should we not receive comfort from knowing that our Lord God knows and sees us also. As that passage goes on, there is comfort given to us because we are of more value than the birds. We, mankind, were made in the image of God, animals and birds were not. Because of sin, the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, provided salvation for us. It cost the Lord His blood to save us from our sins. We have a choice whether to receive that Sacrifice or not.

Anyone for a Sparrow Snack?

Every since I saw this photo, Matthew 10:29, has meant more to me than just a bird dying of old age. That whole cage is packed with sparrows to be eaten. That sickens me, but maybe I eat things that sicken others in another culture. I just found another photo of a roasted sparrow. I refuse to post it.

I love Sparrows of all kinds and the other birds. Most of all, I am thankful for a Creator God who cares for those birds and for us. When we KNOW that the Lord IS THERE, we can have comfort knowing we can pray and bring our requests to the Lord, knowing that He cares and already knows all about our needs.

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Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Sparrows

Birds of the Bible – Worry and Sparrows

Sharing The Gospel

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More Photos To Enjoy!

My friend, Jeanie, who wrote the poem, Hummingbird, sent me these photos. Enjoy!

The photography is amazing, but the captions are priceless !!!!!

I hate it when he plays "Mount Everest ..."

I hate it when he plays “Mount Everest …”

Who the is "Sugar Lips"?

Who is “Sugar Lips”?

Those brownies were Far Out!!

Those brownies were Far Out!!

NO! We Don't want any Magazine Subscriptions!

NO! We Don’t want any Magazine Subscriptions!

There's a ringer competing in the Hogtown Olympics.

There’s a ringer competing in the Hogtown Olympics.

I'm not Over-Weight, I'm Under-Height!!

I’m not Over-Weight, I’m Under-Height!!

You do have an odd perspective on things.

You do have an odd perspective on things.

Lunchtime at the Corncob Cafe

Lunchtime at the Corncob Cafe

Okay, I caught him, now what do I do with him?

Okay, I caught him, now what do I do with him?

I hate this game.

I hate this game.

Flight 'Hum-One' coming in for a landing.

Flight ‘Hum-One’ coming in for a landing.

Just act natural and blend in.

Just act natural and blend in.

Where's my Coffee?

Where’s my Coffee?

Whooo loves ya, Baby?

Whooo loves ya, Baby?


But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 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. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
(Colossians 3:14-17 NKJV)