Lord’s Avian Wonders – Gnatcatcher Preening

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher preening at Circle B by Lee

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher preening at Circle B by Lee

“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. (Luke 12:35 NASB)

A visit to Circle B Bar Reserve last week provide a great opportunity to watch a Blue-grey Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) preening. Normally, they are flitting from here to there and never stay put long enough to catch a photo, let along some video.

To preen: personal grooming of a bird’s feathers especially by using its beak. Nice article at About Birding – What is Preening.

They are a very small songbird, 10–13 cm (3.9–5.1 in) in length and weighing only 5–7 g (0.18–0.25 oz). Adult males are blue-grey on the upperparts with white underparts, have a slender dark bill, and a long black tail edged in white. Females are less blue. Both sexes have a white eye ring.

The blue-grey gnatcatcher’s breeding habitat includes open deciduous woods and shrublands in southern Ontario, the eastern and southwestern United States, and Mexico. Though gnatcatcher species are common and increasing in number while expanding to the northeast,[4] it is the only one to breed in Eastern North America. They build a cone-like nest on a horizontal tree branch. The incubation period is 13 days for both sexes. Both parents construct the nest and feed the young; they may raise two broods in a season.

These birds migrate to the southern United States, Mexico, northern Central America – (Belize, Guatemala, and Honduras), Cuba, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Cayman Islands. Yeah! They come to Circle B in the winter!

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher preening at Circle B by Lee

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher preening at Circle B by Lee

They forage actively in trees or shrubs, mainly eating insects, insect eggs and spiders. They may hover over foliage (gleaning), or fly to catch insects in flight (hawking). The tail is often held upright while defending territory or searching for food.

The songs (and calls) are often heard on breeding grounds, (usually away from nest) and occasionally heard other times of the year. Calls: “zkreee, zkreee, zkreee”, Songs: “szpree zpree spreeeeey spree spre sprzrreeeee”

Your adornment must not be merely external–braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God. (1 Peter 3:3-4 NASB)

Birdwatching Trips 

Circle B Bar Reserve, FL

Wordless Birds – with Hummingbirds

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Birdwatching At Lake Morton Finally – Part 2

Anhinga Drying at Lake Morton by Dan

Anhinga Drying at Lake Morton by Dan

Out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. (Genesis 2:19 NKJV)

After I finished posting Birdwatching At Lake Morton Finally Part 1, about 15 minutes later, Dan came in and handed me his photos. Okay, so what to do? Add to the one I just posted or do a Part 2? You are reading Part 2. So, I am going to share his better photos for you to enjoy.

Wood Stork sitting at Lake Morton by Dan

Wood Stork sitting at Lake Morton by Dan

“Even the stork in the heavens Knows her appointed times; And the turtledove, the swift, and the swallow Observe the time of their coming. But My people do not know the judgment of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NKJV)

The Wood Storks were there. Maybe five or six and at least one Great Blue Heron and a Great Egret. Like mentioned in the first article, there weren’t that many birds around.

He also took photos of the Black Swan, and our immature Limpkin and White Ibis.

Black Swan by Dan at Morton

Black Swan by Dan at Morton

and the red-bill, and the pelican, and swan, (Leviticus 11:18 Brenton)

The “Aflac” Duck and the Wood Ducks were about it. Maybe next time the birdwatching will improve. Once it turns cold up north, our “winter visitors” will start coming to visit and spend the winter with us. Then, the chance for some different birds to show you. Stay Tuned!

I know and am acquainted with all the birds of the mountains, and the wild animals of the field are Mine and are with Me, in My mind.
(Psalms 50:11 AMP)

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Visit Dan’s Site – USNDansPix.com

Birdwatching Trips – Lake Morton

Birdwatching Trips

Gideon

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Birdwatching at Lake Morton – 11/22/13

Various birds at Lake Morton by Lee

Various birds at Lake Morton by Lee

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:24 KJV)

Today we finally were able to get a little birdwatching in. I have been sick for the last 3 weeks fighting bronchitis and felt well enough to enjoy some time with our avian friends at Lake Morton. Lake Morton is in Lakeland, Florida. It is one of the few places around where people feed the birds. You can hardly get out of your car and cross the street before they start heading your way. The local birds have been “well-trained.”

Lee at Lake Morton by Dan

Lee at Lake Morton by Dan

Off we went, with a few tidbits in hand and my new hat. Since the skin cancer cells were removed from my neck recently, I was told to stay out of the direct sunlight.

Most of the normal residents were hanging out. There were lots of Mallards, American White Ibises, Boat-tailed Grackles, plus some Great Blue Herons, Anhingas, Great Egrets, Mute and Black Swans, and the Bald Eagle made His appearance.

 Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at Lake Morton by Lee

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at Lake Morton by Lee

Some of our winter visitors were hanging out also. There were lots of American Coots

American Coot (Fulica americana) at Lake Morton by Lee

American Coot (Fulica americana) at Lake Morton by Lee

There were many Ring-necked Ducks – The Male

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) Male at Lake Morton by Lee

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) Male at Lake Morton by Lee

And the Female

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) at Lake Morton by Lee

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris) Female at Lake Morton by Lee

If you look at that first photo up close, way out in the middle of the lake you will see small ducks. This is a good as I could zoom in on them. They were Ruddy Ducks. Well over 50 of them on the lake floating around.

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) at Lake Morton by Lee

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) at Lake Morton by Lee

Also, way off across the lake were two American White Pelicans with the usual Double-crested Cormorants swimming along with them. Again, this is zoomed way in.

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) with DC Cormorants at Lake Morton by Lee

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) with DC Cormorants at Lake Morton by Lee

I also caught an Anhinga setting along the shore.

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) at Lake Morton by Lee

Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga) at Lake Morton by Lee

The Ring-billed Gulls are back down and this one seems to be a younger one.

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) at Lake Morton by Lee

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) at Lake Morton by Lee

All in all, for about a 35-40 minute visit to the lake, we enjoyed checking out these and several more I didn’t mention. The Lord gave us good weather until it started sprinkling. Then I made a fast retreat to the car. No since getting sick again.

For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: (Isaiah 55:10 KJV)

See:
Birdwatching Trips
Lake Morton Trips

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Redhead at Lake Morton – 1-20-12

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Saturday we headed over to Lakeland for some errands and took the cameras along. We stopped by Lake Morton to see who was there. Turned out to be quite a few interesting birds and got our third “Life Bird” of the year. This time I even was able to video it. There was a couple feeding the birds cracked corn and bread. They had quite a menagerie around them. They came from all over the Lake and we just stood there and photographed away. In amongst the Ring-necked Ducks was this Redhead. We searched all the birds, but he was the only Redhead to be found.

“The Redhead (Aythya americana) is a medium-sized diving duck, 14.5 in (37 cm) long with an 33 in (84 cm) wingspan.
The adult male has a blue bill, a red head and neck, a black breast, yellow eyes and a grey back. The adult female has a brown head and body and a darker bluish bill with a black tip.

The breeding habitat is marshes and prairie potholes in western North America. Loss of nesting habitat has led to sharply declining populations.

Females regularly lay eggs in the nests of other Redheads or other ducks, especially Canvasbacks. Redheads usually take new mates each year, starting to pair in late winter.

Following the breeding season, males go through a molt which leaves them flightless for almost a month. Before this happens, they leave their mates and move to large bodies of water, usually flying further north.

They overwinter in the southern and north-eastern United States, the Great Lakes region, northern Mexico and the Caribbean.

These birds feed mainly by diving or dabbling. They mainly eat aquatic plants” (Wikipedia)

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. (James 3:7 NKJV)

The people feeding these birds were practically proving this verse. Even the Great Blue Heron has come out to feed in the past.

Here is a list of all the birds I listed with eBird.org for 1-20-2012 at Lake Morton.

My Lake Morton List

Mute Swan 20 (Not even counting ones on north side of lake)
Black Swan 1
Muscovy Duck (Domestic type) 5
Mallard (Domestic type) 30 (Also at least 7 White Pekin type ducks)
Redhead 1

Ring-necked Duck 15


Ruddy Duck 1


American White Pelican 3
Great Blue Heron 1
Great Egret 2
White Ibis 18
Turkey Vulture 1
Bald Eagle 1


American Coot 40
Limpkin 2
Ring-billed Gull 10
Rock Pigeon 5
Tree Swallow 10
Boat-tailed Grackle 11

See also:

The whole Lake Morton Album

Redhead (duck) – Wikipedia

Sharing The Gospel

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Birdwatching Adventure for January 7, 2012

Purple Gallinule by Lee at Lake Parker 1-7-12

Purple Gallinule by Lee at Lake Parker 1-7-12

In the last 10 days, Dan and I have finally been able to go birdwatching. We have had three birding trips right here in Polk County.

Twice we went up to Lake Parker Park in Lakeland. We went on the 7th and again on the 14th of January. The 7th was our 1st adventure of 2012. Here is a list of what I turned in to ebird.org which is a listing service that was launched in 2002 by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society to track birds. Here is the list for the January 7, 2012:

Comments: Along shore on way to park and in park
26 species (+1 other taxa)
Mallard (Domestic type) 8
Ring-necked Duck 3
Pied-billed Grebe 4
Double-crested Cormorant – Immature 4
Anhinga 5
Great Blue Heron 2
Great Egret 2
Snowy Egret 3
Cattle Egret 1
White Ibis 10
Glossy Ibis 4
Roseate Spoonbill 1
Turkey Vulture 1
Osprey 4
Red-shouldered Hawk 1
Purple Gallinule 3
Common Gallinule 5
American Coot 7
Ring-billed Gull 20
Caspian Tern 1
Belted Kingfisher 1
Downy Woodpecker 1
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 5
Palm Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 3
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Boat-tailed Grackle 20
American Coot showing feet by Lee LPkr

American Coot showing feet by Lee LPkr

American Coots have an amazing foot structure. It’s not what you would expect but has lobed toes rather than webbed feet. Photos of foot on Google Search

Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. (Job 9:10 KJV)

I also turned in the birds I saw coming and going to the park, which is 10 miles from our house:
9 species
Black Vulture 5
Turkey Vulture 10
Sandhill Crane 3
Rock Pigeon 4
Eurasian Collared-Dove 10
Mourning Dove 1
Fish Crow 50
Boat-tailed Grackle 5
House Finch 2
Palm Warbler cropped by Lee LPP

Palm Warbler (Mistaken Pipit) by Lee LPP

All in all, it was a great birding day. The highlight was getting a new bird for my life list of birds seen. (Update This Pipit turned out to be a Palm Warbler, NOT a life bird: We spotted an American Pipit along the shore before we arrived at the park.) We stopped because Dan had spotted a Roseate Spoonbill. The county had a fair sized alligator pinned up right there also.

Last year I saw 2 “life birds” but it took all year to find them. I am writing this on the 17th and I already have 2  to tell you about, but I will save those for the next articles.
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Birdwatching – 09-25-2009

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) by Dan

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa) by Dan

Today we went birdwatching and ended up at three different places. Our intention was to go to Lake Hollingsworth, one of our favorite places to bird watch. I started my list as we were riding and saw about 20 Muscovy ducks (they are very prolific here), Morning Dove, Osprey, Black and Turkey Vultures, and a pair of Northern Harrier sitting on one of the light arms along the toll road.

It was clear today and about  79° when we arrived at Lake Hollingsworth at 8:35 am. We have been having some rain lately and the lake was really up. I spotted a Great Blue Heron, White Ibises, Mallards, some more vultures, and a Great Egret. What I didn’t spot were very many birds or a parking spot. So, we decided to go to Lake Morton instead. Good choice.

We were there by about 8:50 am and saw lots of birds being fed by a little girl and here father. She was the center of attention of the local clientele. I attempted to take her picture and the birds, but we had had our cameras and our eyeglasses in the car with the air conditioner running. After my glasses un-fogged, I looked through my lens and it was foggy. Needless to say, it was humid! Next time the camera will be in the trunk.

Mr and Mrs Wood Duck by Lee

Mr and Mrs Wood Duck by Lee

Anyway, it was a great day for pictures and I even took several videos (with my regular camera), fed the critters, and here is what we observed:  Wood Ducks (12+), Mallards, Wood Storks (I practically hand fed them), White Ibises, Black Swans, Mute Swans, Geese, Double-crested Cormorants, Laughing Gull, Anhinga, Muscovy Ducks, Bald Eagle (3rd one I’ve seen this week-there coming back!), Unknown terns, Limpkin, Rock Pigeons, Green Heron, Snowy Egret and a Great Blue Heron.

My highlight of being there was getting so close to the Wood Storks. I have never seen them that friendly before. Had I been brave enough to hold the bread (I know, you are not to feed wildlife, but everyone does at that lake and Hollingsworth), they would have ate right out of my hand. I tossed it to them and they were catching it and making a loud snap as that big beak closed. (The reason I didn’t hand feed. I need those fingers to snap photos with.) Also, the storks were sitting different than I had seen. Got a video of that also. The other highlight was I was videoing when a Bald Eagle flew over. I swung the camera up and caught him as he was flying off. You can hear my excitement in the video. I love eagles and had just wrote about them on yesterday’s blog.

We left there and had a small bite to eat and then on the way home decided to stop in at Circle B Bar Reserve to see what might be up near the entrance. By now it was 10:45 and most of the birds were resting somewhere, but not in sight. We heard a Blue Jay, Carolina Wren, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Tufted Titmouse and Blue-grey Gnatcatchers. Overhead we saw more Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures, and Wood Storks and then a Wood Stork flew low past us. Knowing bird sounds helps tremendously when you are in the woods and don’t always get to see the birds. I need to practice up much more myself. It counts when you are making list if they are heard.

The Lord provided a beautiful morning to watch His critters and just enjoy being out and about.

This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalms 118:23-24 KJV)

This first video is just looking around at the ducks and then spotting an eagle flying by.

The second video is of the stork bending its legs and sitting down.

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For other birdwatching trips to the Circle B Bar Reserve

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