Joys and Challenges of Birdwatching

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) at Gatorland by Lee

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” (Psalms 37:4 KJV)

While enjoying the birds and critters at Gatorland this week, I had another enjoyable adventure. In fact, at breakfast this morning, I was chuckling as I was again relating my tale to Dan. Most know that Dan is the “Bird Photographer” and I am the “Bird Watcher.” I only use a nice “point-and-shoot” camera that is always set on “Program” mode. In other words, I don’t know an “F-stop” from a “bus stop.”

Earlier, at Gatorland, I had been listening to, and watching a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher in the trees. I kept waiting for him to pop out so I could get a photo. This went on for some time, and most birders know how they do not stay still. Finally, he popped out on a limb in clear view. Pulled my camera and…. it was turned off. Needless to say by the time it was on, he was gone. Yuk! [Here is a photo from another adventure.]

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher preening at Circle B by Lee

Oh, well! There must be another adventure yet to enjoy.

Off I rolled on the motorized wheels, while Dan rested. Aha! I heard a Northern Mockingbird. Let’s see if I can have better luck this time.

“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” (Psalms 37:11 KJV)

True birders know that “patience is a virtue.” I visually chased that Mockingbird through the bushes waiting for him to pop out. This time I made sure my camera was on. [Program mode also takes great “bush” pictures. Notice how clear the limb in the upper right corner.:o) ]

PAS-Mimi Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) program mode caught the log instead by Lee (8)r

“Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8 KJV)

I heard the Mockingbird first coming from these bushes, and thus began my delightful challenge of getting a photo of it.

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) at Gatorland

The northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is the only mockingbird commonly found in North America. This bird is mainly a permanent resident, but northern birds may move south during harsh weather. This species has rarely been observed in Europe. This species was first described by Linnaeus in his Systema Naturæ in 1758 as Turdus polyglottos. The northern mockingbird is known for its mimicking ability, as reflected by the meaning of its scientific name, ‘many-tongued mimic.’ The northern mockingbird has gray to brown upper feathers and a paler belly. Its tail and wings have white patches which are visible in flight.

Mockingbird in there

They teach taking photos with a 1/3 rule. Birdwatchers like me place them right in the center so we can find them later.

Northern Mockingbird (cropped)

Cropped – See, it is there.

The northern mockingbird is an omnivore. It eats both insects and fruits. It is often found in open areas and forest edges but forages in grassy land. The northern mockingbird breeds in southeastern Canada, the United States, northern Mexico, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the Greater Antilles.

Almost got him - at least the eye

Getting better, can see part of it.

The northern mockingbird is known for its intelligence. A 2009 study showed that the bird was able to recognize individual humans, particularly noting those who had previously been intruders or threats. Also, birds recognize their breeding spots and return to areas in which they had the greatest success in previous years. Urban birds are more likely to demonstrate this behavior. Finally, the mockingbird is influential in United States culture, being the state bird of five states, appearing in book titles, songs and lullabies, and making other appearances in popular culture. [Wikipedia with editing]

FINALLY!!!

Finally Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) at Gatorland

NOW HE FOUND ME!!!

He found me Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) at Gatorland

This is the Joy of Birdwatching. You have to love the Adventures, and saying a prayer now and then to ask the Lord to “Please” let the bird come in to view!!!

The whole series on Flickr

More Gatorland Adventures

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Grey Parrot at Gatorland – December 2017

The Grey Parrot today at Gatorland looked quite bright-eyed. This was taken straight from the camera, no editing, and loaded up on my Flickr Site. This is an experiment. Since so many photos disappeared off of WordPress, I am trying to see how placing them on Flickr might be a new option. [One problem: Can’t seem to center the photo. Stays on left.]

Grey Parrot (Psittacus erithacus)

“The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is good, your whole body also is full of light. But when your eye is bad, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light.” (Luke 11:34-36 NKJV)

The Grey Parrot or African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is an Old World parrot in the family Psittacidae. This article describes the Congo grey parrot. The Timneh parrot (Psittacus timneh) was earlier treated as conspecific but has since been split as a full species.

Grey parrots are monogamous breeders which nest in tree cavities. Each couple of parrots needs its own tree to nest. The hen lays three to five eggs, which she incubates for 30 days while being fed by her mate. The adults defend their nesting sites.  Both parents help take care of the chicks until they can go off on their own. Grey parrot chicks require feeding and care from their parents in the nest. The parents take care of them until four or five weeks after they are fledged. Young leave the nest at the age of 12 weeks. Little is known about the courtship behavior of this species in the wild. They weigh between 12 and 14 g at hatching and between 372 and 526 g when they leave their parents.

They are mostly frugivorous; most of their diet consists of fruit, nuts, and seeds. The species prefers oil palm fruit and also eat flowers and tree bark, as well as insects and snails. In the wild, the grey is partly a ground feeder. In captivity, it can eat sunflower seeds, bird pellets, a variety of fruits such as pears, orange, pomegranate, apple, and banana, and vegetables such as carrots, cooked sweet potato, celery, fresh kale, peas, and green beans. They also need a source of calcium. [Wikipedia with editing]

Yeah! We did a little birdwatching today!

Gatorland

Here was another bright-eyed Parrot today.

Parrot at Gatorland 12-21-17

 

The Snowy “Want-to-Be” at Gatorland

Great Egrets and a Snowy Egret at Gatorland

When we were at Gatorland a few weeks ago, I noticed two Great Egrets on the walkway rail. I zoomed in to get a better view of them. There were actually two Great Egrets and a Snowy Egret in between them.

Great Egrets and a Snowy Egret at Gatorland zoomed

By the time we arrived at their location, one of the Great Egrets had flown off to check something out. There sat the Great Egret and the Snowy Egret side-by-side. I thought maybe that Snowy was thinking he would like to be tall like this friendly Great Egret.

A Great Egret “Want to Be”

The Great Egret is tall and nice looking with his long yellow beak and black feet.

Great Egret up Close at Gatorland by Lee

The Snowy though shorter has a nice black beak and cool yellow feet.

Snowy Egret up close at Gatorland by Lee

Knowing that the Lord created both of these fine birds, He made them just the way He wanted them. One tall, one short. One with a black beak and the other with a yellow one. And He may have given height to the Great Egret, but He gave the shorter Snowy those neat yellow feet.

Do we get envious and desire what someone else has? Maybe taller, more talented, sing better, etc? God has made us just the way He wants us, and has provided us with different bodies, talents, abilities, and directions to serve Him. Are we content with what He has given us?

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:8 KJV)

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5 KJV)

I am sure are Snowy Egret was not the least bit jealous or envious.

Snowy Egret up close at Gatorland by Lee


More posts from Gatorland:

Gatorland, FL

Gatorland’s Greedy Snowy Egret

Gatorland Roseate Spoonbills

Gatorland Grackle

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Gatorland’s Greedy Snowy Egret

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

May you have a great day enjoying family, friends, and fine food. But please, do not bite off more than you should! [This video of a Snowy Egret was taken at Gatorland this week.]

“A Psalm of Thanksgiving. Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalms 100:1-5 NKJV)

Family: Building a Home God’s Way

More Gatorland Adventures

Gatorland in Orlando, Florida

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Gatorland Roseate Spoonbills

Roseate Spoonbill landing at Gatorland by Lee 11-21-17

Yesterday, I shared the Boat-tailed Grackle female. Today, here are a few photos of two Roseate Spoonbills that landed on one of the trees at Gatorland. [Plus a bonus at the end]

Didn’t realize that she was already there.

The Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in coastal regions of the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States, and on central Florida’s Atlantic coast at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, adjoined with NASA Kennedy Space Center. They are also found here in Central Florida. These were at Gatorland in Orlando on 11/21/17.

Zoomed in even on this photo. The first ones were also cropped.

The roseate spoonbill is 71–86 cm (28–34 in) long, with a 120–133 cm (47–52 in) wingspan. The tarsus measures 9.7–12.4 cm (3.8–4.9 in), the culmen measures 14.5–18 cm (5.7–7.1 in) and the wing measures 32.3–37.5 cm (12.7–14.8 in) and thus the legs, bill, neck and spatulate bill all appear elongated. Adults have a bare greenish head (“golden buff” when breeding) and a white neck, back and breast (with a tuft of pink feathers in the center when breeding), and are otherwise a deep pink. The bill is grey.

Roseate Spoonbilsl landing at Gatorland by Lee 11-21-17

Roseate Spoonbills at Gatorland by Dan – Zoomed & Cropped

Roseate Spoonbills at Gatorland by Dan – Zoomed & Cropped

Like the American flamingo, their pink color is diet-derived, consisting of the carotenoid pigment canthaxanthin. Another carotenoid, astaxanthin, can also be found deposited in flight and body feathers. The colors can range from pale pink to bright magenta, depending on age, whether breeding or not, and location. Unlike herons, spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched. They alternate groups of stiff, shallow wingbeats with glides.

Roseate Spoonbills at Gatorland by Dan – Zoomed & Cropped

Roseate Spoonbills at Gatorland by Dan – Yawning

This species feeds in shallow fresh or coastal waters by swinging its bill from side to side as it steadily walks through the water, often in groups. The spoon-shaped bill allows it to sift easily through mud. It feeds on crustaceans, aquatic insects, frogs, newts and very small fish ignored by larger waders. In the United States, a popular place to observe roseate spoonbills is “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Roseate spoonbills must compete for food with snowy egrets, great egrets, tricolored herons and American white pelicans. [Wikipedia, with editing]
Threskiornithidae – Ibises, Spoonbills Family
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“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)

Bonus:
I found this Great Egret along the edge and an alligator nearby with quite a look on its face. They really weren’t that close, but thought you would enjoy this series of photos. [Click to enlarge]

More Gatorland Adventures

Gatorland in Orlando, Florida

Gatorland Grackle

Boat-tailed Grackle at Gatorland by Lee

“To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever.” (Psalms 30:12 KJV)

We drove over to Gatorland today to get in a bit of birdwatching. Those adventures have been rare lately, and today was not the best for photos. It was overcast and it began to rain less than an hour after arriving. Today, a female caught my attention and I was able to get a few fairly decent photos of her. I am always thankful for any bird that poses for me.

Were we discouraged? No way! We love watching birds and “trying” to take their photo, no matter what the weather. The Lord should give us pleasure in seeing His Creation, whether it is raining or not. Right?

“Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)

Boat-tailed Grackle Female at Gatorland

The Boat-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus major) is a passerine bird of the family Icteridae found as a permanent resident on the coasts of the southeastern United States. It is found in coastal saltwater marshes, and, in Florida, also on inland waters. The nest is a well-concealed cup in trees or shrubs near water; three to five eggs are laid.

Boat-tailed Grackle Female at Gatorland

The male boat-tailed grackle is 37–43 cm (15–17 in) long and weighs 165–250 g (5.8–8.8 oz). Adult males have entirely iridescent black plumage, a long dark bill, a pale yellowish or brown iris and a long keel-shaped tail. The adult female is much smaller at 26–33 cm (10–13 in) long and a weight of 90–115 g (3.2–4.1 oz). She is also distinguished by her shorter tail and tawny-brown coloration, which covers the body apart from the darker wings and tail. The wingspan in adult birds is 39–50 cm (15–20 in).

Boat-tailed Grackle Female at Gatorland near the Parrots

These birds forage on the ground, in shallow water, or in shrubs; they will steal food from other birds. They are omnivorous, eating insects, minnows, frogs, eggs, berries, seeds, and grain, even small birds. Boat-tailed grackles have established significant populations in several United States Gulf Coast cities and towns where they can be found foraging in trash bins, dumpsters, and parking lots. They also mooch off the food thrown to the gators and other critters that the visitors feed.

Boat-tailed Grackle Female at Gatorland near the Parrots

This bird’s song is a harsh jeeb, and it has a variety of typically grackle-like chatters and squeaks.
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Bonus Yesterday:

Coopers Hawk at Bird Bath 112017 by Lee

I glanced out the kitchen window yesterday and this Cooper’s Hawk was sitting on the bird bath. I hurried to get the camera before he flew off. This is through the window and the screen. The day before that, this Hawk was sitting in our carport on the water hose winder. We have feeders and the bird was probably waiting for lunch. No camera then. This is a life bird for our yard. Yeah!

Stay tuned! There are more photos to work on from this latest adventure. We always enjoy our trips over to Orlando to visit Gatorland.

More adventures from:

Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 5/27/17

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Wood Storks in the Rookery at Gatorland by Lee

BIRDS OF THE AIR HAVE NESTS

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“And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20 KJV)

Wood Storks in the Rookery at Gatorland by Lee

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More Daily Devotionals

Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 2/4/17

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WHERE THIEVES BREAK

THROUGH AND STEAL

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“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:” (Matthew 6:19-20 KJV)

Video – Wood Stork Stealing Young Alligators Food at Gatorland by Lee 2/3/17

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More Daily Devotionals

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Gatorland From Dan’s Camera

Great Egret by Dan at Gatorland

Great Egret by Dan at Gatorland

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

Gatorland in Orlando, Florida is a great place to visit and especially to go birdwatching. We have had several articles about Gatorland (see below) and most of the photos have been by me, Lee. But, my husband, Dan, is THE photographer in our family.

Black-crowned Night Heron by Dan

Black-crowned Night Heron by Dan

Dan has a website where he places his photos. His site is Dan’s Pix. I thought you might enjoy seeing his photos from some of our trips there. These pictures were taken from his Gatorland folder.

Here is a slideshow of just the ones from the Heron Family. These have been compressed for this site, but if you swing by his site, you will see the uncompressed versions.

Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; (Psalms 105:5 KJV)

Most of our trips to Gatorland, FL 

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Gatorland’s Over-friendly Wood Stork

On our last trip to Gatorland a few weeks ago, one of the Wood Storks became almost a pest. Dan caught me leaning on the rail taking photos of the Wood Stork as he walked toward me.

Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Toward Me by Dan

Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Toward Me by Dan

Apparently, I was in the way, because,

Wood Stork walking on rail toward me.

Wood Stork walking on rail toward me.

Coming closer. Now you can see Dan taking the top photo.

Wood Stork walking on rail toward me.

Wood Stork walking on rail Coming toward me.

He is so close here, I could hardly focus on him. He then jumped-fly over my head. He almost knocked my cap off as I felt his feet on my cap.

Wood Stork walking on rail toward me.

Wood Stork walking on rail toward me.

He wanted on the other side and I WAS IN HIS WAY!!

Later, we came back past here, sure enough, our “over-friendly” Wood Stork was still hanging out for whatever hand out he might get.

Here are some more of Dan’s photos. Because of his long lens, either the Wood Stork or I was in focus.

Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Past Me

Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Past Me

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Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Past Me

Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Past Me

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Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Past Me

Wood Stork at Gatorland Walking Past Me

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Now You Know Why He Was Walking Past Me

Now You Know Why He Was Walking Past Me

For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: (James 3:7 KJV)

This bird was used to being around people and enjoyed being “hand-fed.”

Here are a few more of my photos of this “Close Encounter With the Over-Friendly Wood Stork.”

“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork’s? (Job 39:13 NKJV)

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Egrets and Heron Catching The Gator Taxis

Great Egret on Alligator at Gatorland 3-8-16 by Lee

Great Egret on Alligator at Gatorland 3-8-16 by Lee

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,” (Ephesians 5:15 NASB)

You saw this photo in Lee’s Three Word Wednesday, but now here is a video of these birds catching their “Taxi Rides” there at Gatorland, FL.

In the first part of the video, notice the Great Egret gives the gator a nudge to get moving and the gator raises its head up. I didn’t realize that the Great Blue Heron was standing on that same alligators submerged tail. Talking to one of the workers, she said every once in a while the gators get hungry. Birds are playing a very dangerous game, in my opinion.

Most times these alligators and birds get along fine. People are tossing food to them and so they abide each other. It is amazing how different critters get along. I can only imagine how it must have been when they were first created. There was no desire of the gators to eat the birds. Today, under the curse, it is a totally different situation. That condition shall come again in the future.

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, The leopard shall lie down with the young goat, The calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; Their young ones shall lie down together; And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. (Isaiah 11:6-7 NKJV)

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Gatorland

Lee’s Three Word Wednesday

Gideon

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Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 3/9/16

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Great Egret on Alligator at Gatorland 3-8-16 by Lee

NO OTHER FOUNDATION

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For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11 NKJV)

Great Egret on Alligator at Gatorland 3-8-16 by Lee

Great Egret on Alligator at Gatorland Close-up 3-8-16 by Lee

Great Egret on Alligator at Gatorland Close-up 3-8-16

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More Daily Devotionals

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