The Disappearing Limpkin

GRU-Aram Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)

Limpkin (Aramus guarauna) by Lee

One of the few birdwatching adventures that Dan and I have had, since my surgery, was to South Lake Howard Nature Park. Earlier in the day, we had gone to two other favorite birding spots, but various activities there prevented us from checking out those birds. Later that day, we decided to try one more time. Grabbed our cameras and went to the little Nature Park. [Winter Haven, FL] There was not much going on there, yet, we were able to watch a Limpkin as he searched for his dinner.

The Limpkin (Aramus guarauna), also called carrao, courlan, and crying bird, is a bird that looks like a large rail but is skeletally closer to cranes. It is the only extant species in the genus Aramus and the Aramidae Family. It is found mostly in wetlands in warm parts of the Americas, from Florida to northern Argentina. It feeds on molluscs, with the diet dominated by apple snails of the genus Pomacea. Its name derives from its seeming limp when it walks. We have written about the Limpkins before, and information can be found the Aramidae – Limpkin Family page. This page also has many other Limpkin photos we have taken.

Limpkin and Dan at South Lake Howard Reserve

Limpkins are active during the day but will also forage at night. Where they are not persecuted they are also very tame and approachable. Even so, they are usually found near cover.  They are not aggressive for the most part, being unconcerned by other species and rarely fighting with members of their own species.

The Lord created the Limpkins with some bold makings, yet, when they are busy searching, they can almost totally disappear from our view. The next few photos show a Limpkin searching and then disappearing. Yes, he IS in those last photos.

As I thought about the Limpkin’s ability to seem to disappear, at first I considered the way the Creator provided a way for it to be camouflaged. Also, there is another analogy that comes to mind.

“He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great.” (Psalms 115:13 KJV)

As Christians, we are all given something to do for Our Savior. Many serve in tasks that place them in the open like Preachers, Leaders, Teachers, Ushers, Choir members, etc. There are also many that are behind the scenes serving the Lord through their task. It might be tending to the toddlers and babies, audio and sound helpers, ladies folding letters, and on and on. When these servants are visible, they are very handsome or as pretty as the Limpkins, yet when they are busy, they just seem to disappear. The Lord sees all of our works, no matter where we serve Him.

“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17 KJV)

Wordless Birds

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Bittern

Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis) by Ian

Well, thanks to your moral and spiritual support yet again, here is the Black Bittern. This bogey bird was the North Queensland bird that I’ve spent the most time trying unsuccessfully to photograph since the Red-necked Crake. Ian Worcester (“Sauce”) of Daintree River Wild Watch, knows the wildlife of the Daintree River like the back of his hand and took us straight to an active Black Bittern nest where we disturbed this female (females have browner plumage than males) who retreated into the depths of the tree and adopted the frozen posture so typical of bitterns. You can see from the greenish blur in the bottom half of the photo that I had to take this photo through a small gap in the vegetation.

With the Black Bittern spell broken within minutes of leaving the wharf, I was free to relax and enjoy the view and whatever else the trip had to offer, while hoping for more and better Bittern photos of course. We left the wharf at about 6:30am and I took this view looking up the river at 6:42am after photographing the Bittern.

Daintree River NE QueenslandWe continued up the river and into Stewarts Creek and visited the nests of a few more bitterns and of a couple of Great-billed Herons. We saw a couple of Bitterns flying away, as usual, and it was over an hour before the male in this photo hung around long enough for a photo. The male has blackish plumage with a slight blue sheen and buff streaks below the head. Both sexes share incubation and care of the young and this one had left the nest like the first one and moved to the back of the tree where he also froze.

Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis) by Ian

Looking from the bright area on the river into the deep shadows of the riverine forest made the birds extraordinarily difficult to see. The photo below is a full-frame image from a 400mm telephoto lens and the bird is almost invisible. The bill and neck stripe of the bird were aligned so perfectly with the twig behind that I couldn’t help wonder whether it was deliberate. The rest of the body just looked like a limb of a tree.

Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis) by Ian

Here is one of the nests, an untidy collection of sticks wedged in a branch 4 or 5 metres above the surface of the river. Something white is just visible in the nest, but I can’t tell whether it’s an egg or a fluffy chick.

Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis) Nest by Ian

Anyway, that was it for Black Bittern photos. We went out a second time later in the morning and revisited a couple of the nests including the one near the wharf, but we didn’t see any more birds. I’ve since discovered from Handbook of Birds of the World that Black Bitterns are “crepuscular and nocturnal with peak activity at dusk and dawn” so that may be why. None of the Australian field guides mention this and maybe this is why I’ve had difficulty finding them before.

Greetings
Ian

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Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland:  iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me. (Psalms 143:9 KJV)

Thanks, Ian, and, yes, I was selfishly praying that you would find “your bird” this time. Every time you succeed, we get to see another great series of avian photos.

When the Lord created these Black Bitterns, He definitely had their protection in mind. Did you all notice that 4th photo? You can hardly find the Bittern. He looks like a branch.

Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. (Job 9:10 KJV)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Birdway – Ardeidae – Global Herons, Egrets, Bitterns

Black Bittern – Wikipedia

Wordless Birds

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Birds of the Bible – Heron Update

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland (5)

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland by Lee

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

Great Blue Heron 2

Great Blue Heron camouflaged by Lee

And the stork, and the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat. (Deuteronomy 14:18 KJV)

The original Birds of the Bible – Heron article was posted on July 17, 2008. Seems like it’s time for an update and to keep our Heron family visible. Actually, some of the family members are very good at hiding or blending in with their surroundings. Their Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, designed them to be slim like the reeds they hide in, called camouflage, and gave them the ability to move back and forth again like reeds. Notice the Tricolored Heron in the first photo. Even though he is blue, the sky color reflecting in the water actually is helping keep him “hidden in plain view.”


CLASS – AVES, Order – PELECANIFORMES, Family – Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, Egrets


Here in central Florida we can see many Herons, such as the:
(Click link for photo from Dan’s website)
Great Blue Heron (L46″ Wingspan 72″)
Little Blue Heron (L24 Wingspan 40″)
Tri-colored Heron (L26 Wingspan 36″)
Green Heron (L18″ Wingspan 26)
Black-crowned Night Heron (L25″ Wingspan 26″)
Yellow-crowned Night Heron (L24″ Wingspan 42″)

Around the World the Ardeidae family, now with 72 species, includes Herons (46), Egrets (9) and Bitterns (15). From Thayer Birding Software, “Most herons nest in dense or dispersed colonies; a few species, including most bitterns, are solitary. Nests are platforms of interlocked sticks in trees or piles of vegetation in reeds or on the ground, built mainly or entirely by the female of material brought by the male.”

Most of the Herons rest and fly with their necks in an “S” curve. They can be seen along or in the edges of water fishing. Many stand perfectly still looking in the water and then thrust with a quick movement to either spear or catch their prey. You can see that in the video I posted yesterday.

This video of a Great Egret was watching something so intently. Also, notice how his neck sways like they do in the tall grass or reeds. Egrets are part of the Heron Family group.

Herons amaze me in how perfectly still they stand and wait. They seem so patient to me. Herons are on the “unclean” list of birds found in Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18. Because they are so “patient” and “wait,” it reminds me of:

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalms 37:7 KJV)
And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. (Hebrews 6:15 KJV)
The eyes of all wait upon thee; and thou givest them their meat in due season (Psalms 145:15 KJV
And of course our great verse from last week:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Hymns mention “waiting” and being “still” and “patient. Here is a favorite:

Be Still, My Soul by Katharina von Schlegel,
1697-Trans. By Jane L. Borthwick, 1813-1897

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side;
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In ev’ry change He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heav’nly Friend
Thro’ thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hast’ning on
When we shall be forever with the Lord,
When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past,
All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.

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Birds of the Bible – Herons

Birds of the Bible

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, Egrets

 

Bible Birds – Bittern I

In North America we have the American Bittern (23” with a 42-50” wingspan) and Least Bittern (11-14” with a 16-18” wingspan). Both dwell in marsh or wetland habitats and are very difficult to find. God has designed them with plumage and behavior (standing very still with the head pointing up) that helps camouflage them. They eat frogs, small fish, snakes and bugs, etc.

Today there are 15 Bitterns around the world. The bittern is an interesting find in the Bible.

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Daves BirdingPix

American Bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus) by Daves BirdingPix

I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. (Isa 14:23)

Again judgment is being given and the names of the new inhabitants are given. Only the birds will dwell there.

But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness. (Isa 34:11)
Ninevah will be barren and the bittern and pelican will be singing from the vacant windows. The herds shall lie down in her midst, Every beast of the nation. Both the pelican and the bittern Shall lodge on the capitals of her pillars; Their voice shall sing in the windows; Desolation shall be at the threshold; For He will lay bare the cedar work. (Zep 2:14)

Those verse will be explained further in future Bible Bird – Bittern articles.
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A YouTube of a Eurasian Bittern (Botaurus stellaris). I do not know the language, but it shows how it is camouflaged so well.
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See More Bible Birds

Bible Birds – Bitterns

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CLASS – AVES, Order –PELECANIFORMES, Family – Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns


 

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Formed By Him – Camouflaged Nest

Was sent a link to this fantastic video of how birds camouflage their nests by BBC Wildlife. This shows some of the great instinct and capabilities given to the birds by their Creator.

All the birds of the heavens made their nests in its boughs; Under its branches all the beasts of the field brought forth their young; And in its shadow all great nations made their home. (Ezekiel 31:6 NKJV)

Trust will enjoy this as well.

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Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32 NKJV)

See also:

Wordless Birds

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P.S. I know this is a short post, but last night I just discovered that the Slide.Com, which I used for many slideshows on various blogs, is closing. That means I have tons of work to do behind the scenes while I fix all of those and use another slideshow program. Watch out for dust!

Updated 2 Hours later: Just finished one with the new style Slideshow. I kind of like the new style. What do you think?

Formed by Him – Silver Birds

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Interesting Things – The Leaf With An Appetite

SmileyCentral.com

From – The Hungry Leaf ©Creation Moments, 2011

(Thought you might enjoy reading this interesting fact from the Lord’s Creative Hand. What love He shows to us and to the world of critters and nature. Omnipotence and omniscience is definitely seen all around us, if we but look and give the credit to Whom it is do.)

Leaf Fish (Monocirrhus_polyacanthus) ©WikiC

Leaf Fish (Monocirrhus_polyacanthus) ©WikiC

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

“It’s a warm day on the Amazon River. A small fish swims near the surface, looking among the natural floating river debris for some food. As he looks among the occasional leaf or twig in the water, he sees no danger. At the same time, one of the floating “leaves” is waiting for the little fish to move just a bit closer. Then, without warning, the floating “leaf” comes to life, grabs the fish and eats it!

What the little fish thought was simply another floating leaf was actually another fish. The Amazonian leaf fish is carefully designed not only to look like a leaf, but to act like one as well. It has a flat body, very much like a leaf. A black line runs the length of its body, giving the appearance of the midrib of a leaf. A fleshy growth in its lower jaw looks like a leaf stem.

Beyond looking like a leaf, the leaf fish also acts like a leaf. It lies still in the water, drifting with the current. To hide its identity further, it draws its fins close to its body, removing any last hint that it is indeed a hungry fish looking for lunch.

The leaf fish combines deceptive coloring, appearance and behavior into one design so that it, too, can make its living. In this, the leaf fish shows that the Creator makes nothing without also designing a special purpose for that creature. According to the Bible, the same can be said even more emphatically for each human being He has made. Your Creator has a special purpose for you, too, and it begins with His plan of salvation for you through His Son, Jesus Christ.
Prayer:
Dear Father in heaven, through the instruction of Your Word, help me to better learn how to define who and what I am more completely in the knowledge of Your forgiving love to me in Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Notes:
Hanson, Jeanne K., and Deane Morrison. 1990. “The wonderful weird of flora and fauna.” Star Tribune First Sunday, Dec. 2. p. 17.


Lee’s Addition:

“Leaffishes are small freshwater fishes of the Polycentridae family, from South America.

They usually have large heads, cryptic colors and very large protractile mouths. Those features, along with their peculiar movements help them to catch fairly large prey for the size of their bodies, including small fish, aquatic insects and other invertebrates. Their odd leaf-like appearance make them interesting fishes for aquarium hobbyists. That is likely because of their unique lifestyle, hanging around in the upper story of the tank imitating the leaves that commonly fall in temperate rivers were it typically lives. They are extremely agile hunters, capable of consuming prey within a quarter of a second (0.2 seconds) making them one of the worlds fastest fish.” (Wikipedia)

“Asian leaffishes are small freshwater fishes of the Nandidae family, from Southern Asia. There are only four genera in this group. These fish usually have small heads, coloration that appears to resemble leaves and very large protractile mouths. Those features, along with their peculiar movements (seemingly intended to resemble a leaf innocently moving through the water) help them to catch fairly large prey compared to their body size, including small fish, aquatic insects and other invertebrates. They tend to stay in one place and wait for prey–they are “lie-in-wait-predators.” (Wikipedia with editing)

Here is an interesting video about the leaffish from VinLWJ

See more Interesting Things in the Plus section.

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