Reginald’s Happy New Year by Emma Foster

Deer and Turkeys in Snow

Reginald’s Happy New Year by Emma Foster

Turkeys in Snow ©Bryant Olsen Flickr

Turkeys in Snow ©Bryant Olsen Flickr

Reginald, Oliver, and the turkeys had sufficiently prepared for the winter, and now that they were safe in the fort they were able to celebrate Christmas in comfort. When Christmas was over, the turkeys spent their time building snow-turkeys and having snowball fights, knowing that they were safe from the hunters. Reginald watched over Oliver so that he didn’t get into any trouble, while he also made sure that the preparations for the New Year’s party were properly handled. On the day before New Year’s Day, however, everyone discovered that Oliver was missing.

Reginald and the turkeys searched for Oliver, and they eventually discovered him close by near a frozen river, where he was searching for berries. The turkeys stepped onto the river and realized that the ice was thick, and they all decided to skate across the ice. While they were skating, Reginald watched, making sure there wasn’t anyone nearby who could see them.

Baby Raccoon ©Flickr Chief Trent

Suddenly, a small creature emerged from the bushes, looking for food. It was a tiny baby racoon, who appeared to be lost. She was cold, tired, and hungry, and the turkeys decided to take her back to the fort so she could get warm and eat some food.

The baby raccoon said that her name was Ruby, and that she had lost her way yesterday and couldn’t find her mom. Reginald and the turkeys immediately set out to search for Ruby’s mom. Ruby pointed out the direction she had come from and where she had last seen her mom, and Reginald, Oliver, and a few other turkeys began marching that way.

Momma and Baby Raccoon ©Flickr Debbie

After about an hour, they heard a raccoon calling Ruby’s name. Ruby ran toward the voice excitedly, reuniting with her mother in the bushes. Ruby’s mother thanked the turkeys, and in turn the turkeys invited her and Ruby to their New Year’s party. Every year the turkeys celebrated the New Year by staying up all night and waiting for the first sunrise in the forest.

Reginald, Oliver, and the others returned to the fort. The sun was already beginning to set, and Reginald began to oversee the preparations for the New Year’s party. Reginald and the other turkeys made party hats by sticking leaves onto their army helmets, and Oliver made special hats for Ruby and her mom out of leaves all by himself.

Alaska Wild Berries ©WikiC

Throughout the night, the turkeys celebrated by skating on the ice and eating the berries that they had stored for the winter. Oliver placed some berries on a small piece of bark that served as a tray and waited on the turkeys in order to be kept out of trouble.

Later that night, the turkeys and the raccoons sat down and gazed at the stars just as the sun was beginning to peek out. When the sun rose on New Year’s Day, the turkeys and the raccoons celebrated, happy to know that they were safe from the hunters and that a new year had begun.

Lee’s Addition:

I am glad the turkeys befriended the young raccoon and helped find its mother. Not sure if the turkeys had this much trouble walking on the snow and ice as these turkeys:

It was nice of the turkeys to let the raccoons join in their New Year’s Eve Celebration.

We all trust you have a very Happy New Year in 2019.

“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 KJV)

See more of Emma’s Stories:

Emma’s Stories


Happy New Year 2018

Violet-) Crowned Woodnymph (Thalurania colombica) ©WikiC

“Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.” (Psalms 65:11-13 KJV)

Black-and-yellow Broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus) ©©Flickr Holyoak

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” (Proverbs 9:10-11 KJV)

Great Blue Heron Viera Wetlands - Bad Hair Day

Great Blue Heron Viera Wetlands – Bad Hair Day

“For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalms 90:9-10 KJV)

Song Sparrow in white flowers by Daves BirdingPix

Song Sparrow in white flowers by Daves BirdingPix

“I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” (Psalms 77:5-6 KJV)

Northern Long-eared Owl

“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:8-9 KJV)

Beautiful Firetail (Stagonopleura bella) M ©WikiC

And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it.” (Psalms 90:17 KJV)

Lord willing, we shall all have a blessed and prosperous year. Happy New Year from all of us.

** Keep an eye out for your first bird spotted/heard in 2018 **

Meeting the Challenge of a New Year – Repost

Superb Fairywren (Malurus cyaneus) by AussieBirder

Aussiebirder and his wife, Christian friends we have met through blogging, has just posted a great New Year’s Day Challenge. It is reposted here for you to read and consider. Please enjoy:

As the past year fades away, my wife and I set goals for the new year and look at ways to improve our life together. We ask what can we do better? What do we need to change? What do we need to start doing to achieve our goals for 2018? When we go birding in our local Oatley Park Reserve we find this male Superb Fairy-wren pictured above, eclipsing (this means it is changing its plumage from non breeding to breeding plumage). The male Superb Fairy-wren when not breeding looks very similar to the female, but for its blue tail. You can see the blotchy changes, as it starts to gradually change to its blue coat……



Ian’s Bird of the Moment – Eastern Grass Owl

Seeing as Bird of the Moment has been such a rarity lately, I thought I’d finish the year on a special note. So here’s a species that I always wanted to photograph, but never thought I would: maybe on the ‘if the god(s) is/are kind bucket list’.

But before that here is my greetings of the season; too late for Christmas but in time for 2018, which is perhaps the more important – longer anyway.

Two weeks ago I went spotlighting in the Townsville Town Common Conservation Park with some local birding experts, including one who has an official key to the locked gates that normally keep vehicles out of the more remote areas of the Park: the saline flats near Bald Rock and a track that runs through some lovely forest along a tributary of the Bohle River to Shelley Beach.

The target species, and rather a long shot at that, was the Spotted Nightjar which sometimes turns up along the grassy, saline flats. Anyway, the forest produced five Owlet Nightjars, some of which posed for photos and a Tawny Frogmouth, also photographed. On the return through the normally accessible parts of the Park along the main track, we photographed a cooperative Large-tailed NIghtjar and a more distant Barking Owl

The highlight of the night was a Tyto owl on the grass beside the track though the saline flat. Provisionally identified as a Barn Owl, we soon realised that it was a female Eastern Grass Owl, a species recorded only occasionally around Townsville, though more common near Ingham, for example at the eponymous Tyto Wetlands. The female differs from the smaller male in having orange-buff underparts and is distinctive but both genders can be distinguished from the otherwise similar Barn Owl by darker upperparts and much longer, slender legs which trail behind the tail in flight. After photographing it, we flushed it to get a look at its long legs and confirm the identification.

We didn’t find any Spotted Nightjars, but no one cared amid the jubilation at getting such good view of the Grass Owl. We returned a week later for another look. That night, the Tawny Frogmouths were out in force and no sign of either Spotted Nightjars or the Grass Owl. Instead we found a cooperative Barn Owl along perched obligingly in a dead tree in woodland beside the main track. Here it is for comparison.

Grass and Barn Owls have extensive ranges and the ‘Eastern’ in both cases refers to Eastern Eurasia and Australasia. Grass Owls also occur in Africa and there is disagreement whether this is is the same species as the Eastern Form. Similarly, the Eastern Barn Owl, Tyto delicatula, is sometimes split from the Western Eurasian, African and American forms, Tyto alba. Anyway, they’re all gorgeous birds and Australia has an unusually rich selection of five species of about sixteen in total worldwide. Four of the Australian ones are here

We’ve checked earlier records and it appears that most records of Spotted Nightjars in the Townsville District are in winter, June-August. So, we’ll try again next year, and I hope you have a healthy and rewarding 2018 too.Ian

Lee’s Addition:

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” (Proverbs 9:9-11 KJV)

>Ian, I believe the Creator of this beautiful Eastern Grass Owl has been very kind to your “Bucket List.” Over the years, you have seen and photographed numerous Avian Wonders that you have graciously shared with us.

May your New Year be a great one and, hopefully, your Birds of the Moment/Week articles might come more frequently again.

Ian’s Bird of the Week/Moment

Lee’s Seven Word Sunday – 1/1/17


Flamingos In Love ©Pixabay




“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” (1 John 3:11 KJV)

Flamingos In Love ©Pixabay


More Daily Devotionals


George And The Happy New Year

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) by Ian

House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) by Ian

George and the Happy New Year

~ by Emma Foster

   In the countryside, where farms dotted the land along the hills and the only sounds that could be heard were birds chirping and cows mooing, there lived a small finch named George. He lived in a small red barn out in the countryside. George had built his nest up in the rafters where he could look down at all the other farm animals during the day. In the barn, he had a clear view out the window of the sky and the big city very far away.

New Year’s Day was drawing near, and every night for the past week, George and the other animals were kept up late because of all of the fireworks being set off outside the city. One night, George decided he would fly to the city. He had always wondered what people did on New Year’s Eve and how they celebrated the coming year. George figured the city was the perfect place for celebration.

That morning, on December thirty-first, George flew out the window while all the other farm animals were still sleeping, and began flying to the city.

House Finch Resting

House Finch Resting

The dirt road that stretched to the farm eventually turned into a gravel road as George flew farther on. He flew past many apple tree orchards and corn fields until the gravel road split off into two concrete roads. Here there were many different houses and stores.

Every now and then George would take a break from flying and land on a powerline. He was able to see how far he had to fly before arriving at the city.

By the time George could see large skyscrapers up ahead it was late evening. When he entered the city, he could see many other birds flying around looking for tall buildings to land on so they could see the celebration with a good point of view. George passed by lots of buildings, but none of them seemed good enough. He wanted to be able to see everything, including all the people celebrating.

Finally George spotted a large, shiny ball on top of a tall building in the middle of a busy street. Flying to it, he decided this would be the perfect place to watch the celebration because he could see throngs of people standing in the street below eagerly cheering. By then it was late at night, and George hoped he hadn’t missed much.

Times Square Ball

Times Square Ball

Landing on the ball, he watched the crowd, and he remarked how bright the ball was and wondered what it was for. Suddenly it started lowering and everyone began counting down from ten. When they all reached one, everyone cheered. George didn’t know why, but afterwards, everyone started to leave and call for taxis to take them home. George realized this must have been the celebration.

It was late in the afternoon when George arrived back at the farm, and all of the animals were eager to hear where he had been. George was glad to tell all the animals what he had seen, and of how people celebrated New Year’s Day. None of the animals ever understood exactly why people celebrated the day by counting backwards from ten, and George never understood what the huge ball was used for other than to go up and down.

The End

Lee’s Addition:

O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth. (Psalms 96:1 KJV)

Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord and joyfully celebrate His mighty acts, for great is the glory of the Lord. (Psalms 138:5 AMP)

What a celebration for George even if he didn’t quite figure out what it was all about. Thanks, Emma, for another great bird tale. Sounds like you must have stayed up and watched the celebration New Years Eve. At least you didn’t have to fly to see it.

You can see all of Emma’s other great articles here:

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Temminck’s Stint

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Temminck’s Stint ~by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 12/31/15
Surprise, surprise, Facebook can be useful! I was contemplating a suitable species to wish you a Happy New Year, when I discovered from a post by Rohan Clark that Temminck’s Stint is the newest addition to the Australian bird list, one having turned up in Broome, Western Australia about a month. And no, I didn’t rush off there to photograph it: here are a couple of old photos that I took in India twelve years ago. So that satisfies the Old Year/New Year metaphor. You’ll have noticed by now that I’ll use any excuse as a metaphor to nominate a species as Bird of the Week.
This is probably one for the serious birder as small waders in winter plumage not only pose serious problems of identification but also fail to excite people who are into more dramatic plumages. That said, it’s distinguishing features are the down-curved bill, short legs and, in flight, the white sides to the tail. The latter is probably the best field mark, as it’s shared with no other members of the genus and easy to see in flight, even if it doesn’t show when the birds are on the ground. There are four species of Stints (see Typical Waders on Birdway) the Eurasian name for very small waders; comparable species of the same genus in North America are usually named Sandpipers, e.g. the Least Sandpiper  and are collectively, colloquially and somewhat disparagingly called Peeps after their calls.
Temminck’s Stint nest right across northern Eurasia from Norway to eastern Siberia. The short Arctic breeding season is something of a frenzy, as Temminck’s Stints of both sexes are territorial and serially bigamous and sometimes fit in three clutches with different mates. They winter mainly in equatorial Africa and southern and southeastern Asia, with Borneo being the closest regular winter haunt to Australia. It is to be expected that they would sometimes overshoot their destination and there have been several reports of them in Australia in recent years but none has been accepted until now.
Coenraad Temminck was a Dutch ‘aristocrat and zoologist’ born in Amsterdam in 1778. He was director of the National Museum (then the Rijksmuseum) of Natural History in Leiden from 1830 until his death in 1851. He made a huge contribution towards the classification of birds and other vertebrates at a time when the species and type concepts were contentious. He inherited a large collection of bird skins from his father who was treasurer of the Dutch East India Company, so it would be easy to imagine that his specimen of the stint came from Indonesia.
Sixteen bird species still include his name as part of the scientific and/or common name, including the Australian Logrunner (Orthonyx temminckii), which as featured as bird of the week before. He also make a fundamental contribution to biogeography, though his views on the divine aspects of species design and their unchanging nature proved unpopular with other scientists after about 1840.
You nearly got the Eurasian/Winter/Pacific Wrens as bird of the week as today I’ve got as far as the wren family page in the website redesign. I’m switching from BirdLife International to the IOC for classification and the IOC splits the old Winter Wren of the almost the entire Northern Hemisphere into Old World (Eurasian Wren) and New World (Winter and Pacific Wrens , which also suited the Old Year/New Year transition nicely. However, the Eurasian Wren has featured as bird of the week before in the guise of Winter Wren so you ended up with an obscure wader instead.
I send you very best wishes for the New Year and a rewarding 2016 and don’t make your New Year Resolutions too ambitious!
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737
Bird Photos
Recorder Society

Lee’s Addition:

“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)

Well, Happy New Years to you also, Ian. We look forward to your newsletters again this new year. Thanks for letting our blog share your very informative articles along with super photos of species. Many of those species we have never heard of, let alone have the opportunity to see. Thanks for sharing.


Ian’s Bird of the Week articles

Ian’s Scolopacidae Family

Scolopacidae – Sandpipers, Snipes – Stint Family

Good News


Birds of the Bible – Eye Hath Not Seen

Green Heron at Flamingo Gardens by Lee 2014

Green Heron at Flamingo Gardens by Lee 2014

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 KJV)

We see all the world around us and see all the magnificent birds the Lord has created, yet they are nothing compared to what “God hath prepared for them that love him” I trust that you do love God and have accepted His Son as your Savior. Then, you will see what has been revealed and what will yet be revealed.

For now, let’s enjoy what we can see of the Lord’s Creative Hand at work.

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Psalms 104:24 KJV)

Some of the birds we saw in 2014:

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P.S. My First Bird of 2015 was a Boat-tailed Grackle that visited the feeders. Followed close behind were Mourning Doves and Red-winged Blackbirds. Woke up with a sore throat, so that was my birdwatching adventure of the new year so far.


Good News




Of Robins, Wrens, and Monuments in AD2015

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 6:20)

As the year of our Lord 2014 closed, all too quickly it seemed, I thought about what was done in those dozen months of busy-ness.  What do we have to show for our journey through those pages of the AD2014 calendar?   Was that year worth our time on Earth?  Was that year one of fruitful service to our Lord?  What good achievements, what valuable accomplishments, what worthwhile “monuments” are left in our wake, as we sail ahead into the year of our Lord 2015?

Thinking about these questions reminded me of robins and wrens, for reasons that follow.

But before exploring why earthly achievements (and “monuments”) remind me of wrens and robins, some attention to those birds is appropriate.

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by Robert Scanlon

European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) by Robert Scanlon


The European Robin (Erithacus rubecula) is the unofficial bird of the United Kingdom.  English settlers, seeing what we call the American Robin (Turdus migratorius), were reminded (perhaps nostalgically) of the European Robin, which is also a thrush-like brown-and-grey-backed bird with orange breast coloring. The American Robin is larger, and its coloring is less intense, but it is not hard to understand why the English settlers were reminded of the European Robin they knew from their native land.

The American Robin, as its scientific name denotes, is known for seasonal migration  — its range covers most of America, plus parts of Canada and Mexico, with moderate climate regions hosting robins year-round.  [See Donald Stokes, A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume 1 (Little Brown & Co., 1979), page 221; see also Roger Tory Peterson, Eastern Birds (Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin, 1980), pages 220-221 & range map M267.]

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

Robin Eating by Jim Fenton

American Robins walk about with erect heads, sporting large dark eyes (with white eye-rings, if you look closely).  Like other thrushes, American Robin juveniles have spotted breast coloring.   The American Robin adult females have dull orange breast coloring, and dull brown backs, in contrast to the brighter almost brick-red breast coloring and darker brown backs of the adult males.  Robins love to eat berries in winter.

European Robin juveniles, like their American counterparts, have spotted buff-colored bellies.  Males and females look alike, unlike their Yankee cousins. These birds are known for hopping along the ground, with drooped wings, often pausing upright and alerted.  Common year-round residents in the British Isles, these robins have a year-round range that includes most of Western Europe, except most of Norway and Sweden host them only during the mild months of summer.  [See Chris Kightley, Steve Madge, & Dave Nurney, Birds of Britian and North-West Europe (Yale University Press, 1998), page 207.]  Imagine how honored some European Robins must be, to visit and entertain Laird Bill Cooper (a noble birdwatcher in England, renowned for his godly scholarship as a Biblical creationist) and his family!  Even birds can be granted great privileges during their little avian lifespans!

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by Quy Tran

Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) by Quy Tran


Wrens are famous as small, short, energetic birds with slightly decurved bills and tilted-up tails.  The tail is routinely cocked almost upright, as if flying a flag.  Wren tails often are brown with black parallel stripes, with brown backs and wings, and white or ivory bellies.  When not flying, here or there, wrens hop, creep, climb, and scurry.  Examples of familiar wrens,  often sighted by birders, include Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii), Carolina Wren (Thryothorus ludovicianus), House Wren (Troglodytes aedon), Marsh Wren (Cistothorus palustris), Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus), Sedge Wren (Cistothorus platensis), Winter Wren (Troglodytes troglodytes – common also in the British Isles and Western Europe), etc.  [See Roger Tory Peterson, Eastern Birds (Peterson Field Guides, Houghton Mifflin, 1980), pages 214-215 & range maps M254 through M259.]

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ray

House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) by Ray

One popular wren, known for its warbling song, is the House Wren (Troglodytes aedon).  Males try to attract females, vibrating their wings and singing with a squeaky high-pitched voice when a prospective mate approaches the male’s nest site. If she adds a lining of soft grass to a male’s nest, that means “yes”.  Soon the female will be incubating eggs as her mate brings food to her.  Often two broods will be hatched and fledged during the spring-to-autumn months.  [See Donald Stokes, A Guide to Bird Behavior, Volume 1 (Little Brown & Co. 1979), pages 175-176.]

Bewick's Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) by Daves BirdingPix

Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) by Daves BirdingPix

Years ago a Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) built a nest inside a decorative wreath, a wreath that my wife hung on our Texas home’s front door.  When we walked out our front door the nervous mother wren would flutter and fly away, as we tried to gently shut the door so that the nest was not unnecessarily jostled.  The mother wren would quickly return, satisfied that we were not bothering her nest’s nestlings.  Baby wrens were hatched and fledged from the wreath on our front door!  This arrangement worked nicely, for us and for the wren family, for weeks if not months.  But one day Mama Wren got confused, as someone opened the door – she flew into the house – and then panicked as she tried to discern how to undo what she had done!  Eventually we coached her out – she never tried that again!

Obviously robins and wrens are delightful birds.  But now, robins remind me of “Christopher Robin”.

Christopher Robin ©WikiC

Christopher Robin ©WikiC


Many children know about Winnie the Pooh (originally written Winnie-the-Pooh), a fictional bear cub who acts a lot like a human child.  (The original “Winnie” was a real bear that A. A. Milne saw at the London Zoo.)  Pooh’s imaginary adventures have amused children of many generations  —  what fun it is to romp about on a “blustery day”!  Winnie the Pooh’s adventures (“Winnie-the-Pooh”, “The House at Pooh Corner”, etc.) began in newspaper serials, and later books, authored by Alan Alexander Milne (and illustrated by Ernest  Howard Shepard).  Later, the adventures of Pooh and his friends (Eeyore, Christopher Robin, Tigger, Piglet, Kanga, Roo, Owl, etc.), and later were dramatized by animated cartoon movies.  Pooh’s literary creator, A. A. Milne, had a son named Christopher Robin Milne, obviously the source of Mr. Milne’s concept for the Christopher Robin” who appears as Pooh’s friend and co-adventurer in the Pooh book series.  The Milne family life was an ongoing tragedy, apparently, and the available evidence points to a pessimistic eternal destiny for Christopher Robin (Milne), “and probably also for his father, author A. A. Milne (who despised the Old Testament  –  see John 5:45-47).

Harry Colebourne and Winnie 1914 ©WikiC

Harry Colebourne and Winnie 1914 ©WikiC

Winnie the Pooh has made millions of dollars for several individuals and businesses, but what lasting value is that, by itself?  It is inferior to treasures laid up in Heaven, which neither corrupt nor disappear to human thievery.  Childhood memories – and gentle stories for toddlers — are valuable, of course, but how much more precious are experiences and deeds that honor the Lord, which become “gold, silver, and precious stones” in eternity.


The name “Christopher Robin” reminds me of a similar name, featuring a different bird:  Christopher Wren.  Sir Christopher Wren was an expert in engineering science, a science professor and (better known as) the leading architect of his generation.  Wren was the architect responsible for building dozens of English churches after London’s Great Fire (of AD1666), including St. Paul’s Cathedral, as well as England’s Royal Observatory, the Wren Library at Cambridge’s Trinity College, Chelsea Hospital, Windsor Castle’s reconstructed state room, works at Kensington Palace and Hampton Court, Oxford’s Sheldonian Theatre, Cambridge’s Pembroke College’s chapel, etc.

But the crowning architectural achievement of Christopher Wren, from 300+ years ago, is the Anglican church titled St. Paul’s Cathedral, which rests atop Ludgate Hill, the highest part of London – at a site said to have hosted an earlier church building (named for the apostle Paul) founded around AD604, — ironically, by an invader/activist named Augustine of Canterbury (who is infamous for persecuting the British Celtic Church to the point of orchestrating slaughter of their presbyters at Bangor).

St. Paul's Cathedral At Night ©WikiC

St. Paul’s Cathedral At Night ©WikiC

Christopher Wren’s greatest earthly memorial, of course, is St. Paul’s Cathedral itself, which includes a Latin inscription upon the black marble beneath its central dome, that translates to English as:

Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren, who lived beyond ninety years, not for his own profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you.  Died 25 Feb. 1723, age 90.

St Paul's Cathedral Dome Interior ©WikiC

St Paul’s Cathedral Dome Interior ©WikiC

The Latin inscription was composed by Christopher Wren, Jr., his son.  Thus his greatest professional accomplishment, the grandiose design and successful construction of St. Paul’s Cathedral, became Christopher Wren’s gargantuan “monument”, more dignified than any cemetery gravestone.

But what kind of achievements will constitute the “monuments” of our earthly lives?  Will our deeds, done last year, stand the test of time and eternity, as deeds of faith like those reported in Hebrews chapter 11, the “Hall of Faith”?

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 6:20)

Last year, good or bad, is behind us  –  so it is this new year that we must try (under God’s good grace) to be worthy stewards of, so that each day becomes another “monument” of gratitude and testimony to our great God and Savior.  How we use this new year will be a “monument” to what we really value.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  (Matthew 6:21)

By James J. S. Johnson



James J. S. Johnson


2014’s First Bird Seen

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Lake June-in-Winter S Pk

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) Lake June-in-Winter S Pk

Happy New Year!

What was the first bird you saw in 2014? I am taking a survey and will publish the results in a few days.

My last birds seen in 2013 were 10 Sandhill Cranes and then just before dark I saw a Downy Woodpecker. It is still 2013 as this is being posted. I will add my first bird in the morning.

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) by Raymond Barlow

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) by Raymond Barlow



ON THE first day of the seventh month [on New Year’s Day of the civil year], you shall have a holy [summoned] assembly; you shall do no servile work. It is a day of blowing of trumpets for you [everyone blowing who wishes, proclaiming that the glad New Year has come and that the great Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles are now approaching]. (Numbers 29:1 AMP)


You might want to leave a comment just in case the survey doesn’t work. It’s a new attempt on my part. Leave bird and country.


2013 in Review – Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 220,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 9 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Lee at Lake Morton by Dan

Lee at Lake Morton by Dan

We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; (1 Thessalonians 1:2 KJV)

Thank you all for visiting this site during 2013. I trust you have learned many things about the birds and other things of creation and have also been blessed. Also, thank you for making it possible to have the 1 Millionth visitor arrive on October 20, 2013. WOW!

Will do the best we can to make 2014 even better.

Happy New Year!

Lord Bless,

Lee and all the contributing writers and photographers.


Top Posts for 365 days ending 2013-12-31 (Summarized)

2012-12-31 to Today

Title Views
Home page / Archives More stats 26,590
Birds of the Bible – Eagle’s Renewal More stats 11,313
Interesting Things – Dragonflies More stats 8,435
Weaver Birds More stats 4,711
South Lake Howard Nature Park More stats 2,612
Birds of the Bible More stats 2,497
Trochilidae – Hummingbirds More stats 2,180
Hymns More stats 1,819
Columbidae – Pigeons, Doves More stats 1,728
Eagle Photos More stats 1,713
Anatidae – Ducks, Geese & Swans More stats 1,622
Interesting Things – The Egyptian “Crocodile Bird” Plover More stats 1,616
Strigidae – Owls More stats 1,548
Estrildidae – Waxbills, Munias & Allies More stats 1,464
When I Consider! – Elephant Ears and Scarab Beetles More stats 1,442
Phasianidae – Pheasants, Fowl & Allies More stats 1,369
Accipitridae – Kites, Hawks and Eagles More stats 1,332
Psittacidae – Parrots More stats 1,321
Alcedinidae – Kingfishers More stats 1,282
Fringillidae – Finches More stats 1,189
Muscicapidae – Chats, Old World Flycatchers More stats 1,114
Thraupidae – Tanagers and Allies More stats 1,062
Birds of the Bible – Clean vs. Unclean More stats 1,011
Birds of the Bible – Partridge II More stats 954
Rallidae – Rails, Crakes & Coots More stats 951
Nectariniidae – Sunbirds More stats 902
Birds of the Bible – Dove’s Eyes and Voice More stats 895
Corvidae – Crows, Jays More stats 870
Sturnidae – Starlings More stats 852
Birds of the Bible – Sparrows I More stats 825
Life List of All Birds We Have Seen More stats 816
Turdidae – Thrushes More stats 787
Picidae – Woodpeckers More stats 780
Falconidae – Caracaras, Falcons More stats 771
Birds of the Bible – Ossifrage More stats 740
Leopard More stats 721
Paradisaeidae – Birds-of-paradise More stats 708
Leiothrichidae – Laughingthrushes More stats 673
Pycnonotidae – Bulbuls More stats 673
Furnariidae – Ovenbirds More stats 671
Apodidae – Swifts More stats 631
Icteridae – Oropendolas, Orioles & Blackbirds More stats 622
Zosteropidae – White-eyes More stats 616
Birds in Songs – On Eagle’s Wings More stats 615
Ploceidae – Weavers, Widowbirds More stats 613
Birds of the Bible – Swallows More stats 605
Birds Vol 1 #3 – The Brown Thrush (Thrasher) More stats 605
Emberizidae – Buntings, New World Sparrows & Allies More stats 603
Tinamidae – Tinamous More stats 596
Photos More stats 589
Monarchidae – Monarchs More stats 586
Doves and Pigeons More stats 584
Ardeidae- Herons, Bitterns More stats 580
Birds of the Bible – Names of Birds More stats 577
The Eagle – The Loyal Mate.. More stats 573
Meliphagidae – Honeyeaters More stats 569
Cuculidae – Cuckoos More stats 561
Birds – Hymns More stats 548
Birds of the Bible – Descending Like A Dove More stats 545
Eagles More stats 536
Birds of the Bible – Osprey II More stats 504
Birds – World More stats 500
Birdwatching More stats 498
Birds of the Bible – Hawk Migration More stats 489
Cardinalidae – Grosbeaks, Saltators & Allies More stats 486
Procellariidae – Petrels, Shearwaters More stats 478
Campephagidae – Cuckooshrikes More stats 470
Scolopacidae – Sandpipers, Snipes More stats 468
Birds of the Bible – Sea Gulls More stats 446
Cisticolidae – Cisticolas and allies More stats 441
Tyrannidae – Tyrant Flycatchers More stats 436
Bucerotidae – Hornbills More stats 426
Ostrich More stats 423
Thamnophilidae – Antbirds More stats 420
Chicken, Hens, and Roosters More stats 411
Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Ass (Donkey) More stats 411
Birds Vol 1 #2 – The American Red Bird More stats 410
Interesting Things – Grand Canyon and Squirrels More stats 402
Laridae – Gulls, Terns and Skimmers More stats 396
Troglodytidae – Wrens More stats 393
Some Very Unusual Birds More stats 393
Rhinocryptidae – Tapaculos More stats 392
Birds of the Bible – Review More stats 390
Birds of the Bible – How Many Are There? Part I More stats 386
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited More stats 385
Birds of the Bible – Singing Birds More stats 383
Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Camel More stats 380
Hirundinidae – Swallows, Martins More stats 380
Sharing the Gospel and Pointing Someone to Christ in the Scripture More stats 380
Bird – Week More stats 377
Birds of the Bible – Under His Wing More stats 376
Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers More stats 369
About More stats 368
Sparrows More stats 365
Parulidae – New World Warblers More stats 360
Scripture Alphabet of Animals: The Vulture More stats 359
When I Consider! – Couch’s Spadefoot Toad More stats 356
Phylloscopidae – Leaf warblers and allies More stats 356
Ramphastidae – Toucans More stats 347
Birds of the Bible – Dove’s Dung More stats 341
Pellorneidae – Fulvettas, Ground Babblers More stats 337
Motacillidae – Wagtails, Pipits More stats 334
Caprimulgidae – Nightjars More stats 331
Passeridae – Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches More stats 328
Megapodiidae – Megapodes More stats 325
Birds of the Bible – Owls More stats 323
Peacocks More stats 320
The Futuristic Whip-poor-wills…. More stats 320
Birds of the Bible – Turtle Doves More stats 318
Birds of the Bible – Dove and Turtle-Dove More stats 318
Herons More stats 316
Birds of the Bible – Vulture More stats 314
Acrocephalidae – Reed warblers and allies More stats 314
Lybiidae – African Barbets More stats 313
Birds of the Bible – Quail More stats 308
Interesting Things – The Weaver Bird More stats 302
Birds of the Bible – Swift More stats 302


Your First Bird Sighted in 2013 – Please Comment

Marian (Naturalist at Avon Park Range) and Lee 2004

Marian (Naturalist at Avon Park Range) and Lee 2004

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2 NKJV)

Well here we are at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013. Wow! What a fast year, now we get to renew ourselves and start afresh with a new list of birds for the year.

What will it be? The first one you sight. Will it be an old familiar friend or something new to you? Let us know what you see. Please leave a comment and tell us your first bird of 2013. You might even tell us your last bird of 2012. As I write this, it is only 9:00 am on Dec 31st, but some of you around the world are all ready celebrating the new year.

When you leave your bird sighted, tell us at least where you are, even if it is only your country. If you don’t see Comments on the page, click the Leave a Comment at the end of the article and it will take you to the full article.

I am excited to read about your first (and last) birds from around the world. I will post mine as soon as I spot them in the morning.


Wordless Birds