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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Lee’s Seven Word Sunday – 2/5/17

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DELIVER ME, O LORD,

FROM MINE ENEMIES

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Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto thee to hide me.” (Psalms 143:9 KJV)

Great Egret at Gatorland 2/3/17 by Lee

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More Daily Devotionals

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Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 9/28/16

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Great Egret by Quy Tran

SHOULD BE ARRAYED

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“And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:8 KJV)

Great Egret by Quy Tran

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More Daily Devotionals

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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Videos From Gatorland

Great Egret by Dan at Gatorland (3)Below is a combination of ten short videos from Gatorland. There are several of the Great Egrets on the nest, and one Great Egret displaying. There were three Snowy Egrets youngsters in a nest and other happenings along the boardwalk.

There is also a video of the Flamingo and Parrot areas. Then you will see two gators that I was watching that kept trying to get into position to see each other “eye to eye.” They seem to be sweet on each other. (my interpretation)

You alone are the LORD; You have made heaven, The heaven of heavens, with all their host, The earth and everything on it, The seas and all that is in them, And You preserve them all. The host of heaven worships You. (Nehemiah 9:6 NKJV)

Here are also some of the photos taken by Dan that Day:

We trust you enjoy the photos and video. This is just a few of the photos taken.

See:

Wordless Birds

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Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida III

PondsideBirdwatching-WebelBackyard.2

Pond-side Birdwatching-Webel Backyard

Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida,

from Chaplain Bob’s Backyard: Part 3

 by James J. S. Johnson

Like a crane or a swallow, so did I chatter: I did mourn as a dove: mine eyes fail with looking upward: O Lord, I am oppressed; undertake for me. (Isaiah 38:14)

But they that escape of them shall escape, and shall be on the mountains like doves of the valleys, all of them mourning, every one for his iniquity. (Ezekiel 7:16)

O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth.  (Jeremiah 48:28)

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Daves BirdingPix

Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) by Daves BirdingPix

Doves (a kind of birds that include pigeons) are among the most commonly observed birds in the world.  Doves display great variety (mourning dove, turtle dove, zebra dove, Inca dove, white-winged dove, etc.), the most popular variety being the pigeon (whose more formal name is “rock dove”).   Doves illustrate 2 different nesting habits (both being mentioned in Deuteronomy 22:6-7):  some nest in trees or other high places; others nest on the ground. Pigeons are often seen, due to their conspicuous habit of domesticating urban habitats (such as city buildings and bridges), nesting in high places (as indicated by , feeding, and flying in plain view of human spectators – often learning to accept food from humans, or to scavenge human garbage.  However, other doves (such as mourning doves) nest on the ground, a more vulnerable lifestyle.  Doves that nest on the ground, however, tend to be more reclusive (hiding in bushes and other thick vegetation), so they are more often heard than seen.  For example, in this birding report, brief mention will be made of a cooing mourning dove – that was heard, but not seen.

As reported previously, at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures, it was a wonderful morning in St. Petersburg, where 3 of us  (my dear friends in Christ, Chaplain Bob and Marcia Webel, and I)  were watching the duck-populated pond and its bird-visited shores, with coffee and feet propped up, in the Webels’ backyard —  under a huge beach umbrella, shielded from occasional droppings (!) from ibises and ospreys (who were perched in branches hanging over where we were) sitting with binoculars, coffee mugs, healthy breakfast foods, and a bird-book.  Mostly we were bird-watching, that morning, but also we were bird-listening!

Muscovy Duck

Muscovy Duck

MUSCOVY   (a/k/a “MUSCOVY DUCK” or “BARBARY DUCK”:  Cairina moschata).

RTP @ 52-53 & 302-303

The Muscovy Duck is a strange looking fowl.  (And its name refers to “musk”, so it must have a characteristic smell, too!)  It is a duck, yet it is large – the size of a goose.  Yet even stranger are the colorful growths of red flesh upon its face:  the Muscovy looks like someone spilled some red bumpy-lumpy oatmeal on the sides of its bill, and on some of them the “red oatmeal” stuck to the face even around the eyes.  This fleshy growth is wattle-like “caruncle”, something like what turkey faces display.  Some people dislike the Muscovy Duck simply because its knobby (i.e., carunculated) face looks grotesque or diseased or “corrupted”!  But Mallards don’t seem to disdain these beauty contest flunkies; often a Muscovy (or two) is seen amidst a group of Mallards, and it seems that maybe they sometimes hybridize.  The coloring of a Muscovy Duck might be mostly white, or mostly black (with iridescent green tinting), or a quilt-patched mixture of black and white, with large white “patches” or “bars” on the wings.   (See Roger Tory Peterson, A Field Guide to the Birds Eastern Birds:  A Completely New Guide to All the Birds of Eastern and Central North America, abbreviated as “Eastern Birds” [Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin, 1980], at pages 52-53 & 302-303.)   The Muscovy’s awkward gait, when waddling about, sometimes looks a clumsy-looking, but these strange ducks are hearty survivors.  Regardless of where they came from (some say Latin America), these ducks are here to stay.   A domesticated form of the Muscovy is bred as the Pato Criollo (i.e., Creole Duck), though it seems that many of these have figured out how to escape their intended culinary destinies, becoming semi-wild as escapees. Muscovy Ducks have been observed and studied for centuries.  The Muscovy Duck was noted by two of the earliest (and most godly) eco-science geniuses, Konrad Gessner and John Ray, both being Bible-believing creationists.  To appreciate just an introductory sample of their trail-blazing creation research, analysis, and scholarship, see:  http://www.icr.org/article/christianity-cause-modern-science/  (mentioning John Ray),   http://www.icr.org/article/graffiti-judgment/  (mentioning, in Footnote #3, both Konrad Gessner and John Ray),  and  http://www.icr.org/article/fossil-political-correctness-sixteenth-century (mentioning Konrad Gessner as a Bible-believing Christian ecologist).

Feeding White Ibises at Lake Morton

Feeding White Ibises at Lake Morton

WHITE  IBIS   (Eudocimus albus).

The White Ibis is a white-plumed wading bird, with a reddish/orange-scarlet/pinkish/salmon-colored “decurved” (i.e., downward-curved) bill — shown here (with Dan Dusing, Baron Brown, and me  —  in a lakeshore photograph taken by ornithologist Lee Dusing) being fed bread crumbs.  The White Ibis is a gregarious bird, nesting in colonies and often seen foraging as a group.  Its homes are found in coastal mudflats, lakes and lakeshores, ponds and pondshores, and marshy areas.  (Obviously this group of ibises have been fed bread crumbs before – they are quite ready for a tasty snack!)  During the breeding season the White Ibis also has skinny pink legs (about the same color as its prominent bill, but at non-breeding times these legs are duller in color),  —  and this bird knows how to scurry about on those legs! The decurved bill, of course, is an excellent tool for probing around in shoreline mud or sand, for little things to eat, such as small crustaceans (like mudcrabs), frogs, or bugs.  (Obviously God gets the credit, for designing the ibis bill to accomplish what it does for the ibis, as well as for supplying ibis populations with the food sources they need to carry on the business of life.)  If the White Ibis bill snaps your fingers, as you feed him (or her) a bread-crumb, don’t worry!  –  the ibis’s bill is so light and gentle that its peck doesn’t hurt at all.  The White Ibis is found all over Florida, year-round, as well as on the Gulf Coast and America’s East Coast as far north as North Carolina.   (See Peterson’s Eastern Birds” [noted above, in entry for Muscovy Duck], at page M105.)  Why do fishermen especially appreciate the White Ibis?   The ibises eat a lot of shoreline crustaceans (like crabs and crayfish), which in turn eat fish eggs.  So if the crustacean populations grow too much, eating lots of fish eggs, the fish populations decline – bad news for fishermen.  Without consciously realizing it, therefore, the White Ibis is protecting the reproductive success of coastal fish populations — on which human fishermen (and their customers) rely.   (See the National Audubon Society’s Field Guide to North American Birds – Eastern Region [Alfred A, Knopf, 1994 revised edition], co-authored by John Bull & John Farrand, Jr., at page 376.)

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

GREAT  WHITE  EGRET   (Ardea alba  or  Casmerodius albus).

The Great White Egret (a/k/a “Great Egret”) is a large long-legged heron-like wading bird, white in plumage, with a yellow bill and black legs.  (See Bull & Farrand’s Eastern Region [noted above, in entry for White Ibis], at page 368.)  This truly “great” egret is often seen standing, like a statute, on the shoreline of a pond, waiting for movement that would betray the availability, in the shallow water or the shoreline weeds, of a quick meal  –  perhaps a fish, a frog, or even a snake.   Donald and Lillian Stokes describe its eating habits as follows:  “Primarily feeds by walking slowly, head erect, then striking prey.  Forages in shallow water for small fish and amphibians [like frogs], but also on land for insects, reptiles [like snakes], and small mammals.  May feed solitarily and defend feeding areas by displaying aggressively and supplanting intruders.  Also feeds in large groups when food is concentrated.  Has been known to steal fish from other birds.” (Quoting Donald W. Stokes & Lillian Q. Stokes, Stokes Field Guide to Birds – Eastern Region [Little, Brown & Co., 1996], page 34.)  During summer this egret also frequents marshy grasslands, tidal mudflats, salt marsh beaches, and other wet habitats – all over America’s lower 48 states.  During winter this fair-weather fowl routinely migrates to America’s East (northward to Delaware), Gulf Coast, and West Coast.  It makes guttural-hoarse croaking noises, as well as loud squawking noises, but it is usually seen before it is heard – due to its large size and strikingly white color.  Its flight is majestic and gracious  —  a marvel to watch, with or without binoculars.

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) by J Fenton

Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) by J Fenton

COMMON  TERN   (Sterna hirundo).

The Common Tern is one of the many coastline-dwelling birds that get lumped into the term “seagull”.  The Common Tern has been described as “White with black cap and pale gray back and wings.  Bill red with black tip; tail deeply forked.  Similar to Forster’s Tern, but lacks frosty wing tip.  Also similar to Arctic and Roseate Terns.”  (Quoting Bull & Farrand’s Eastern Region [noted above, in entry for White Ibis], at page 519.)  This seagull likes to nest in colonies, often on sandy beaches or on small islands, near lakes, bays, or ocean tidewaters.  Unsurprisingly, the males are the more aggressive sex, although a male intruder may be rebuffed by a male-and-female pair  —  so don’t mess with a Common Tern couple!  (See “Common Tern”, by Donald W. Stokes & Lillian Q. Stokes, in Bird Behavior, Volume III [Little, Brown & Co., 1989], page 71.)

Mourning Dove by Reinier Munguia

Mourning Dove by Reinier Munguia

MOURNING  DOVE   (heard cooing  —   Zenaida macroura).

Many books could be written about the Mourning Dove, and about its many cousins – such as the “pigeon” (Rock Dove) – that inhabit so many rural, suburban, and urban places around the world (as noted above, at the beginning of this birding report).  But a better description and appreciation for this bird must wait another day, because this report is already too long!  So, for now, this report closes with a passing mention that “mourning” was heard that morning – the plaintive cooing of the (well-named) Mourning Dove.  But no need for sadness  –  because it will soon be (God willing) another day for pondside birdwatching in Florida!


On the morning of February 9th, AD2015, from the pond-side backyard of Bob & Marcia Webel (while enjoying breakfast and Christian fellowship with the Webels), I saw 14 birds:  Great Blue Heron, Brown Pelican, Mallard, Double-Crested Cormorant, Black Vulture, Wood Stork, Lesser Scaup, Osprey, Snowy Egret, and Florida Gallinule,  as reported previously,  —  and, as reported hereinabove, Muscovy Duck, Great Egret, White Ibis, and Common Tern, plus the cooing of a nearby Mourning Dove was clearly recognizable.  What a morning!


James J. S. Johnson loves duck ponds, having formerly taught Environmental Limnology and Water Quality Monitoring for Dallas Christian College, as well as other courses on ecology and ornithology.  Limnology terms are not universal:  what some call a “pond” others call a “lake”.  [NOTE:  Some use the temperature of the bottom water as the lentic nomenclature determinant:  if the bottom water is the same temperature, year-round (i.e., regardless of whether it is winter or summer), it’s deep enough to be a “lake” – otherwise limnologists call it a “pond”.]   Regardless of this semantic custom, the “pond” viewed in the foregoing bird-watching report is called “Lake Coronado” in Florida’s Pinellas County.  J


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Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida I

Pond-side Birdwatching in Florida II

Other Articles by James J. S. Johnson

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Sunday Inspiration – Great Egrets in Breeding Plumage

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth. (Genesis 8:16-17 NKJV)

Some of those birds that left the ark were from the Heron – Egret family. They are still multiplying. They are assisted in their courting by growing beautiful white feathers. Here are the Great Egrets that we saw at Gatorland last week. What an amazing display they make because the Creator has given them this ability.

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

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You will notice lots of preening and as a result, feathers on the tips of some of the Egrets. The photos are by both Dan and I. His are all marked, the rest are mine.

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“I’ve Got Joy” – Faith Baptist Orchestra

For you, O LORD, have made me glad by your work; at the works of your hands I sing for joy. (Psalms 92:4 ESV)

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Gatorland II – Great Egrets at the Nest

Great Egret on Nest at Gatorland

Great Egret on Nest at Gatorland

If a bird’s nest happens to be before you along the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs, you shall not take the mother with the young; (Deuteronomy 22:6 NKJV)

I have been saving the Great Egrets because they were so numerous. They were absolutely spectacular in the breeding plumage. This first article is about the Great Egrets on the nest. They were either sitting, building, improving or exchanging mates sitting on the eggs. Later I will show the one that has already been born and then on Sunday, plans are to show the beautiful plumage as a Sunday Inspiration.

Great Egret on Nest at Gatorland

Great Egrets in Breeding Plumage on Nest at Gatorland

There were not that many species represented at Gatorland (which are not captives), but what was there has left me awed by the way Our Creator has provided for the birds. He commanded them to reproduce and these birds put on quite a show to impress their mates. Their Maker has given them the ability to grow extra feathers, change the colors on their beaks and feet, and some birds have eyes that change color. Wow! Praise the Lord for His love and care for them. How much more love has He shown to us.

Great Egret on Nest at Gatorland

Great Egret on Nest at Gatorland

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32 NKJV)

Enjoy these photos of Great Egrets on their nest and then a video of “the changing of the guard” at one of the nest I was able to witness. (Click on a thumbnail to see photos full screen)

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See the Gatorland Birdwatching Page

Gatorland in Orlando

Falling Plates

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Birdwatching and Updated Indexes for I.O.C. 2.5 Version

Limpkin at Lake Morton

Limpkin at Lake Morton

It took me awhile, but I finally got all the links up for the newest version (2.5) of the I.O.C. Now you should be able to find any bird on the lists.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) scrawny by Lee

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) scrawny by Lee

Dan and I managed to get in a little birdwatching Friday at Lake Morton. We saw several weird things take place. At least I hadn’ t seen it before. Watched a Great Egret with what I thought was a fish, a scrawy Anhinga, and a one footed White Ibis.

The Anhinga that we saw was “scrawny.” It must have been in a molting stage, because it sure didn’t have many complete feathers. Also fed a one-footed White Ibis. Did manage to get some nice photos of a Limpkin and a Green Heron. There were some gulls around and I think it is a Laughing Gull I photographed. Haven’t seen one there before, at least not with that black hood.

Great Egret at Lake Morton

Great Egret at Lake Morton

The Great Egret that was eating something, well, trying to, turned out to be a baby Mallard. I was photographing it from a distance and didn’t realize what it had until we got home and viewed the photos. Never did see it swallow it. The Egret flew off with it and when I spotted it later, there was no baby Mallard around. Hope he dropped it when he flew off. I was sad when I realized what had been going on.

Sunday, at church, our pastor was preaching on the death of Christ on the cross. He gave the following quote by Dorothy Sayers and it reminded me of what I had seen on Friday.

It is a curious fact that people who are filled with horror when a cat kills a sparrow can hear the true story of how people killed the Lord Jesus Christ told Sunday after Sunday and not experience any Shock whatsoever! Dorothy L. Sayers

The Lord loved us so much He was willing to lay His life down and pay for our sins. He has “finished” the payment and has raised Himself up and is in heaven with the Father. Do we hear that week after week and not acknowledge the truth? I trust you know the Savior.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17 KJV)

Wordless Birds and Gospel Message

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) by Lee

Laughing Gull (Leucophaeus atricilla) by Lee

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) by Lee

Green Heron (Butorides virescens) by Lee