Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Long-tailed Meadowlark

Well the moment is almost Christmas, so an iconic bird, or at least an iconic looking bird, is obligatory. Traditional Christmas icons such as european robins and snow flakes stubbornly persist in Australia despite the summer heat, but I have managed to find a red-breasted bird with a little real snow in the southern hemisphere. Those little white flecks in this photo are tiny snow flakes.

PAS-Icte Long-tailed Meadowlark (Leistes loyca) by Ian

We spent out last full – and coldest – day in Chile at a place called Baños Morales at an altitude of 2,000m/6,500ft in the Andes about 100km southeast of Santiago. The intended destination was a location about a kilometre along a walking track past the end of a sealed road up a steep-sided valley where there was supposed to be Grey-breasted Seedsnipe, one of four species that make up the South American Seedsnipe family (Thinocoridae), odd dove-shaped birds related to waders.

banos_morales_7013_pp by Ian

 

A bitterly cold wind funnelled up the valley from the south and we found that, despite five layers of clothes, we couldn’t manage being out of the car for too long. We abandoned plans to go to the seedsnipe location and concentrated our efforts on a promising looking swampy area near the road. We didn’t find any seedsnipes but we did find various interesting, hardy birds including some Long-tailed Meadowlarks that stood out dramatically in the bleak landscape. Meadowlarks belong to the Icteridae (Birdway), a widespread American family that includes a variety of colourful birds including Caciques, Oropendolas, New World Orioles and Blackbirds – unrelated to the Eurasian Blackbird of the thrush family, Turdidae (Birdway).

Anyway this is a roundabout way of wishing you Season’s Greetings: may it be safe and enjoyable. I have another iconic bird in mind to welcome in the new decade so I’ll leave New Year Greetings until then.

Kind regards
Ian


Lee’s Addition:

Merry Christmas to you, Ian. Thanks for sharing a “Christmas iconic bird” with us. The snow makes it even more “Christmassy.” Ian, you are on a roll. Your birds of the “moment” are coming more frequently. Before long, you will have to start doing your “Bird of the Week” articles again.

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Icteridae Family

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2 KJV)

What will you do with Jesus?

Christmas Bird from the Christmas Islands

Christmas Island White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

Christmas Island White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:11-12 KJV)

MERRY CHRISTMAS from Dan and I, and from our writers, who add so much to this blog. James J. S. Johnson, Emma Foster, and Ian Montgomery are the other authors currently. We have produced quite a few articles about “Christmas Birds,” yet not much about the birds named “Christmas.” Here is a brief description of them, with links to other “Christmas Bird” articles over the years.

Christmas Boobook (Ninox natalis) by Ian

Christmas Boobook (Ninox natalis) by Ian

The Christmas Boobook (Ninox natalis), also known more specifically as the Christmas Island hawk-owlis a species of owl in the family Strigidae. Closely related to the hawk owls of Southeast Asia and Australia. N. natalis was first classified at species level by J.J.Lister in 1888. It was not until 1998 however that DNA testing confirmed its status as a separate species from other owls.

The Christmas Island Hawk Owl is a small, rufous-brown hawk-owl with a barred breast, dark chestnut facial mask, whitish brow, lores and throat, yellow eyes, legs and feet. It is approximately 26–29 cm in length and 130-190 grams in weight with the female slightly larger than the male. The double-noted hoot, boo-book, has a clucking quality with the second note usually lower in pitch. The begging call of juveniles is a high-pitched trill.

Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) by Ian

Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) by Ian

Christmas Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) or Christmas Island Frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi) is a seabird of the frigatebird family Fregatidae which is endemic to Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. The Christmas frigatebird is a large lightly built seabird with brownish-black plumage, long narrow wings and a deeply forked tail. It has a wingspan of around 2.15 m (7.1 ft). The male has an egg shaped white patch on its belly and a striking red gular sac which it inflates to attract a mate. The female is slightly larger than the male and has a white breast and belly. They feed on fish taken in flight from the ocean’s surface (mostly flying fish), and sometimes indulge in kleptoparasitism, harassing other birds to force them to regurgitate their food.

Christmas Island Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula whartoni) by Ian

Christmas Island Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula whartoni) by Ian

Christmas Imperial Pigeon (Ducula whartoni), is a large (39 cm in length, 450-700 g in weight) pigeon, mainly dark grey in colour with an iridescent sheen. Fruit from forest trees with occasional buds and leaves are it main diet. It builds a platform nest of twigs high in a forest tree. It utters a deep booming call.

See: Ian’s Bird of the Week – Christmas Imperial Pigeon

Christmas Island Swiftlet (Collocalia natalis) ©Christmas IS Wildlife

Christmas Island Swiftlet (Collocalia natalis), also known as the Christmas glossy swiftlet or the Christmas cave swiftlet, is a small bird in the swift family Apodidae. It is endemic to Christmas Island, an Australian territory in the eastern Indian Ocean. It was formerly commonly treated as a subspecies of the glossy swiftlet.

Christmas Shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis) ©WikiC 2 FK Starr

Christmas Shearwater (Puffinus nativitatis) is a medium-sized shearwater of the tropical Central Pacific. It is a poorly known species due to its remote nesting habits, and it has not been extensively studied at sea either.

The Christmas Shearwater nests on remote islands of the Central Pacific: the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Tuamotu, the Marshall Islands, Kiritimati (for which the species is named) and Sala-y-Gómez. It has become locally extinct on a number of islands, including Wake Island. Outside of the breeding season it ranges across the Pacific, having been recorded off the coast of Mexico and Guatemala in the east, and Bonin Islands in the west. Further south it is rare, having been recorded off Fiji only twice (one time in early to mid-May).

Christmas White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

Christmas White-eye (Zosterops natalis) by Ian

The Christmas White-eye (Zosterops natalis) is a species of bird in the family Zosteropidae. It is endemic to Christmas Island. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist shrubland. It is threatened by habitat loss.

See also: Ian’s Bird of the Week – Christmas Island White-eye

It is always refreshing to take a look back at other Christmas Blogs. Just as we are all looking back to the first “Christmas” event, when the Saviour of the World, took on human flesh, as a baby. Totally human, totally God. It is difficult for us to wrap our thoughts around that truth.

Some Christmas Birds (Re-posted)

The Christmas Birds Series in 2013

In 2014 – Sunday Inspiration – Christmas Birds  Please watch the video near the end.

MAY YOUR CHRISTMAS BE FILLED WITH BLESSINGS AS YOU REMEMBER THE REASONS FOR CELEBRATING OUR SAVIOUR’S BIRTH.

Christmas Birds – Ornaments 2013

Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae) babies ©WikiC coracii

Long-tailed Broadbill (Psarisomus dalhousiae) babies ©WikiC coracii

Here are the last of the Christmas Birds. The colors and designs would be pretty in ornaments. But most of all, they are superb examples of the Lord’s omniscient creative designs.

He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:.. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:10-12, 14 KJV)

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Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. (1 Peter 3:3-4 KJV)

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Music to listen to while viewing the photos. “Ring The Bells” – Men’s Quartet – Faith Baptist 2012

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See the original article – Christmas Birds – Ornaments

The Christmas Birds 2013 so far:

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Christmas Birds – Silver 2013

Silver-breasted Broadbill (Serilophus lunatus) by Peter Ericsson

Silver-breasted Broadbill (Serilophus lunatus) by Peter Ericsson

This year I am adding Silver Birds to our collection of Christmas Birds. Grey and white sometimes look like silver when in certain light. Some of them are also used.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalms 12:6-7 KJV)

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saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
(Matthew 2:2 NKJV)

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Listen to Silver Star by Horatio R. Palmer (1834-1907) as you view the slideshow. I have inserted the words to this song at the bottom. Never heard it before, but the words are great.

The Christmas Birds 2013 so far:

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Silver Star

On the brow of night there shines a silver star,
On the brow of night there shines a silver star,
And the wise men gaze on its heav’nly rays,
Till they find the King, whose throne they sought afar,
In the Babe of Bethlehem.

Refrain

Silver star, holy light,
Shine afar, o’er the night,
Till the world shall come where the young Child lay,
And enter the gates of the newborn day.

’Tis the lamp of God high hanging in the air,
’Tis the lamp of God high hanging in the air,
And it guides our feet thro’ the royal street;
There is sweet soul-rest for those who seek it there,
From the Babe of Bethlehem.

Refrain

Silver star, holy light,
Shine afar, o’er the night,
Till the world shall come where the young Child lay,
And enter the gates of the newborn day.

Bring your gifts of gold, of frankincense and myrrh,
Bring your gifts of gold, of frankincense and myrrh,
For the King we own is on David’s throne;
Let the holy Child your best affections stir;
’Tis the Babe of Bethlehem.

Refrain

Silver star, holy light,
Shine afar, o’er the night,
Till the world shall come where the young Child lay,
And enter the gates of the newborn day.

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Christmas Birds – Green 2013

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) Reinier Munguia

Green-crowned Brilliant (Heliodoxa jacula) Reinier Munguia

This is the second set of Christmas Birds. This time the Green Birds are featured. Hope you enjoyed the Christmas Birds – Red.

Again the Lord created these birds and colored them for their protection and to show off to their mates. There are many more that could be shown, but you may want to find some yourself.

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:28 NKJV)

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Here is the Music as Choir Entered for the Cantata (looped)

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See the original Christmas Birds – Green

The Christmas Birds 2013 so far:

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