Proud Muscovy Duck

Juvenile Muscovy Duck Strutting

I spotted an unusually colored Muscovy Duck on the water, but realized it was a juvenile.

Juvenile Muscovy Duck Strutting

Many of the ducks we watch have a way of rocking or strutting when they swim. Recently, I recorded a young or juvenile Muscovy Duck swimming on the water out back.

They remind me of the Pharisees and Sadducee that we read about during the time Christ was on earth and during New Testament times.

“Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation,” (Acts 5:17 NKJV)

“Then the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness.” (Luke 11:39 NKJV)

“Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.” (Luke 11:43 NKJV)

Juvenile Muscovy Duck Strutting

Also, a few verses from the both testaments:

Pridegoes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 NKJV)

“For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16 NKJV)

I know there are many more verses that could be added, but I am sure you can also even quote some of them. These ducks are not prideful, but the Lord had a way of putting natures in His Avian Wonders to help remind us of attitudes to avoid. Blessings!

Muscovy Ducks are part of the Anatidae Family of Ducks, Geese and Swans

Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)

Sharing The Gospel

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Snowy Egret standing with one foot forward.

While we were at Gatorland, I was watching the Snowy Egret, and was amused by his stance. I am always amazed by their yellow feet, and this tickled me. I love that the Lord used such variety in the birds when He created them.

Of course, I had to zoom in on his feet:

Snowy with his best foot forward!

I was then off to the lagoon or pond, whatever they call it, to see what the birds and gators were up to. Compared to other times, it was rather quite, except for a Great Egret strolling out from under the boardwalk:

Quieter than normal. No nesting birds.

Great Egret emerging from under the walkway.

I was sitting in a motorized unit when another Snowy Egret landed on the rail right beside me. He then proceeded to walk down the rail with those yellow feet.

On rail right beside me.

Look at that concentration!

Snowy has something in sight.

Showing off those feet. Has a good grip on the rail.

“For You have delivered my soul from death. Have You not kept my feet from falling, That I may walk before God In the light of the living?” (Psalms 56:13 NKJV)

What the Snowy had in sight was an alligator, of which he flew off to check out. By then, “feet” were fascinating me, and I was watching how well those feet stayed planted on the gator’s back as he walked up and down it.

Heading for a ride.

Landed on the other one.

Zoomed in a bit

Steady as he goes!

Well balanced!

“Unless the LORD had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence. If I say, “My foot slips,” Your mercy, O LORD, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” (Psalms 94:17-19 NKJV)

Catching a ride.

Feet holding fast!

Feet holding fast!

“But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.” (Job 23:10-11 NKJV)

I trust you have enjoyed this part of our visit to Gatorland. There are still more sights to see, so, STAY TUNED!

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20

Gideon

Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20

Christmas Tree and Sign - Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Christmas Tree and Sign – Gatorland 123020 by Lee

When we visited Gatorland on our last trip, the end of December, we were greeted with Christmas decorations and some interesting characters (birds and other).

Vultures and Egret setting in there normal welcoming rail.

Vultures and Egret sitting on there normal welcoming rail.

Vultures Surveying a Gator near entry of Gatorland

Vultures Surveying a Gator near entry of Gatorland

Dan looking at the avian wonders.

By the way, that sign in the first photo is this warning!

Then of course, you meet one or two brave or stupid birds trying to con food from the Gators, like this Snowy Egret.

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

Crazy Snowy Egret at Gatorland 123020 by Lee

What I was not expecting, was this new “creature” found roaming around the entrance. Never seen “it” before and trust it is only a rare sighting!!

Some sort of an “Ape”, but also must be related to a “Skunk” somehow! :0)

Skunk Ape at Gatorland 123020 by Lee (16)

Skunk Ape at Gatorland by Lee

Thought he could scare me!

Skunk Ape at GatorlandYou just never know what might show up there at this wild place. Other than this “critter”, it was a great sunshiny day. Stay tuned!

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; … A time to weep, And a time to laugh;…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4 NKJV)

Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20

Gator Tail Anyone?

Good News

Gator Tail Anyone?

Here in Florida, there are some restaurants that serve Gator Tail. Usually, it is served as an appetizer.

Gator Tail Appetizer ©Skipper Fish Camp

While we were walking around Gatorland on our last trip, I noticed some Black Vultures very near the end of an alligator. They were across the pond, so I zoomed in to see what they were doing.

I’m thinking to myself:

#1 – These birds are crazy being that close to the gator.

#2 Maybe they are picking bugs or weeds off of its tail.

Cropped after I got home.

Before I tell more, let me continue on with the rest of the visit. When we got to my favorite part where the birds ride on the alligators (See Gatorland’s Taxi Service), I was again videoing the activities. I noticed on the little island that some more Black Vultures were again at the tail of another large alligator.

Egret on Gator Taxi and Vultures at Gator’s Tail by Lee

Vulture at Gator’s Tail – Zoomed by Lee

Vulture at Gator’s Tail – Zoomed by Lee

Here is a crop of the crop. You can see him actually eating the meat right out of a living alligator. He couldn’t even wait for them to batter and fry up a piece for him.

Zoom of a zoom

I also took a video of some of this:

Now I see why Vultures are on the “Do Not Eat” list! They are a Bird of the Bible after all.

“‘These, moreover, you shall detest among the birds; they are abhorrent, not to be eaten: the eagle and the vulture and the buzzard, and the kite and the falcon in its kind, every raven in its kind,” (Leviticus 11:13-15 NASB)

Birds of the Bible – Vulture

Birds of the Bible

Good News Tracts – Various Topics

 

Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20

Surface Filtering

Today Dan and I finally went on a short birding trip. We drove over to Orlando’s Gatorland (45 miles). I finally have something to write about besides the birds seen through our back patio door.

It was sort of quiet, as far as the number of birds, this time of year. We normally go over in late January or February. Then there are nesting birds. I never saw even one nest today. Yet, what we did see was great, as always. So, this is the first post of some of the interesting sights today.

We were watching the Flamingos, which is almost at the end or the path we take around Gatorland. What impressed me today was watching this Flamingo filtering on the surface. Here is a video of what I saw:

I didn’t know what that was actually called until I came home and looked it up. Normally, they put their necks down in the water and “filter” along the bottom. Less often they “filter” on the surface, which this Flamingo was doing today. It gives a great way to see how they are actually filtering. I was amazed just watching.

“Flamingos filter-feed on brine shrimp. Their oddly shaped beaks are specially adapted to separate mud and silt from the food they eat, and are uniquely used upside-down. The filtering of food items is assisted by hairy structures called lamellae which line the mandibles, and the large rough-surfaced tongue. (Wikipedia – Filter Feeders)

“Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” (KJV)  or the ERV says, “You guide the people, but you are blind! Think about a man picking a little fly out of his drink and then swallowing a camel! You are like that.” Matthew 23:24

Here are some more of the photos from the Flamingo pond:

A Few Other Flamingo and Gatorland Articles:

Phoenicopteridae – Flamingos

Tickle Me Tuesday’s – Flamingos

Sunday Inspiration – Flamingos and Tropicbirds

“F” is for Flamingos and Frigatebirds: “F” Birds, Part 1

Gatorland’s Taxi Service

Gatorland’s Fearless Egret

Gatorland From Dan’s Camera

Sharing The Gospel

 

Hide and Seek

Have you ever shouted to God, “COME OUT, COME OUT WHEREVER YOU ARE!”?

Ezekiel 39:29  “Neither will I hide my face any more from them…”

A Brown-headed Nuthatch (Sitta pusilla) appears to play hide-and-seek in a nest cavity. March 31, 2017; Walton County, Georgia. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

Birding can sometimes feel like a game of hide-and-seek. The birds have the “hide” part down pat! They are masters of camouflage and stealth, and seem to know the cleverest places to hide. So the birders must play the “seek” side of the game. We maximize our chances of finding particular bird species by learning where they live – their range and habitat within the range – and going where the birds are!

There are times it seems like God is playing hide-and-seek with us. Our theology says God is omnipresent, but our feelings say He has hidden Himself and is nowhere to be found.  Like Martha and Mary when their brother Lazarus passed away, we blame God for being absent when crisis and need hits — “Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.” (John 11:21).

But have you thought that maybe God isn’t hiding; and perhaps the problem is with our seeking? Jesus was quite willing to commune with those who desired His company. When two disciples asked, “Where dwellest thou?” Jesus offered the open invitation of come and see (John 1:38). Since the Bible promises us that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6), perhaps our seeking isn’t as diligent as we thought.

God is not hiding. He can be seen in the design, order and complexity of nature around us… especially the birds! And just like searching for a bird in its range and habitat, we maximize our chances by seeking God in the right places. Where does God “hide”? Maybe He is “hidden” in that Bible on your bookshelf? Or perhaps He can be found in that church down the road? One thing is certain: if you are honest and diligent, He will be found!

Deuteronomy 30:11-14 “For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.”


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Update and Release of Rockefeller

In Rockefeller the Saw-Whet Owl in Christmas Tree, you were introduced to Rockefeller, the little Saw-Whet Owl that was found in the Christmas Tree.

They promised they would release him last week-end, but released the owl last Tuesday, November the 24th. Here is a video of that release.

As this little owl was given compassion, and they helped him renew his strength, so we need “renewal” from time to time.

“Restore us to You, O LORD, that we may be restored; Renew our days as of old,” (Lamentations 5:21 NASB)

“and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:23-24 NKJV)

The Wise Owl

Taking and Making Opportunities

2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season…”

Bright yellow female American Goldfinch perched on pine sapling. Spinus tristis is a North American songbird. Photographed June 17, 2020 in Walton County, Georgia USA. ©www.williamwisephoto.com.

People have asked me, “How are you able to photograph so many different animals?” A big part of the equation is taking and making opportunities. This success principle holds true in many areas: financial investors watch the markets to take advantage of opportune seasons to invest, while ingenious entrepreneurs create a market where none existed before. Taking an opportunity, or making one, can bring success.

There are times that wildlife photography opportunities present themselves; say, a Red-tailed Hawk swooping down on a roadside squirrel, or a Gray Fox cutting through your backyard. You have to be always ready to take those opportunities when presented. But most of the time, birds don’t swoop in and pose when we set up a tripod and camera. We must make opportunities by travelling to areas that maximize our chances of wildlife viewing, such as birding hotspots, parks and wildlife refuges.

In the Bible, the Apostle Paul passes along this same strategy for success to the young pastor Timothy. William Barclay’s translation of 2 Timothy 4:2 says, “Urge it upon people whether you can take an opportunity or have to make an opportunity.” Paul isn’t speaking about wildlife photography or financial investments, but about eternal investments: souls! There are times that opportunities to witness present themselves, such as in a long line at Walmart. Other strategies include making evangelistic opportunities such as outdoor concerts and testimony services, or mini neighborhood healing crusades.

So, a greater question than “how do I photograph more birds?”, is “how do I win more souls?”!  Hobbies and recreation are fine – and I’d say they are even essential to mental health – but do I spend as much time seeking to bring people for Christ as I do on photography? Or do I squander my evangelistic opportunities on other pursuits?

Just some food for thought. As for me, I will pursue and enjoy both!


Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

From Decorah Eagles – Most Adorable Eaglet

“Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalms 103:5 KJV)

“Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.” (Genesis 2:19 NKJV)

What an interesting video! Enjoy!

Bible Birds – Eagle

Birds of the Bible – Eagle

Wordless Birds

Bible Bird – Gier Eagle (Egyptian Vulture)

and the gier-eagle,

“But these are they of which ye shall not eat: … And the pelican, and the gier eagle, and the cormorant,” (Deuteronomy 14:17 KJV)

Gier eagleHeb. raham = “parental affection,” Leviticus 11:18 ; Deuteronomy 14:17 ; RSV, “vulture”), a species of vulture living entirely on carrion. “It is about the size of a raven; has an almost triangular, bald, and wrinkled head, a strong pointed beak, black at the tip, large eyes and ears, the latter entirely on the outside, and long feet.” It is common in Egypt, where it is popularly called “Pharaoh’s chicken” (the Neophron percnopterus), and is found in Palestine only during summer. Tristram thinks that the Hebrew name, which is derived from a root meaning “to love,” is given to it from the fact that the male and female bird never part company.

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) Flying ©WikiC

The name Gier Eagle is no longer used. It is known by other names today, such as; Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) or White Scavenger Vulture, or Pharaoh’s Chicken.
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) 18 day old ©WikiC

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
18 day old ©WikiC

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) Egg ©WikiC

“The Egyptian vulture  is a small Old World vulture and the only member of the genus Neophron. It is widely distributed; the Egyptian vulture is found from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa to India.”

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) ©WikiC

“It is widely distributed; the Egyptian vulture is found from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa to India. The contrasting underwing pattern and wedge-shaped tail make it distinctive in flight as it soars in thermals during the warmer parts of the day. Egyptian vultures feed mainly on carrion but are opportunistic and will prey on small mammals, birds, and reptiles. They also feed on the eggs of other birds, breaking larger ones by tossing a large pebble onto them.”

Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) ©WikiC

“The use of tools is rare in birds and apart from the use of a pebble as a hammer, Egyptian vultures also use twigs to roll up wool for use in their nest. Egyptian vultures that breed in the temperate regions migrate south in winter while tropical populations are relatively sedentary.” Wikipedia

Whatever this bird is called, I still wouldn’t want to eat it.

Relocated from the Kid’s Blog

Bible Birds – Eagles

Bible Birds

Wordless Toucan

Are Ostriches Stupid ? – Creation Moments

ARE OSTRICHES STUPID?

Job 39:13-15

“Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? Which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them.”

Ostriches are certainly comical looking birds. Whenever I see a picture of one, it certainly makes me smile.  Mind you, if you meet one up close, you might not laugh so much because they can cause a lot of damage with their legs, and particularly with their feet. But where ostriches come to our notice, as biblical Christians, is that many people think that the Bible is completely mistaken about ostriches, and, therefore, these supposed errors invalidate Scripture.

The main contentious verse is in Job 39. In this chapter, God is telling Job about the various things that He has created to silence Job and show him that his complaints are irrelevant. In verses 14 and 15, the accusation is that the ostrich is pictured as stupid for leaving its eggs in the sand and accidentally crushing them. Then, we are told, the Bible tells us that the mother ostrich forgets, or even neglects, her young.

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee

Common Ostrich (Struthio camelus) at Riverbanks Zoo SC by Lee

Actually, much of this is based on a false anthropomorphism. We should not expect that an animal is going to show human characteristics. In any case, the mother ostrich does tend to leave her young because the care of newly hatched chicks seems to be the job of the father ostrich, so there is no error in what the Bible is claiming.

So when were ostriches created? They are clearly birds, but they appear designed to live on land. We must assume, therefore, that God made them on Day Six.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your wisdom in creation, and, like Job, we must stand with our mouths stopped, in awe at Your greatness. Amen.

Author:  Paul F. Taylor

Ref:  Ostrich in the Bible, accessed 1/30/2019. Image: CC BY-SA 4.0 International.

See

Are Ostriches Stupid? Creation Moments

Bible Birds – Ostrich

Birds of the Bible – Ostrich.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children Update

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ian

In the last few days, the Burgess Bird Book for Children, has been receiving all kinds of birds back to Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures. It has almost been more enjoyable than watching the birds return in the fall. (Other than all the work involved in reactivating these great stories.)

This series of stories were written by Thornton W. Burgess.  “The Burgess Bird Book for Children is a zoology book written in the form of a story featuring Peter Rabbit. Peter learns from his friend Jenny Wren all about the birds of North America, and we meet many of them in the Old Orchard, the Green Meadow, and the Green Forest.” (From Loyalbooks) Besides updating the stories with current photos of our avian wonders, I added scripture and questions for the younger (and older readers) to ponder. Also, for each of these stories, there is a public domain recording of the book being read.

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

From the Preface:

“This book was written to supply a definite need. Its preparation was undertaken at the urgent request of booksellers and others who have felt the lack of a satisfactory medium of introduction to bird life for little children. As such, and in no sense whatever as a competitor with the many excellent books on this subject, but rather to supplement these, this volume has been written.

Its primary purpose is to interest the little child in, and to make him acquainted with, those feathered friends he is most likely to see. Because there is no method of approach to the child mind equal to the story, this method of conveying information has been adopted. So far as I am aware the book is unique in this respect. In its preparation an earnest effort has been made to present as far as possible the important facts regarding the appearance, habits and characteristics of our feathered neighbors. It is intended to be at once a story book and an authoritative handbook. While it is intended for little children, it is hoped that children of larger growth may find in it much of both interest and helpfulness.”

Since it has been several years since this series was started, you might enjoy reading through, or listening, to some of these. You might even enjoy sharing these with your children or grand-children. They just might adopt your love for birds and birdwatching.

Enjoy! And stay tuned as more are produced in the future. (These 18 posts were all that were finished. There were 45 written by Burgess in total. Who know, maybe, if the interest is there, they might be extended.)

Here are the 18 stories:

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) by Ray

White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) by Ray

Eastern Phoebe on Beautyberry

Eastern Phoebe on Beautyberry 12-19-19 by Lee

Red-winged Blackbird at Bok Sanctuary

Red-winged Blackbird at Bok Sanctuary by Lee

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

Bobolink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus) by J Fenton

Purple Martin (Progne subis) ©USFWS

This verse has to do with teaching children the things of the Lord, but His creation also applies:

“Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren,” (Deuteronomy 4:9 NKJV)

Sharing The Gospel