Lee’s Four Word Thursday – 2/9/17

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Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Nikhil Devasar

I GO A FISHING

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“Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.” (John 21:3 KJV)

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Nikhil Devasar

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More Daily Devotionals

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Lee’s Six Word Saturday – 11/5/16

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Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) ©Kidwings

SHE BRINGETH HER FOOD FROM AFAR

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“She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.” Proverbs 31:14 

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) ©Kidwings

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More Daily Devotionals

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Azure Kingfisher

Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx azurea) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Azure Kingfisher ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 2/2/2016

Although the second boat trip at Daintree didn’t produce any more Black Bitterns, it did produce a few gems including this Azure Kingfisher. This has featured as bird of the week before, but that was almost exactly nine years ago so I imagine you’ll forgive another one. They’re small (17-19cm/6.5-7.5in) usually quite shy and often hard to spot perched in dense riverine forest but these ones on the Daintree seem to be used to boats full of birders. Anyone this one let us get very close. Incidentally, I meant to provide a link to Ian Worcester’s website last week but forgot, so here it is: Daintree River Wild Watch.

The one in the first photo is an adult, probably a male from the bright colours. The second photo is on another one on the Daintree from an earlier visit. This one is a juvenile, I think, with scalloping on the crown and blacker wings. Azure Kingfisher normally perch on a branch over water and dive for their prey, returning to the same perch to administer the coup de grace. They feed mainly on small fish, but also on crustaceans and other invertebrates and occur on both fresh and tidal rivers.

Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx azurea) by Ian

Azure Kingfisher occur in New Guinea and northern and eastern Australia and in Tasmania. Three Australian races are recognised. The bluer nominate race occurs in eastern Australia, while the smaller, more violet northern race ruficollaris, third photo, occurs from NW Western Australia eastwards as far as Cooktown in Far North Queensland. The northern race has more blue extending much farther down the flanks than in the nominate race. Cooktown is only about 100km north of the Daintree as the Kingfisher flies, so the birds here are probably intermediate between these two races.

Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx azurea) by Ian

I’ve included the bird of the week from February 2007 for comparison, fourth photo. this was in the Sydney area and belongs to the nominate race. The third race diemensensis occurs only in western Tasmania and is classified as endangered by the Tasmanian Government. It is larger, has a smaller bill and a dark crown.

Azure Kingfisher (Ceyx azurea) by Ian

Work progress on the website. I’ve finished updating nearly all the galleries of the Australasian non-passerines (58 families) with only the members of the Cuckoo family to do. Then I’ll start on the Australasian Passerines (46 families).

On Saturday 13 February I’m giving at talk at the BirdLife Townsville AGM (see Activities for details and location) on the birds of New Caledonia. I’m calling it “New Caledonian birds: from strangely familiar to very strange” with reference to the Australasian origin of most of the species. If you’re in the Townsville district, it would be great to see you there. Greetings
Ian

**************************************************
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern Queensland:  iTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. (Psalms 148:5 KJV)

What a cute little bird! Love those kingfishers anyway, but this one seems special. It is in the river kingfisher part of the family.

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Ian’s Bird of the Week

Ian’s Birdway – Kingfishers

Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family

Good News

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New Kingfisher Species – I.O.C. Version 5.4

White-collared Kingfisher by Dan - Dan's Pix

White-collared Kingfisher by Dan – (Dan’s Pix)

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. (John 21:3 KJV)

Hang on to your fish, here comes a whole new bunch of Kingfishers. With the I.O.C. Version 5.4 that came out a week or so ago, 21 new Kingfishers were added to the Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family. Plus they renamed a few. No, they didn’t appear out of thin air, they split and raised some of the subspecies up into their own species. Kingfishers have been one of my favorite birds from our Creator.

These are from the Collard Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris):

  • Torresian Kingfisher (Todiramphus sordidus)
  • Islet Kingfisher (Todiramphus colonus)
  • Mariana Kingfisher (Todiramphus albicilla)
  • Melanesian Kingfisher (Todiramphus tristrami)
  • Pacific Kingfisher (Todiramphus sacer)
Micronesian Kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

Micronesian Kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus) Houston Zoo 5-6-15 by Lee

The Micronesian Kingfisher (Todiramphus cinnamominus) is now the Guam Kingfisher

Pohnpei Kingfisher (Todiramphus reichenbachii) ©WikiC

Pohnpei Kingfisher (Todiramphus reichenbachii) ©WikiC

The Tuamotu Kingfisher (Todiramphus gambieri) is now named the Niau Kingfisher and the split off the:

  • Niau Kingfisher (Todiramphus gertrudae)
Buru Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx lepidus) ©Drawing WikiC

Buru Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx lepidus) ©Drawing WikiC

The Variable Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx lepidus) was renamed the Moluccan Dwarf Kingfisher and these were split off:

  • Dimorphic Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx margarethae)
  • Sula Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx wallacii)
  • Buru Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx cajeli)
  • Papuan Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx solitarius)
  • Manus Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx dispar)
  • New Ireland Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx mulcatus)
  • New Britain Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx sacerdotis)
  • North Solomons Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx meeki)
  • New Georgia Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx collectoris)
  • Malaita Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx malaitae)
  • Guadalcanal Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx nigromaxilla)
  • Makira Dwarf Kingfisher (Ceyx gentianus)
Silvery Kingfisher (Ceyx argentatus) ©©

Silvery Kingfisher (Ceyx argentatus) ©©

The  Silvery Kingfisher (Ceyx argentatus) is now the Southern Silvery Kingfisher and they added:

  • Northern Silvery Kingfisher (Ceyx flumenicola)

Needless to say, it will take a while to obtain photos for all these new kingfishers, so stay tuned.

There are more changes in the Version 5.4, but more about that later. They list 10,612 extant species and 154 extinct species of birds of the world (Version 5.4), with subspecies (20,757).

Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (Mark 1:16-17 KJV)

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Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family

I.O.C. Update 5.4 Version

Sharing The Gospel

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Ian’s Bird of the Week – Collared Kingfisher

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Collared Kingfisher ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 12-30-14

The first photo shows a present from Santa that I want to share, taken late in the afternoon on Christmas Day: a Collared Kingfisher This species is the only one of the ten Kingfishers and Kookaburras normally found in Australia that hasn’t featured as bird of the week. It’s a close relative of the Sacred Kingfisher, but larger with a much heavier bill. In Australia it is almost exclusively a dweller of mangroves and feeds mainly on crustaceans such as crabs with a carapace width up to 2cm: hence the shell-crunching beak, it’s best field mark.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Ian

Because of its preference for mangroves and because it’s not very common, I’ve found it a difficult species to photograph in Australia. Often the only access to mangroves is on boardwalks, so you can’t get close to anything that’s not close to the boardwalk and, even if you can, you usually can’t get an uninterrupted view in the dense vegetation. In fact, the only tolerable Australian photo that I had was one I took in Darwin in 2004 where there is a walking track into mangroves from Tiger Brennan Drive.

 

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by IanWhen I pass through Cardwell travelling north towards Innisfail and Cairns, I always stop there as it’s a lovely place where the highway runs along the beach front with views of Hinchinbrook Island and a convenient 90 minutes from home. There’s a rest area at the southern end of town close to a patch of mangroves that regularly produces interesting birds. It was badly damaged by cyclone Yasi four years ago, but is now recovering and the path through the mangroves from the rest area to Port Hinchinbrook has been restored.

In early November, I saw a Collared Kingfisher perched in the open on a dead mangrove near the rest area; it was low tide and the bird was presumably looking for dinner on the mudflat. I didn’t get a photo of it – camera malfunction – but looked again on Christmas Eve on the way north and heard and then found one on a different perch in the middle of the mangroves. I got only the quick, back-lit, get-it-before-it-flies-away shot, second photo, before it did exactly that and I didn’t see it again.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Ian

I returned home on Christmas Day and had another look, as the tide was going out and I hope that this would attract the bird into a more open position for a late feed. Just before I was about to give up, I heard the bird calling and found it perched near the beach. I got some distant shots, but when I approached it it flew over my head and returned to exactly the same back-lit spot where it had been on Christmas Eve. If you compare photos two and three, you can see from the guano stains on the branch that it is only a couple of centimetres apart on the two occasions. Clearly a bird of habits. This time, it tolerated my approach, and allowed me to leave the path, squelch through the mangroves and get around behind it where I took the first photo. Austral

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Ian

I’ve qualified some comments with ‘in Australia’. This species also ranges quite widely through Asia, and in some places it is found in many other habitats including suburban gardens and forested areas along rivers. I had no trouble photographing three in the space of week in Singapore and Malaysia, fourth photo, in 2001. These Asian birds belong to different races from the Australian ones and their taxonomy is very confused, with about 50 subspecies being currently recognized. The Malaysian and Australian races have white underparts but some others, particular those in the Pacific Islands east of New Guinea are quite buff, and some taxonomists think they should be transferred to the Sacred Kingfisher. The calls vary by location too. In Australia the usual contact call is a distinctive two note ‘kek KEK’, with the emphasis on the second one.

I hope Santa brought you what you wanted too.
Happy New Year!

Ian

**************************************************
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Where to Find Birds in Northern QueenslandiTunesGoogle Play Kobo Books
Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au


Lee’s Addition:

“And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.” (Matthew 4:18-20 KJV)

It is always enjoyable to happen upon a bird that is not always easy to find. Of course, when you bring out a camera, you never know if they will stay long enough to get a photo or not. Personally, for me, they seem to scatter. I am glad Ian was able to capture this beautiful Kingfisher’s photo.

You can see Ian’s Kingfisher photos here:

Collared Kingfisher

Sacred Kingfisher

Whole Kingfisher Family

and also enjoy many of his adventures here:

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Kingfishers – Alcedinidae – Whole Family

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Sunday Inspiration – “King” Birds

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Grey Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicensis) by Lee at Honeymoon Is SP

Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.
(Zechariah 9:9 NKJV)

‘TELL THE DAUGHTER OF ZION, ‘BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING TO YOU, LOWLY, AND SITTING ON A DONKEY, A COLT, THE FOAL OF A DONKEY.’ ” (Matthew 21:5 NKJV)

Since writing about the Grey Kingbird last week, I have been thinking about birds that have “King” in their name. Here are some of the ones, plus many of the “King”fishers.

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Both our Choir with the Orchestra and the Hyssongs did great and I couldn’t decide so here are both of them.

“The King is Coming” – Faith Baptist Choir and Orchestra. Intro by Pastor Osborne

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. (John 18:36-37 KJV)

“The King is Coming” – ©Hyssongs

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The Gospel Message

More Sunday Inspirations

Faith Baptist Church

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Kingfisher Chick Receiving Its First Fish ~ Re-blog

Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) by Nikhil Devasar

Blue-eared Kingfisher (Alcedo meninting) by Nikhil Devasar

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26 NKJV)

This is a very interesting video of a Kingfisher male leaving the nest, as the chick comes out of the shell. The mother Kingfisher arrives with its first meal of fish. Notice that the throat turns dark as it feeds. I do not know which Kingfisher this is as it was not listed.

Posted on Dear Kitty, Some Blog.

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Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Nikhil Devasar

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Nikhil Devasar

And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. (Mark 1:17 KJV)

Kingfishers are members of the Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family.

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Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family

Birds of the World

Birds of the Bible

Wordless Birds

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The Forgetful Kingfisher

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Ian

Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis) by Ian

The Forgetful Kingfisher ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

THE FORGETFUL KINGFISHER

Cur Book of Birds letter-iN these days the Kingfisher is a sad and solitary bird, caring not to venture far from the water where she finds her food. Up and down the river banks she goes, uttering a peculiar plaintive cry. What is she saying, and why is she so restless? The American Kingfisher is gray, but her cousin of Europe is a bird of brilliant azure with a breast of rusty red. Therefore it must have been the foreign Kingfisher who was forgetful, as you shall hear.

Long, long after the sorrows of Halcyone, the first Kingfisher, were ended, came the great storm which lasted forty days and forty nights, causing the worst flood which the world has ever known. That was a terrible time. When Father Noah hastened to build his ark, inviting the animals and birds to take refuge with him, the Kingfisher herself was glad to go aboard. For even she, protected by Æolus from the fury of winds and waters, was not safe while there was no place in all the world for her to rest foot and weary wing. So the Kingfisher fluttered in with the other birds and animals, a strange company! And there they lived all together, Noah and his arkful of pets, for many weary days, while the waters raged and the winds howled outside, and all the earth was covered fathoms deep out of sight below the waves.

But after long weeks the storm ceased, and Father Noah opened the little window in the ark and sent forth the Dove to see whether or not there was land visible on which the ark might find rest. Now after he had sent out the Dove, Noah looked about him at the other birds and animals which crowded around him eagerly, for they were growing very restless from their long confinement, and he said, “Which of you is bravest, and will dare follow our friend the Dove out into the watery world? Ah, here is the Kingfisher. Little mother, you at least, reared among the winds and waters, will not be afraid. Take wing, O Kingfisher, and see if the earth be visible. Then return quickly and bring me faithful word of what you find out yonder.”

Day was just beginning to dawn when the Kingfisher, who was then as gray as gray, flew out from the little window of the ark whence the Dove had preceded her. But hardly had she left the safe shelter of Father Noah’s floating home, when there came a tremendous whirlwind which blew her about and buffeted her until she was almost beaten into the waves, which rolled endlessly over the face of the whole earth, covering the high hills and the very mountains. The Kingfisher was greatly frightened. She could not go back into the ark, for the little window was closed, and there was no land anywhere on which she could take refuge. Just think for a moment what a dreadful situation it was! There was nothing for her to do but to fly up, straight up, out of reach from the tossing waves and dashing spray.

The Kingfisher was fresh and vigorous, and her wings were strong and powerful, for she had been resting long days in the quiet ark, eating the provisions which Father Noah had thoughtfully prepared for his many guests. So up, up she soared, above the very clouds, on into the blue ether which lies beyond. And lo! as she did so, her sober gray dress became a brilliant blue, the color caught from the azure of those clear heights. Higher and higher she flew, feeling so free and happy after her long captivity, that she quite forgot Father Noah and the errand upon which she had been sent. Up and up she went, higher than the sun, until at last she saw him rising far beneath her, a beautiful ball of fire, more dazzling, more wonderful than she had ever guessed.

“Hola!” she cried, beside herself with joy at the sight. “There is the dear sun, whom I have not seen for many days. And how near, how beautiful he is! I will fly closer still, now that I have come so near. I will observe him in all his splendor, as no other bird, not even the high-flying, sharp-eyed Eagle, has ever seen him.”

And with that the foolish Kingfisher turned her course downward, with such mad, headlong speed that she had scarcely time to feel what terrible, increasing heat shot from the sun’s rays, until she was so close upon him that it was too late to escape. Oh, but that was a dreadful moment! The feathers on her poor little breast were scorched and set afire, and she seemed in danger not only of spoiling her beautiful new blue dress but of being burned into a wretched little cinder. Horribly frightened at her danger, the Kingfisher turned once more, but this time toward the rolling waters which covered the earth. Down, down she swooped, until with the hiss of burning feathers she splashed into the cold wetness, putting out the fire which threatened to consume her. Once, twice, thrice, she dipped into the grateful coolness, flirting the drops from her blue plumage, now alas! sadly scorched.

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by W Kwong

When the pain of her burns was somewhat relieved she had time to think what next she should do. She longed for rest, for refuge, for Father Noah’s gentle, caressing hand to which she had grown accustomed during those stormy weeks of companionship in the ark. But where was Father Noah? Where was the ark? On all the rolling sea of water there was no movement of life, no sign of any human presence. Then the Kingfisher remembered her errand, and how carelessly she had performed it. She had been bidden to return quickly; but she had wasted many hours—she could not tell how many—in her forgetful flight. And now she was to be punished indeed, if she could not find her master and the ark of refuge.

The poor Kingfisher looked wildly about. She fluttered here and there, backward and forward, over the weary stretch of waves, crying piteously for her master. He did not answer; there was no ark to be found. The sun set and the night came on, but still she sought eagerly from east to west, from north to south, always in vain. She could never find what she had so carelessly lost.

The truth is that during her absence the Dove, who had done her errand faithfully, returned at last with the olive leaf which told of one spot upon the earth’s surface at last uncovered by the waves. Then the ark, blown hither and thither by the same storm which had driven the Kingfisher to fly upward into the ether-blue, had drifted far and far to Mount Ararat, where it ran aground. And Father Noah, disembarking with his family and all the assembled animals, had broken up the ark, intending there to build him a house out of the materials from which it was made. But this was many, many leagues from the place where the poor Kingfisher, lonely and frightened, hovered about, crying piteously for her master.

And even when the waters dried away, uncovering the earth in many places, so that the Kingfisher could alight and build herself a nest, she was never happy nor content, but to this day flies up and down the water-ways of the world piping sadly, looking eagerly for her dear master and for some traces of the ark which sheltered her. And the reflection which she makes in the water below shows an azure-blue body, like a reflection of the sky above, with some of the breast-feathers scorched to a rusty red. And now you know how it all came about.


Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Nikhil Devasar

Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) by Nikhil Devasar

Lee’s Addition:

An enjoyable Bird Tale from The Curious Book of Birds. Kingfishers belong to the Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family.

We know the Lord created Kingfishers and gave them their colors, but it is fun to read stories about them, even if they are make-believe. The flood and the ark were true, but that is not quite how they came to fly up and down the waterways.

That they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments; (Psalms 78:7 NKJV)

My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; (Proverbs 3:1 NKJV)

Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. (Proverbs 4:5 NKJV)

Kingfishers have been created by a loving Creator just as we have been. We differ from the birds because we were made in God’s image. Therefore, we need to remember our teachings about God and Christ and not forget them. That also includes what your parents ask you to do also.

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

 

 

  Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

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Birds of the World – Kingfishers, Australasian Warblers, White-Eyes and Doves

Blue-breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon malimbica) at LPZ by Lee

Blue-breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon malimbica) at LPZ by Lee – taken last week

Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (Psalms 40:5 KJV)

I have been working away on the different families of the Birds of the World. In the last few days, I was able to complete three more families at 100% and have one that needs five more images. Three of them have at least a photo or drawing of each of them. 100% done. That is a nice feeling. What beautiful birds are in those families. When the Lord created the birds, He used much variety in sizes, behaviors and colors. Even though it takes lots of time, it is enjoyable to be able to view so many of them. I am keeping an Excel spreadsheet of the families that shows each family, the number of species, how many are needed, and number seen so far. There are “10,476 extant species and 149 extinct species classified in 40 Orders,  231 Families (plus 6 Incertae Sedis) and 2268 Genera.” (IOC 3.3 Version) according to the IOC statement. Yet, when you add up the number of species of each family, they add up to 10,615. (10476+149=10,625) Somewhere there are 10 miscounted birds. Either way (10615 or 10,625), thats a lot of birds that are flying around the world for all of us to enjoy watching.

100 Percent of Images

Alcedinidae – Kingfishers – 95 Species

Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers – 65 Species

Zosteropidae – White-eyes – 128 Species

The Pigeon and Doves have five photos that need to be found. After extensive search, they are still avoiding all the great photographers and artists out there. If any know of a source for these evaders, please leave a comment as to where to find a link to them. At least looking through these inspired the Birds of the Bible – Coat of Many Colors article.

Columbidae – Pigeons, Doves – 335 Species

** Need Photo **

  • Ryukyu Wood Pigeon (Columba jouyi †) Extinct
  • Rodrigues Pigeon (Nesoenas rodericana †) Extinct
  • Sulu Bleeding-heart (Gallicolumba menagei)
  • Mindanao Brown Dove (Phapitreron brunneiceps) 
  • Comoros Green Pigeon (Treron griveaudi)

Below are a few of the birds from each family.

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Click on any of the Families to see the complete list of the species.

Alcedinidae – Kingfishers 

Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers 

Zosteropidae – White-eyes

Columbidae – Pigeons, Doves

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Wordless Birds

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Halcyone (Kingfisher)

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

Halcyone ~ from The Curious Book of Birds

HALCYONE

Cur Book of Birds letter-tHE story of the first Kingfisher is a sad one, and you need not read it unless for a very little while you wish to feel sorry.

Long, long ago when the world was new, there lived a beautiful princess named Halcyone. She was the daughter of old Æolus, King of the Winds, and lived with him on his happy island, where it was his chief business to keep in order the four boisterous brothers, Boreas, the North Wind, Zephyrus, the West Wind, Auster, the South Wind, and Eurus, the East Wind. Sometimes, indeed, Æolus had a hard time of it; for the Winds would escape from his control and rush out upon the sea for their terrible games, which were sure to bring death and destruction to the sailors and their ships. Knowing them so well, for she had grown up with these rough playmates, Halcyone came to dread more than anything else the cruelties which they practiced at every opportunity.

One day the Prince Ceyx came to the island of King Æolus. He was the son of Hesperus, the Evening Star, and he was the king of the great land of Thessaly. Ceyx and Halcyone grew to love each other dearly, and at last with the consent of good King Æolus, but to the wrath of the four Winds, the beautiful princess went away to be the wife of Ceyx and Queen of Thessaly.

For a long time they lived happily in their peaceful kingdom, but finally came a day when Ceyx must take a long voyage on the sea, to visit a temple in a far country. Halcyone could not bear to have him go, for she feared the dangers of the great deep, knowing well the cruelty of the Winds, whom King Æolus had such difficulty in keeping within bounds. She knew how the mischievous brothers loved to rush down upon venturesome sailors and blow them into danger, and she knew that they especially hated her husband because he had carried her away from the island where she had watched the Winds at their terrible play. She begged Ceyx not to go, but he said that it was necessary. Then she prayed that if he must go he would take her with him, for she could not bear to remain behind dreading what might happen.

But Ceyx was resolved that Halcyone should not go. The good king longed to take her with him; no more than she could he smile at the thought of separation. But he also feared the sea, not on his own account, but for his dear wife. In spite of her entreaties he remained firm. If all went well he promised to return in two months’ time. But Halcyone knew that she should never see him again as now he spoke.

The day of separation came. Standing heart-broken upon the shore, Halcyone watched the vessel sail away into the East, until as a little speck it dropped below the horizon; then sobbing bitterly she returned to the palace.

Now the king and his men had completed but half their journey when a terrible storm arose. The wicked Winds had escaped from the control of good old Æolus and were rushing down upon the ocean to punish Ceyx for carrying away the beautiful Halcyone. Fiercely they blew, the lightning flashed, and the sea ran high; and in the midst of the horrible tumult the good ship went to the bottom with all on board. Thus the fears of Halcyone were proved true, and far from his dear wife poor Ceyx perished in the cruel waves.

That very night when the shipwreck occurred, the sad and fearful Halcyone, sleeping lonely at home, knew in a dream the very calamity which had happened. She seemed to see the storm and the shipwreck, and the form of Ceyx appeared, saying a sad farewell to her. As soon as it was light she rose and hastened to the seashore, trembling with a horrible dread. Standing on the very spot whence she had last seen the fated ship, she looked wistfully over the waste of stormy waters. At last she spied a dark something tossing on the waves. The object floated nearer and nearer, until a huge breaker cast before her on the sand the body of her drowned husband.

“O dearest Ceyx!” she cried. “Is it thus that you return to me?” Stretching out her arms toward him, she leaped upon the sea wall as if she would throw herself into the ocean, which advanced and retreated, seething around his body. But a different fate was to be hers. As she leaped forward two strong wings sprouted from her shoulders, and before she knew it she found herself skimming lightly as a bird over the water. From her throat came sounds of sobbing, which changed as she flew into the shrill piping of a bird. Soft feathers now covered her body, and a crest rose above the forehead which had once been so fair. Halcyone was become a Kingfisher, the first Kingfisher who ever flew lamenting above the waters of the world.

The sad bird fluttered through the spray straight to the body that was tossed upon the surf. As her wings touched the wet shoulders, and as her horny beak sought the dumb lips in an attempt to kiss what was once so dear, the body of Ceyx began to receive new life. The limbs stirred, a faint color returned to the cheeks. At the same moment a change like that which had transformed Halcyone began to pass over her husband. He too was becoming a Kingfisher. He too felt the thrill of wings upon his shoulders, wings which were to bear him up and away out of the sea which had been his death. He too was clad in soft plumage with a kingly crest upon his kingly head. With a faint cry, half of sorrow for what had happened, half of joy for the future in which these two loving ones were at least to be together, Ceyx rose from the surf-swept sand where his lifeless limbs had lain and went skimming over the waves beside Halcyone his wife.

Oriental Dwarf-Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) by Khong Tuck Khoon

Oriental Dwarf-Kingfisher (Ceyx erithaca) by Khong Tuck Khoon

So those unhappy mortals became the first kingfishers, happy at last in being reunited. So we see them still, flying up and down over the waters of the world, royal forms with royal crests upon their heads.

They built their nest of the bones of fish, a stout and well-joined basket which floated on the waves as safely as any little boat. And while their children, the baby Halcyons, lay in this rocking cradle, for seven days in the heart of winter, no storms ever troubled the ocean and mariners could set out upon their voyages without fear.

For while his little grandchildren rocked in their basket, the good King Æolus, pitying the sorrows of his daughter Halcyone, was always especially careful to chain up in prison those wicked brothers the Winds, so that they could do no mischief of any kind.

And that is why a halcyon time has come to mean a season of peace and safety.

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Daves BirdingPix

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Daves BirdingPix


Lee’s Addition:

Another enjoyable Bird Tale from the Curious Book of Birds. Kingfishers belong to the Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family. There are two genus in the Kingfishers called Ceyx and Halcyon. Humm! What do you think? Must be those that name birds read the story?

We know the Lord created Kingfishers, but it is fun to read stories about them, even if they are make-believe.

And when he (Jesus) had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. (Luke 5:4-6 ESV)

Kingfishers don’t have to use nets like these fishermen, which were the disciples. But they obeyed and they received a great many fish.

(Photos added by me.)

Links:

White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis) by Nikhil Devasar

 

 

  Alcedinidae – Kingfishers Family

 

 

Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris) ©©Flickr

 

 

  Bird Tales

 

 

 

Curious Book of Birds - Cover

 

 

  The Curious Book of Birds

 

 

Spanish Sparrow (Passer Hispaniolensis) female ©WikiC

  

 

 

  Wordless Birds

 

 

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Birds Vol 1 #2 – The Kingfisher – The Lone Fisherman

Kingfisher – Birds Illustrated by Photography 1897

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited

Vol 1. February, 1897 No. 2

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THE KINGFISHER.

Dear Children:

I shall soon arrive from the south. I hear that all the birds are going to tell stories to the boys and girls.

I have never talked much with children myself for I never really cared for people. They used to say that the dead body of a Kingfisher kept them safe in war and they said also that it protected them in lightning.

Even now in some places in France they call us the moth birds, for they believe that our bodies will keep away moths from woolen cloth.

I wish that people would not believe such things about us. Perhaps you cannot understand me when I talk. You may think that you hear only a child’s rattle.

Listen again! It is I, the Kingfisher. That sound is my way of talking. I live in the deep woods. I own a beautiful stream and a clear, cool lake. Oh, the little fish in that lake are good enough for a king to eat! I know, for I am a king.

You may see me or some of my mates near the lake any pleasant day. People used to say that we always brought pleasant weather. That is a joke. It is the pleasant weather that always brings us from our homes. When it storms or rains we cannot see the fish in the lake. Then we may as well stay in our nests.

My home once belonged to a water rat. He dug the fine hall in the gravel bank in my stream. It is nearly six feet long. The end of it is just the kind of a place for a nest. It is warm, dry and dark. In June my wife and I will settle down in it. By that time we shall have the nest well lined with fish bones. We shall put in some dried grass too. The fish bones make a fine lining for a nest. You know we swallow the fish whole, but we save all the bones for our nest.

I shall help my wife hatch her five white eggs and shall try in every way to make my family safe.

Please tell the people not to believe those strange things about me and you will greatly oblige,
A neighbor,
The Kingfisher.


THE KINGFISHER.

The Lone Fisherman.

imgtHE American species belongs to the true group of Kingfishers. It occupies the whole continent of North America and although migrating in the north, he is a constant resident of our southern states. The belted Kingfisher is the only variety found along the inland streams of the United States. Audubon declares that “belted” should apply only to the female, however.

Like most birds of brilliant plumage, the Kingfisher prefers a quiet and secluded haunt. It loves the little trout streams, with wooded and precipitous banks, the still ponds and small lakes, ornamental waters in parks, where it is not molested, and the sides of sluggish rivers, drains and mill-ponds.

Here in such a haunt the bird often flits past like an indistinct gleam of bluish light. Fortune may sometimes favor the observer and the bird may alight on some twig over the stream, its weight causing it to sway gently to and fro. It eagerly scans the shoal of young trout sporting in the pool below, when suddenly it drops down into the water, and, almost before the observer is aware of the fact, is back again to its perch with a struggling fish in its beak. A few blows on the branch and its prey is ready for the dexterous movement of the bill, which places it in a position for swallowing. Sometimes the captured fish is adroitly jerked into the air and caught as it falls.

Fish is the principal food of the Kingfisher; but it also eats various kinds of insects, shrimps, and even small crabs. It rears its young in a hole, which is made in the banks of the stream it frequents. It is a slatternly bird, fouls its own nest and its peerless eggs. The nesting hole is bored rather slowly, and takes from one to two weeks to complete. Six or eight white glossy eggs are laid, sometimes on the bare soil, but often on the fish bones which, being indigestible, are thrown up by the bird in pellets.

The Kingfisher has a crest of feathers on the top of his head, which he raises and lowers, especially when trying to drive intruders away from his nest.

The plumage is compact and oily, making it almost impervious to water. The flesh is fishy and disagreeable to the taste, but the eggs are said to be good eating. The wings are long and pointed and the bill longer than the head. The voice is harsh and monotonous.

It is said that few birds are connected with more fables than the Kingfisher. The superstition that a dead Kingfisher when suspended by the throat, would turn its beak to that particular point of the compass from which the wind blew, is now dead. It was also supposed to possess many astonishing virtues, as that its dried body would avert thunderbolts, and if kept in a wardrobe would preserve from moths the woolen stuffs and the like contained in it.

Under the name of “halcyon,” it was fabled by the ancients to build its nest on the surface of the sea, and to have the power of calming the troubled waves during its period of incubation; hence the phrase “halcyon days.”

A pair of Kingfishers have had their residence in a bank at the south end of Washington Park, Chicago, for at least three seasons past. We have watched the Kingfisher from secluded spots on Long Island ponds and tidal streams, where his peculiar laughing note is the same as that which greets the ear of the fisherman on far inland streams on still summer days.

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Daves BirdingPix


Lee’s Addition:

Another of my favorite birds. I think most of them are, but the Belted Kingfisher is a real challenge to photograph. They must sense that your camera is on. Dan says that many photographers call it the “Devil Bird” because it is so hard to photo. See http://jimt.zenfolio.com/p703966915 and http://www.pbase.com/jimsthiel/kingfishers both by James Thiel and another photographer at http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnklos/3049270990/.

I think of them as having a short squatty neck and a long beak. Actually the Laughing Kookaburra is in the Kingfisher family, the Kingfishers – Alcedinidae Family. The article mentioned that the Belted Kingfisher is the only one in the U. S., but there are actually two more; the Ringed and the Green Kingfishers that are found in south Texas. We have seen all three of them.

The Kingfisher – Alcedinidae family has a total of 95 members. Many of them are very colorful and again show the Lord’s Creative Hand at work. He has provided them with just the right kind of beak to snatch their meals with and even given them the ability to see their prey in the water. The distortion water gives is compensated for them.

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:18-19 KJV)

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Lee Circle B

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Lee Circle B

In January, I was able for the first time to get some photos of the Belted Kingfisher. Two of them were showing off and forgot someone was watching. They can hover over the water, keeping their head steady and watch for their prey. It is amazing to watch them do that. (Birdwatching Adventure – Circle B Bar Reserve – 1/16/12)

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 February 1897 No 2 - Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photograhy Vol 1 February 1897 No 2 – Cover

Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction The above article is the first article in the monthly serial for February 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.

To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited *

(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)

Next Article – The Red Wing Black Bird – The Bird Of Society

Previous Article – The American Robin

Sharing The Gospel

Links:

Birdwatching Adventure – Circle B Bar Reserve – 1/16/12

Sora (Porzana carolina) by Lee at Circle B

Sora (Porzana carolina) by Lee at Circle B

Dan and I went over to Circle B Bar Reserve on Monday, January 16th. We had a great time birding and we got to view a “Life Bird.” (This one is for real.) See the photo above. “Life Birds” are what you call a bird species the first time you see one. We now have 3 life birds this year. The Sora seen here is the second one for the year. The first one was a Hooded Grebe on Saturday. and I spotted a third one today, a Redhead, at Lake Morton.

The Sora is a bird in the Rails, Crakes & Coots – Rallidae Family. They are 7.9-9.8 in (20-25 cm) and weigh about 1.4-4 oz (49-112 g). So they are not a large bird. I found it among the Common Gallinule and that is what help me realize that it was different and smaller. Been looking for a Sora for months out at Circle B. Knew they were there, just never found one.

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Lee Circle B

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Lee Circle B

Another highlight of our trip was finding 2 Belted Kingfishers, close-up and personal. They are hard to photograph, but this time they were showing off right in front of us. They were hovering and then diving for their food. Was great to watch them. They are in the Kingfisher – Alcedinidae Family. They are medium sized, actually we both were surprised they are as large as they are. They always appear to have a very short squatty neck. They are 11–13.8 in (28–35 cm), weigh 4.9–6 oz (140–170 g) and have a 19-22 in (48-58cm) wingspan.

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Lee Circle B

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Lee Circle B

Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; And let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified!” (Psalms 70:4 NKJV)

We also spotted several Alligators.

Here is the list that I turned in to eBird.org:

37 species total

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck 20
Mottled Duck 2
Ruddy Duck 2
Double-crested Cormorant 2
Anhinga 1
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 3
Little Blue Heron 2
Cattle Egret 15
Turkey Vulture 50
Osprey 1
Northern Harrier 1
Common Gallinule 10
American Coot 20
Sandhill Crane 6
Killdeer 1
Mourning Dove 5
Tree Swallow 30
Northern Mockingbird 1
Palm Warbler 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler 1
Boat-tailed Grackle 5

Wordless Birds

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