Dan’s Photos – Wishful Thinking, Flamingo, and Vulture

Tricolored Heron by Dan

Finally, I was able to encourage Dan to share some of his great photos from our latest Gatorland visit. He is a much more busier than me, and processing photos taken in “raw format” take more time. My “JPEG” are a snap to get ready. That said, here are the first few that go along with some of the previous post.

Tricolored Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Great Blue Heron by Dan at Gatorland

Great Blue Heron by Dan at Gatorland

See:  Wishful Thinking

Black Vulture by Dan at Gatorland

Black Vulture by Dan at Gatorland

See:  Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

These two almost took my breath away when I saw it:

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

American Flamingo by Dan at Gatorland

“For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.” (Colossians 1:16-17 NKJV)

See:  Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20

Needless to say, Dan has a really nice lens on his camera, and he does not shoot in “program” mode like I do. He actually know all about those “f-stops” and “things” that I have no clue what they are. We make a great team.

Stay Tuned! I have some more of his photos.

You can see many of his other photos at: Dan’s Pix

The rest of our Gatorland trip in December:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward
  5. Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland
  6. Wishful Thinking

Wordless Birds

 

Perfect Squirrel Proof Feeder – Hopefully

Squirrel Reaching for Feeder ©DailyMail.Co.uk

Dan shared a video with me about a man who tries to make a Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder. If you have some time to spare, you will enjoy watching his attempt to keep the squirrels from his feeders.

I know we have all had this problem, but, I’m not sure I would go through this. Might be easier just to by a Squirrel feeder and a Bird feeder.

We were trying to find some verses to use for this, and this verse caused us a chuckle. Remember how they were flying off that contraption and heading toward the net? This could apply to that:

“You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride on it; You spoil my success.” (Job 30:22 NKJV)

There are many applications that could be made from these diligent squirrels who kept at it until they succeeded in getting the food. Here is one:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. [What the squirrels failed to do] But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:2-6 NKJV) {Bold and brackets mine.]

Sharing the Gospel

Wishful Thinking

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

Many times when we are young, we wonder or try to imagine what we will be like when we grow up. (Notice the bird in the upper right corner)

Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

This Great Blue Heron may be trying to remember his days of youth. (Notice the bird in the lower left corner)

Tricolored Heron and Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

Our smaller Tricolored Heron can wish all he wants, but he will never become a Great Blue Heron. The Lord, the Creator of all these Avian Wonders, made each of them slightly different.

Just as we in our lives have different talents and abilities, we should not try to be something that we were not created to be. The Lord has given each of us, as Christians, different areas of service. It may a small task, or it could be an enormous task.

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NKJV)

Each of these birds at Gatorland, are all created different, yet they all seem to enjoy hanging out there. Many of us enjoy being with others at our places of worship. We all have something we can do to help others.

Wood Stork at Gatorland

White Ibis at Gatorland

Great Egret at Gatorland

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

Other Gatorland Post from the December 30th visit:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward
  5. Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

Wordless Birds

Black Vultures Up Close at Gatorland

Black Vulture in tree watching Stork arrival

On our last visit to Gatorland, see articles below, there wasn’t an abundance of avian wonders as on previous visits. Yet, there is always something to discover. The alligators, Flamingos, and a few Parrots are permanent residents, but the birds are free to come and go. The different families of birds build their nest during various times of the year, and late December seems to be void of nest.

Yet, not to be discouraged, the Black Vultures were staking out the trees. Soon they would create their nest, and raise their young. In late January, February, and March, the Herons and Egret will start their families.

Since there were so many of the Black Vultures around, and so close, I took some interesting photos, at least to me, of these sort of ugly, but amazing flying “landscape improvers.” :) They gather beside highways to feed on road-killed animals and other dead animals in fields, or wherever they find them.

“‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard,” (Leviticus 11:13 NKJV)

Yep, I wouldn’t want to to eat one of these birds, but yet, they are beautiful in their on right. Their feathers are still very interesting, and definitely help them soar.

Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) are members of the Cathartidae Family.

Black Vultures in tree

“The communal roost is an important focus of the social life of Black Vultures. It serves as a meeting place for adults and their young and as an assembly point for foraging groups. The communal roost also appears to function as an information center, a site where unsuccessful foragers can locate food by following roost mates to carcasses.” (©Birds of the World)

They were okay until a Wood Stork landed

Wood Stork arriving in the Vulture’s Tree

on “their” tree:

Black Vultures in tree watching Stork arrival

One of the Vultures tried to “stare” the Stork down.

Black Vultures in tree watching Stork arrival

Black Vulture in tree watching Stork arrival

Further along the path, there was a another tree of vultures that caught my attention. It was right along the boardwalk and I was able to observe them from a closer range. Here is a slideshow of these. I was amazed watching this Black Vulture preening up-close.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What an amazing Creator who provides for each of His Avian Wonders.

Birds of the Bible – Vulture

Cathartidae – New World Vultures

Other Gatorland Post from the December 30th visit:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward

Sharing The Gospel

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.