Ian’s Bird of the Week – Crab Plover

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Crab Plover ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 9-22-14

Well your spiritual energy and goodwill did it again, helped physically, admittedly, by the excellent local bird guide Tommy Pedersen, a Dubai-based pilot from Norway who takes visitors birding in his spare time.

There had been some doubt as to whether he’d be free to help us, as he was just returning from a trip to Milan. I cc’d the last bird of the week to him and got a delightful reply just as I was packing in Bluewater on Monday morning:

So, I arrived in Dubai at 5:00 am, checked into my hotel at 7:00 am and at 11:00 am Tommy arrived, collected me and Madeleine – who’d just arrived from Hamburg – in his large and comfortable 4WD and off we went. The tide wasn’t quite right for the Crab Plovers so we did a few other things first – more about those in the next bird of the week – eventually ending up at the coastal sand and mudflats of Khor al-Beida, north of Dubai city. Here, there were about 40 Crab Plovers moving through the shallows on an in-coming tide.

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola) by Ian

​I did a gradual, crouching trudge across the mudflat in 42º heat to try to get as close as possible to them. They let me get closer than I had expected, photos one and two, before eventually taking flight, third photo. As you can see they are very striking birds and the name ‘Plover’ doesn’t quite do them justice, either in appearance or taxonomically. Apart from the heavy dagger-shaped bill, they are more like avocets and similar in size with a length 40 cm/16 in. The bill resembles that of a Beach Stone-curlew, presumably a case of convergent evolution reflecting their crustacean diet.

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola) by Ian

The fourth photos shows a close-up of one of the birds in flight. You can see that it is moulting heavily with many of the flight feathers missing in mid-replacement. This seemed to be the case with all of them, and a reluctance to fly may have had more to do with my close approach than my crouching/stalking skills.

Crab-plover (Dromas ardeola) by Ian

Taxonomically, the species show no very close affinities with other waders so the Crab Plover is the sole member​ of its own family (‘monotypic’), the Dromadidae. This is placed in the order Charadriiformes – Plovers & Allies – sitting between the Oystercatchers (Haemopodidae) and the Avocets & Stilts (Recurvirostridae). I feign indifference to making additions to my life list, but adding and photographing a whole new family is a different matter. The last time that happened to me was three years ago with Diving-Petrels on the Sub-antarctic trip.​

I arrived in Ireland yesterday and am spending a relaxing and enjoyable time with family. Yesterday evening I went blackberry picking with my sister along a country lane near where she lives in Clogherhead, Co. Louth. That was admirable therapy for the future-shock resulting from the glittering excesses of downtown Dubai.

Greetings
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty; (Job 8:5 KJV)

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 KJV)

We love to seek out new species, to us at least. I am glad that Ian was able to find his Plover that was on his list. I guess we will have to wait until next week to see if he found his Cream-coloured Courser that he was also searching for. See last week’s Bird of the Week.

Ian sure gets about in his search for avian encounters. But what a beauty he found this time to share with us. I am glad Ian shares his photos with us. The Lord sure has created some neat birds. I like the clean look of these Crab-plovers all dressed in white and black. (The IOC list them as Crab-plovers. No matter what you call them, they are the Dromas ardeola.)

Seeking the Lord should always be our number one priority.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Dromadidae – Plovers Family

Dromadidae – Crab-plover Family – Here

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Stilt

Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) 1 by Ian

Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) 1 by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black Stilt ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 11/15/11

You’ve done it again! Your collective goodwill and spiritual energy have provided yet another special, this time very special bird, the critically endangered and recently saved from extinction Black Stilt. I did have to do a little work as well to find a couple in their favoured habitat of often inaccessible, so-called braided rivers of the South Island. At the second potential site, see photo, the task seemed impossible – that’s all river bed between the foreground and the mountains – and I almost gave up.

Tasman River by Ian

Tasman River by Ian

The third site wasn’t any better, but the fourth and last was a bridge over another river and you could have knocked me over with a feather when, having just stepped onto the bridge, I spotted two Black Stilts feeding a couple of hundred meters away close to the river bank.
One flew away when I approached but the other was much more cooperative and continued feeding.
Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) 2 by Ian

Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) 2 by Ian

Eventually it flew off too, but it landed not far away, close to a breeding colony of 3 or 4 pairs of Black-fronted Terns, another species on my wanted list.
Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) 3 by Ian

Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) 3 by Ian

It stayed for a little while longer, until the terns chased it off. If you look carefully in the last photo, you can see a coloured band on the right leg and bird is presumably one of the captive-bred and released birds.
Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) 4 by Ian

Black Stilt (Himantopus novaezelandiae) 4 by Ian

The population of Black Stilts in the wild reached a low of 23 adults in 1981 when the program started, making it the rarest wading bird in the world. There are now probably 200 birds in the wild and the program continues. Lets keep our fingers crossed!
I’ve had a great time so far in New Zealand and yesterday I went on a successful boat trip on Milford Sound in lovely weather for another wanted species, another potential bird of the week. I’m now on my way back to Christchurch to return my splendid campervan – I shall be reluctant to return it.
Best wishes
Ian


Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Glad to see the Lord answers prayers. (See Addition –  NZ/Australasian Shoveler) What a neat bird, glad you found it and didn’t give up. With them so few in numbers, that is a Great Catch!

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. (Proverbs 8:17 KJV)

The Black Stilt is in the Recurviostridae Family of the Charadriiformes Order. There are 6 Stilts and 4 Avocets. Check out Ian’s Recurviostridae photos.

“Avocets and stilts range in length from 30 to 46 centimetres (12 to 18 in) and in weight from 140 to 435 grams (4.9 to 15.3 oz); males are usually slightly bigger than females.[1] All possess long, thin legs, necks, and bills. The bills of avocets are curved upwards, and are swept from side to side when the bird is feeding in the brackish or saline wetlands they prefer. The bills of stilts, in contrast, are straight. The front toes are webbed, partially in most stilts, fully in avocets and the Banded Stilt, which swim more. The majority of species’ plumage has contrasting areas of black and white, with some species having patches of buff or brown on the head or chest. The sexes are similar.” (Wikipedia)

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black-breasted Buttonquail

Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster) by Ian

Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black-breasted Buttonquail ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 01/30/11

I returned home from Armidale NSW by road bringing back a friend’s car that had been left at the Gold Coast south of Brisbane because of the flooding. I took the opportunity to make a detour to Inskip Point – near Rainbow Beach and Fraser Island – a known haunt of the rare Black-breasted Buttonquail, see the female in first photo.

I found a pair relatively easily, though not before a few false alarms in the shape of some very young Australian Scrub-turkeys, as in the second photo, so young in fact that they were as small as the Buttonquails.
Australian Brushturkey (Alectura lathami) by Ian

Australian Brushturkey (Alectura lathami) by Ian

Buttonquails leave characteristic circular bare patches in leaf litter called ‘platelets’ and I had stopped to examine some of these when a female Black-breasted Buttonquail ambled across the path and walked right past me. At one stage she walked towards me and I don’t think she noticed my presence. Buttonquails, like certain other eclectic groups of birds including Phalaropes and Cassowaries, have reversed sex roles with the more colourful females courting the males and the males incubating and looking after the young, so I was pleased to see the female who has a black head and black breast with moon-shaped white spots on the sides, as in the third photo.
Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster) by Ian

Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster) by Ian

Buttonquails are not closely related to the true quails and are placed in their own family, the Turnicidae. The most obvious structural difference is the lack of a hind toe in Buttonquails, as you can see if you look carefully in the fourth photo and they are sometimes called ‘Hemipodes’, meaning half-foots. They feed on seed and invertebrates and the Black-breasted is particularly dependent on leaf litter and eats mainly invertebrates. They make the platelets by spinning around on one foot using the other to clear away the leaves; often they then reverse direction standing on the other foot so the size of the platelet matches the size of the bird. The Black-breasted is large by Buttonquail standards with the larger females being about 19cm/7.5in in length and the males 16.5cm/6.5in. I saw her drabber partner later but he didn’t want his photo taken.
Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster) by Ian

Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster) by Ian

There are about 16 species in total and are found in Africa, southern Spain, southern and southeastern Asia and Australia. Seven of these occur in Australia. The range of the Black-breasted is limited to coastal southeastern Queensland and northeastern NSW from Fraser Island to just north of Lismore. Its preferred habitat is open woodland and its population has suffered from habitat clearing and it is now classed as vulnerable.

I’ve put the Southern Boobooks, photographed in Armidale, on the website:
Southern Boobook
Links:
Best wishes,

Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Additions:

As Ian said, the Buttonquails are in the Turnicidae – Buttonquail Family of the Charadriiformes Order. There are 17 members of this family. The Charadriiformes Order does not even include the New World Quail Family. Those quails are found in the Galliformes Order which also included the Brushturkeys.  The Brushturkeys are part of the Magapode – Medapodiidae Family in the Galliformes Order. It has 22 members in its family.

Quails are mentioned in the Bible in four verses; Exodus 16:13, Numbers 11:31-32 and Psalm 105:40. Which kind of quail, it is not clear, but they were complaining about not having enough to eat and the LORD sent them Quail.

The people asked, and he brought quails, and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. (Psalms 105:40 KJV)

To see more:

Ian’s Birds of the Week

Birds of the Bible – Quail

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Phalarope

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) by Ian

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Phalarope ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 01-13-11

I had an inquiry from my sister, Colette, in Ireland recently about Red-necked Phalarope (some appeared in breeding plumage at a potential breeding site there last northern summer), so it was floating around in my mind yesterday when I considered what to share with you this week. It’s a dainty and interesting wader, like its cousin the Red/Grey Phalarope which featured as bird of the week after my trip to Alaska in 2008.

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) by Ian

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) by Ian

The three species of Phalarope (Wilson’s is the third) breed in high latitudes in the northern hemisphere so Ireland is at the southern edge of its potential range (there was a colony of up to 50 pairs there in the early part of the 20th century). Despite their delicate appearance and toy-like behaviour when bobbing around picking up plankton from the surface of water, these are tough little birds and the Red-necked, 19cm/7.75in in length with a wing-span of 38cm/15in is the smallest of the three. Their favourite nesting sites are on small ponds in the northern tundra and outside the breeding season they are normally pelagic wandering far and wide over the oceans of the world in search of food.

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) by Ian

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) by Ian

Like the Red/Grey (summer/winter) Phalarope, the Red-necked shows a reversal in sex roles, with the brighter females courting the males, having multiple partners and leaving the males to incubate the eggs and look after the young. There is though to be a selective advantage in the females being able to lay as many eggs as possible in the brief breeding season of high latitudes. The first photo shows the brighter female, the second the smaller and more subdued – in more ways than one – male.

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) by Ian

Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) by Ian

In non-breeding plumage all three species have mainly grey and white plumage. The Red-necked has a black, downturned eye-patch – see the third photos – and, visible in flight, wing bars (lacking in Wilson’s) and dark underwing marking. All three species turn up rarely in Australia in the non-breeding season, particular following storms when drive them into bays for shelter or inland. The Red-necked is the least rare of the three and the fourth photo shows one that turned up on the Bellarine Peninsula south-west of Geelong, Victoria in 2002.

On the website, I’ve started altering the sequence of the next and previous family pointers of the Australian family thumbnail pages so that they follow the sequence of Christidis and Boles (2008) – rather than that of Birdlife International – and only include families that occur in Australia. The intention is to create a ‘green’ Australian zone for visitors who are interested only in Australia birds. A green background already distinguishes the Australian thumbnails and I’m adding background colours to pointer arrows and alphbetical index pages to highlight the distinction. You might like to visit the news section of the home page http://www.birdway.com.au/#news and the Australian index http://www.birdway.com.au/australianbirds.htm to see the difference and to find links to examples.
So far I’ve changed the families from Cassowaries http://www.birdway.com.au/casuariidae/index_aus.htm (the first) as far as Plovers and Lapwings http://www.birdway.com.au/charadriidae/index_aus.htm and will progressively work through the rest. That will be delayed for a week as I’m now in northern NSW en route to Armidale, flooded roads permitting, for a recorder course. Fortunately, given the floods, I had already shelved plans to drive down and flew to the Gold Coast yesterday.
Other website additions include a few more snakes and a couple of photos of Greater Frigatebirds .
Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

Ian has introduced another neat bird. As Ian mentioned, there are three Phalaropes and all of them are here in the United States, though I have not had the privilege of seeing them.

“A phalarope is any of three living species of slender-necked shorebirds in the genus Phalaropus of the bird family Scolopacidae. They are close relatives of the shanks and tattlers, the Actitis and Terek Sandpipers, and also of the turnstones and calidrids. They are especially notable for two things: their unusual nesting behavior, and their unique feeding technique.” (These are in the Charadriiformes Order)

Two species, the Red Phalarope (Phalaropus fulicarius, called Grey Phalarope in Europe) and Red-necked Phalarope (P. lobatus) breed around the Arctic Circle and winter on tropical oceans. Wilson’s Phalarope (P. tricolor) breeds in western North America and migrates to South America. All are 6–10 in (15–25 cm) in length, with lobed toes and a straight, slender bill. Predominantly grey and white in winter, their plumage develops reddish markings in summer.”

“Red and Red-necked Phalaropes are unusual amongst shorebirds in that they are considered pelagic, that is, they spend a great deal of their lives outside the breeding season well out to sea. Phalaropes are unusually halophilic (salt-loving) and feed in great numbers in saline lakes such as Mono Lake in California and the Great Salt Lake of Utah. (from Wikipedia)

You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. (Matthew 5:13 NKJV)
Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another. (Mark 9:50 NKJV)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Asian Dowitcher

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus) by Ian

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Asian Dowitcher ~ by Ian Montgomery

This is something of a postscript to a presentation on wader identification that I gave last Saturday to a workshop organized by the Townsville Region Bird Observers Club as part of the Shorebirds 2020 Project ( http://www.shorebirds.org.au/ ). Of the 45 species that we considered, I lacked photos of just one: the Asian Dowitcher. So you’ll understand why I and a friend jumped into the car after the practical session at Bushland Beach, near Townsville, on Sunday and drove to Cairns, where an Asian Dowitcher had recently been reported, for an overnight visit. They are regular visitors in small numbers to northwestern Australia (e.g. Broome in Western Australia) but occur only as irregular vagrants on the east coast.

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus) by Ian

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus) by Ian

The mudflats on the Esplanade are very flat, so the window of opportunity provided by an incoming tide is very short and it wasn’t until Monday afternoon that that happened. Even so, I would probably have missed it if Guy Dutson hadn’t alerted me to its location. It’s a bird that’s easy to overlook among the Great Knots and Bar-tailed Godwits when they’re all in non-breeding plumage, thank you, Guy! The first photo shows it among Great Knots. The body size is similar, so the key Asian Dowitcher features are the very long, straight, dark bill with a bulbous tip rather like that of a snipe, long dark legs and dark loral stripe (between the bill and the eye). Body length in waders is confounded by bill and leg length, so weight and wing-span are more useful. These are – Asian Dowitcher: 127-245g and 59cm/23.2in; Great Knot: 115-248g and 58cm/22.8in.

The second photo shows the Asian Dowitcher on the left with a smallish – probably male – Bar-tailed Godwit on the right (Bar-tailed Godwit male 190-400g female 262-630g, span 70-80cm/28-32in) and the third photo shows the Dowitcher with a larger Bar-tailed Godwit and lots of Great Knots and in this photo you can see the barred flanks of the Dowitcher compared with the plain flanks of the Godwit. The bill of the Dowitcher was always the most obvious distinguishing feature, but the bird would often have a snooze, tucking its bill under a wing, and magically disappear. What’s more, the mud on the Cairns Esplanade is very gluggy, so the pink bases of Godwit bills are often covered, but the different shape is usually still apparent.

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus) by Ian

Asian Dowitcher (Limnodromus semipalmatus) by Ian

When I was preparing the presentation and checking carefully on distinguishing features, I found that a wader that I’d photographed in India in 2003 and posted to the website as a Wood Sandpiper was actually a Green Sandpiper. This a bird, rare in Australia, that I had long wanted to photograph, so I was pleased to find and correct the error: http://www.birdway.com.au/scolopacidae/green_sandpiper/index.htm .

Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

The Asian Dowitcher is part of the Scolopacidae Family which is in the Charadriiformes Order that consists of Shorebirds and their allies. To see Ian’s Birdway website of the Scolopacidae – Click Here.

He answered, “The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes and said to me, ‘Go to Siloam and wash.’ So I went and washed and received my sight.” (John 9:11 ESV)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Banded Lapwing

Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian

Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Banded Lapwing ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 08-05-10

Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian

Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian

There are two species of Lapwing in Australia. One, the Masked Lapwing, is widespread, common and well-known throughout northern and eastern Australia and Tasmania. It’s familiar because it is at home in populated areas, large, aggressive when nesting, and always noisy when disturbed, even at night, a real larrikin, to use an Australian expression. The other, the Banded Lapwing is the opposite. It’s smaller, quieter, uncommon, not well-known and wary, occurs in drier country away from people, and altogether much more dignified.

Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian

Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian

It occurs mainly west of the Great Divide and south of the Tropic of the Capricorn, including Tasmania, though there is a small resident population in the dry, cattle-grazing country south of Townsville, north of its usual range. A friend of mine took me there last Sunday so that I could take some photos. Previously, I’d seen them only in Victoria and Western Australia.

Masked Lapwings have large, pendulous, yellow, facial wattles that make them look rather ridiculous, but larrikins don’t worry about appearances. Banded Lapwings have small discreet red wattles, that combine tastefully with the yellow eyes and bills and black, white and tan plumage; presumably the scientific name tricolor refers only to the plumage. The birds – we found about ten – allowed close approach in the car and eventually seemed to get quite used to my presence, though the curious cattle came over too and got in the way a lot.

Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian

Banded Lapwing (Vanellus tricolor) by Ian

I concentrated on a group of 5 birds, one of which was a juvenile – the third photo – so the birds had bred recently. Juveniles have small, pale wattles and camouflaged plumage. One pair of adults came quite close to the car and eventually mated. Banded Lapwings are supposedly monogamous and I wondered whether this pair were the parents of the juvenile bird.

Lapwings form a sub-family within the Plover family and there are about 25 species world-wide in every continent except North and Central America. I’ve chose a pair of Yellow-wattled Lapwings – from India as the current Old World pick for comparison. This pair is also mating, so either Lapwings like doing it in public or I like photographing them doing it: the choice is yours.

Other current picks include:
Australia: Red-capped Robin
New World: Blue-footed Booby
Other Wildlife: Koala

Links:
Masked Lapwing
Banded Lapwing

I recently spent a night at a Bed and Breakfast place in Alligator Creek recently opened by friends of mine, Colin and Helen Holmes. Alligator Creek is about 25km south of Townsville and close to the Mount Elliott section of Bowling Green Bay National Park. Their house is set in several acres of land with plenty of trees and shrubs right on the Creek. It’s a delightful place and very comfortable and you’ll be well looked after and supplied with a lavish breakfast. I can recommend it highly, so if you’re looking for somewhere friendly and peaceful to stay near Townsville check out their website: http://www.alligatorcreekbedandbreakfast.com.au/ .

Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

The Banded Lapwing is part of the Charadriidae  Family which includes not only Lapwings but also Plovers, Dotterels and a Wrybill. There are 67 species in the family. They are in the Charadriiformes Order which has 19 families.

The Lapwing is one of the Birds of the Bible. See the Lapwing page.

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

See all of Ian’s Birds of the Week

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Stint

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) by Ian

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Stint ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 04-01-09

This time of the year, almost anywhere in the world, is a good time to go looking for waders. Not only does the (northern) Spring migration mean that unusual species can turn up, but many of these migrants are acquiring their breeding plumages. So, if you’ve ever been faced with the daunting challenge of identifying waders in their drab winter plumage, you could be in for some pleasant surprises.

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) by Ian in breeding and non-breeding plumage

Red-necked Stint (Calidris ruficollis) by Ian in breeding and non-breeding plumage

A case in point is the Red-necked Stint, a common non-breeding visitor to Australia, where the plumage is normally anything but red. The bird in the photo is in partial, or ‘pre-breeding’, plumage with the delicate
pinkish-chestnut face and breast and the black and chestnut wing coverts. A dapper little bird by any standards, I think.

‘Little’ is the operative word. Stints – there are 4 species – are the world’s smallest waders and the Red-necked Stint with a length of 13 – 16 cm/5 – 6.3″ is slightly smaller than a House Sparrow (14 – 16 cm). Size doesn’t stop it being one of the champions of migration, breeding in the Arctic tundra of Siberia and northern Alaska and spending the northern winter in Australasia and as far as south as sub-Antarctic islands.

At this time of the year, the birds are feeding madly, building up their fat reserves for the long trip. Apparently, they can lose half of their body weight during the migration.

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed that the photo was taken at Boat Harbour during a brief visit to the Sydney region earlier this week. It’s tax time and I went to Boat Harbour after a meeting with my accountant in nearby Sutherland. To my friends in Sydney I extend an apology that I didn’t have time to catch up with them.

Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

Storks, doves, swallows, and thrushes all know when it’s time to fly away for the winter and when to come back… (Jer 8:7)

This is one of the catch-up newsletters I am finally finding time to do. Will be releasing several more of these in the next little bit. Finally have some time to work on them. See Ian’s Bird of the Week list to see  Ian’s articles. He will continue to do his current ones also.

The Stint mentioned was getting ready for spring migration, but of course this time of the year, they start preparing for their fall migration. I also went to Ian’s Birdway and found an extra photo. The Stint is in the Scolopacidae Family of Sandpipers and Snipes. The Scolopacidaes are in the Charadriiformes Order which has 19 families.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Red-necked Stint

Wattled Jacana – The Perfect Partner

Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) by Ian's Birdway

Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) by Ian's Birdway

The Wattled Jacana is a wader which is a resident breeder from western Panama and Trinidad south through most of South America east of the Andes. Common in lowlands from Panama to northern Argentina mainly east of the Andes in southern part of range.

Frequents freshwater marshes, lakes and slow-flowing rivers where it wades in damp vegetation or walks on floating water plants, foraging for fish and insects to eat and to build their nests. Lily pads and other floating vegetation in swamps and marshes are home to jacanas.

The Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) is unmistakable with its exaggerated feet that are fit for a fairy tale and red, turkey like wattles. Also called the lily-trotter, its toes and toenails distribute its weight over large areas to help it sprint across aquatic vegetation as if defying gravity.

People may pass discouraging comments on your height, color, status and so on.. Remember, that our God is not a respecter of person…

The survival of these birds hinges on their exaggerated legs and toes…

  • God had created everything in us for a specific plan, so that His name maybe glorified…
  • What people see in you as weakness is in fact, your God made tool for survival…
  • Brothers saw Joseph as a dreamer, but, God saw him as a redeemer..
  • People saw Moses as a slow of speech , but God saw him as a leader..
  • King Saul saw David as a small boy, but, God saw him as a King…

…: 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)

Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) by Robert Scanlon

Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) by Robert Scanlon

The jacana (zhah-suh-NAH) is a skilled swimmer and diver—fitting adaptations for life on the Amazon River. Flooded meadows offer a floating feast of small fishes, insects, snails and vegetation. With its long, thin beak it can pluck bugs and other goodies from the tangles of floating vegetation and even turn plants over to see what’s hiding beneath. During the dry season, jacanas wade along rivers, oxbow lakes and irrigation ditches scavenging for leftovers. If threatened, young chicks, as well as adults, stay underwater for long periods of time with only the tips of their bills above water. They can also swim underwater to avoid predators.

  • When life threatens, the best chance of survival comes from staying under the Living Water…
  • We sure can learn this 100% survival technique from these birds…
  • There is not only 24×7 protection, but also, abundance under the Living Water …

And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. (Isaiah 4:6)

Jacana eggs are true works of art. They are a deep tan color, with very dark markings that look like dribbled lines of paint, crisscrossing the entire egg in an abstract design that is different on each egg. The eggs are very glossy and shiny and look as though they have been highly polished. This “wet” appearance is nature’s camaflouge, helping the eggs resemble the glossy surface of surrounding vegetation.

Males are the primary nest builders, incubators and caretakers. Jacana nests are built on mostly submerged plants. If the nest starts to sink, or the eggs are otherwise endangered, the male may pick them up and carry them under his wings to a new site. It is the male incubates the eggs, with two eggs held between each wing and the breast, and looks after the chicks…

  • Our God, the nest builder, has built an eternal nest for us in heaven..
  • Our God, the incubator, incubates our future…
  • Our God, the caretaker, is the one who takes care of even our smallest need…
  • He is the one who not only carries us but also our dreams under His wings..
  • He is the one who holds us close to His bosom..

What an awesome God we have!!!!!

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. (Psalm91:4)

Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) by Wiki

Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea)©Wiki on Pads

Meanwhile, the female has left the male to find more males to breed with. She does not participate in raising chicks. After the female lays her first nest of four or so eggs, she is freed to find more mates—up to five simultaneously—and lay more eggs. She will aggressively fight with marauding female competitors to both protect her male partners and ensure that she can keep laying eggs. If, however, the eggs or chicks die, she will reunite with the first male and lay another clutch of eggs. These behaviors are a matter of survival, not a lapse of fidelity.

  • Eve preferred to see the garden all by herself…
  • If she hadn’t gone out alone, she wouldn’t have fallen into satan’s trap…
  • Most of us have gone away from His presence only to be battered and bruised..
  • Like these birds, we come back to God only after dreams die, spirit broken, left alone and feel defeated…
  • God is still waiting like the father of the prodigal son, arms stretched to embrace us back into His presence…

Are we willing to get back to the basics before The King returns? Note, He will return without prior notice…

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28 to 30)

Have a blessed day!

Your’s in YESHUA,
a j mithra

Please visit us at:  Crosstree


Lee’s Addition:

Jacanas are in the Jacanidae Family of eight species. The Jacanidae family is only one of nineteen families in the Charadriiformes Order known as Shorebirds and Allies.

To give an idea of how they walk around on leaves, here is a Comb-crested Jacana (Irediparra gallinacea) by Keith B – A bird walking across water lily leaves.

Thick-billed Murre – Did GOD Create Us To Fall?

Thick-billed Murre – Did GOD create us to fall? – by A J Mithra

Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia) by Ian

Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia) by Ian

Thick-billed Murres are unique birds..
They are flightless but their swimming migration may span enormous distances when these birds probably swim 1600 km (1000 miles) and they can dive as deep as 100 meters…

The deepest recorded dive of a Thick-billed Murre reached a depth of 210 metres (690 feet). The birds can move at a speed of 2 metres per second (6.5 feet) under water. Diving birds can stay under water for up to three minutes.

Read more at Suite101: The Thick-billed Murre, Arctic Auk: Northern Penguin-like Bird of Sea Cliffs and Continental Shelves

Most of their life is spent on water…

It is only for breeding that they come return to the shore where they lay their eggs on a rock or on the edge of a cliff, without building a nest. The interesting part is their eggs are designed not to roll when disturbed…

Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia) with egg by Ian

Thick-billed Murre (Uria lomvia) with egg by Ian

GOD not only takes care of the birds, but,
HE also takes care of its eggs….

HE knows that these birds spend all their lives on water, and so HE designed its eggs to stay still even at the edge of a cliff…

If GOD can care so much for little birds, will HE not care for you?

Did HE not created you in HIS image?
GOD did not create us to fall but, to stand high above the others..

HE not only cares for you but,HE also cares for your future…

HE wants to see the world through you that’s why HE calls you as
THE APPLE OF HIS EYE..
HE wants to work through you, that’s why HE has

CARVED YOU IN HIS PALM..

CHEER UP FOR YOU ARE UNIQUE…

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. (Matthew 10:29)

Have a blessed day!

Yours in YESHUA,
A J Mithra

Please visit us at: Crosstree


Lee’s Addition:

The Thick-billed Murre is in the Alcidae – Auks Family of the Charadriiformes Order
See Also:
When I Consider! – Guillemot (In the same family as Murres)

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Little Tern

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

Newsletter: 2-7-2010

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

The Little Tern is one of two tiny species of Tern found in Australia, the other being the very similar Fairy Tern. In breeding plumage, as in the first photo, the Little Tern is distinguished by having black lores forming a line through the eyes connecting the black cap to the yellow bill and it the bill usually has a black tip. Both species are of a similar size with a length of 20-28cm/8-11in. This bird was photographed in Queensland in October and would have been a member of the local breeding population.

In non-breeding plumage, as in the second photo, both species have white lores but the Little Tern has black primaries and a black bill while the Fairy Tern has grey primaries and a black-tipped bill with a yellowish base. This bird was photographed in New South Wales in January, so it is probably a member of the Asian breeding population that spends the northern winter in Australia. This bird is fishing by hovering in a characteristic posture with the tail bent sharply downwards.

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

Little Tern (Sternula albifrons) by Ian

The third photo was taken two seconds after the second photo, and the bird is taking flight again after an unsuccessful dive. An average Little Tern weights only about 50g./2oz. so it must have hit the water with tremendous impact. It is fishing, as is typical, in shallow water – the whitish reflection in the background is the surf breaking farther out.

The Little Tern has a widespread distribution through Eurasian, Africa and Australasia. In Australia it occurs in northern, eastern and southern coastal areas from Broome to the Yorke Peninsula and in Tasmania. In contrast, the Fairy Tern occurs mainly in western and southern areas of Australia, but the ranges do overlap in Victoria, South Australia and northern Western Australia.

Recent additions to the website include photos of:
Australasian Darter
Chestnut Teal
Rufous Night-Heron
Dusky Woodswallows
Glossy, Australian White and Straw-necked Ibises

Best wishes,
Ian

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au


Lee’s Addition:

On the same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the sea. (Matthew 13:1 NKJV)

The Little Tern is in the Laridae Family of the  Charadriiformes Order. This family, Laridae, not only has Terns, but also Noddys, Skimmers, Gulls, and Kittwakes. There are 102 birds in the family. As far a birdwatching goes, that family gives me more fits on trying to ID them. But as small as those Little Terns and the Fairy Terns, I might be able to ID them. But it is a long way to go to see if I could. Good thing Ian is down there to take their photos so we can enjoy them up here.

“This bird breeds on the coasts and inland waterways of temperate and tropical Europe and Asia. It is strongly migratory, wintering in the subtropical and tropical oceans as far south as South Africa and Australia.

The Little Tern breeds in colonies on gravel or shingle coasts and islands. It lays two to four eggs on the ground. Like all white terns, it is defensive of its nest and young and will attack intruders.

Like most other white terns, the Little Tern feeds by plunge-diving for fish, usually from saline environments. The offering of fish by the male to the female is part of the courtship display.

This is a small tern, 21-25 cm long with a 41-47 cm wingspan. It is not likely to be confused with other species, apart from Fairy Tern and Saunders’s Tern, because of its size and white forehead in breeding plumage. Its thin sharp bill is yellow with a black tip and its legs are also yellow. In winter, the forehead is more extensively white, the bill is black and the legs duller. The call is a loud and distinctive creaking noise.” (Wikipedia)

Video of a Little Tern feeding fish to its chicks at the beach by Pedro Rubio

Little Stern from World Bird Guide