A Fishing Party – Chapter 21

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Lee Circle B

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon) by Lee Circle B

A Fishing Party

The Great Blue Heron and the Kingfisher.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

Chapter 21

Listen to the story read.

A Fishing Party.

Peter Rabbit sat on the edge of the Old Briar-patch trying to make up
his mind whether to stay at home, which was the wise and proper thing
to do, or to go call on some of the friends he had not yet visited. A
sharp, harsh rattle caused him to look up to see a bird about a third
larger than Welcome Robin, and with a head out of all proportion to
the size of his body. He was flying straight towards the Smiling Pool,
rattling harshly as he flew. The mere sound of his voice settled the
matter for Peter. “It’s Rattles the Kingfisher,” he cried. “I think I’ll
run over to the Smiling Pool and pay him my respects.”

Belted Kingfisher on 11/25/20 by Lee

So Peter started for the Smiling Pool as fast as his long legs could
take him, lipperty-lipperty-lip. He had lost sight of Rattles the
Kingfisher, and when he reached the back of the Smiling Pool he was in
doubt which way to turn. It was very early in the morning and there was
not so much as a ripple on the surface of the Smiling Pool. As Peter sat
there trying to make up his mind which way to go, he saw coming from the
direction of the Big River a great, broad-winged bird, flying slowly. He
seemed to have no neck at all, but carried straight out behind him were
two long legs.

Great Blue Heron; Walton County, Georgia birding photogaphy blog by williamwisephoto.com

Longlegs the Great Blue Heron! I wonder if he is coming here,”
exclaimed Peter. “I do hope so.”

Peter stayed right where he was and waited. Nearer and nearer came
Longlegs. When he was right opposite Peter he suddenly dropped his long
legs, folded his great wings, and alighted right on the edge of the
Smiling Pool across from where Peter was sitting. If he seemed to have
no neck at all when he was flying, now he seemed to be all neck as he
stretched it to its full length. The fact is, his neck was so long that
when he was flying he carried it folded back on his shoulders. Never
before had Peter had such an opportunity to see Longlegs.

He stood quite four feet high. The top of his head and throat were
white. From the base of his great bill and over his eye was a black
stripe which ended in two long, slender, black feathers hanging from
the back of his head. His bill was longer than his head, stout and
sharp like a spear and yellow in color. His long neck was a light
brownish-gray. His back and wings were of a bluish color. The bend of
each wing and the feathered parts of his legs were a rusty-red. The
remainder of his legs and his feet were black. Hanging down over his
breast were beautiful long pearly-gray feathers quite unlike any Peter
had seen on any of his other feathered friends. In spite of the
length of his legs and the length of his neck he was both graceful and
handsome.

Great Blue Heron Lake Morton by Dan

“I wonder what has brought him over to the Smiling Pool,” thought Peter.

He didn’t have to wait long to find out. After standing perfectly still
with his neck stretched to its full height until he was sure that no
danger was near, Longlegs waded into the water a few steps, folded his
neck back on his shoulders until his long bill seemed to rest on his
breast, and then remained as motionless as if there were no life in him.
Peter also sat perfectly still. By and by he began to wonder if Longlegs
had gone to sleep. His own patience was reaching an end and he was just
about to go on in search of Rattles the Kingfisher when like a flash the
dagger-like bill of Longlegs shot out and down into the water. When he
withdrew it Peter saw that Longlegs had caught a little fish which he at
once proceeded to swallow head-first. Peter almost laughed right out as
he watched the funny efforts of Longlegs to gulp that fish down his long
throat. Then Longlegs resumed his old position as motionless as before.

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) from Jim JS Johnson

It was no trouble now for Peter to sit still, for he was too interested
in watching this lone fisherman to think of leaving. It wasn’t long
before Longlegs made another catch and this time it was a fat Pollywog.
Peter thought of how he had watched Plunger the Osprey fishing in the
Big River and the difference in the ways of the two fishermen.

Plunger hunts for his fish while Longlegs waits for his fish to come to
him,” thought Peter. “I wonder if Longlegs never goes hunting.”

As if in answer to Peter’s thought Longlegs seemed to conclude that
no more fish were coming his way. He stretched himself up to his full
height, looked sharply this way and that way to make sure that all was
safe, then began to walk along the edge of the Smiling Pool. He put each
foot down slowly and carefully so as to make no noise. He had gone but
a few steps when that great bill darted down like a flash, and Peter
saw that he had caught a careless young Frog. A few steps farther on he
caught another Pollywog. Then coming to a spot that suited him, he once
more waded in and began to watch for fish.

Great Blue Heron at Lake Morton watching for fish, by Lee

Peter was suddenly reminded of Rattles the Kingfisher, whom he had quite
forgotten. From the Big Hickory-tree on the bank, Rattles flew out over
the Smiling Pool, hovered for an instant, then plunged down head-first.
There was a splash, and a second later Rattles was in the air again,
shaking the water from him in a silver spray. In his long, stout, black
bill was a little fish. He flew back to a branch of the Big Hickory-tree
that hung out over the water and thumped the fish against the branch
until it was dead. Then he turned it about so he could swallow it
head-first. It was a big fish for the size of the fisherman and he had a
dreadful time getting it down. But at last it was down, and Rattles set
himself to watch for another. The sun shone full on him, and Peter gave
a little gasp of surprise.

Kingfisher Diving Sequence ©SMedia-Cache (Not the kind of kingfisher in the story, but it shows how they dive down.)

“I never knew before how handsome Rattles is,” thought Peter. He was
about the size of Yellow Wing the Flicker, but his head made him look
bigger than he really was. You see, the feathers on top of his head
stood up in a crest, as if they had been brushed the wrong way. His
head, back, wings and tail were a bluish-gray. His throat was white and
he wore a white collar. In front of each eye was a little white spot.
Across his breast was a belt of bluish-gray, and underneath he was
white. There were tiny spots of white on his wings, and his tail was
spotted with white. His bill was black and, like that of Longlegs, was
long, and stout, and sharp. It looked almost too big for his size.

Belted Kingfisher; Walton County Georgia

Presently Rattles flew out and plunged into the Smiling Pool again, this
time, very near to where Longlegs was patiently waiting. He caught a
fish, for it is not often that Rattles misses. It was smaller than the
first one Peter had seen him catch, and this time as soon as he got back
to the Big Hickory-tree, he swallowed it without thumping it against the
branch. As for Longlegs, he looked thoroughly put out. For a moment or
two he stood glaring angrily up at Rattles. You see, when Rattles had
plunged so close to Longlegs he had frightened all the fish. Finally
Longlegs seemed to make up his mind that there was room for but one
fisherman at a time at the Smiling Pool. Spreading his great wings,
folding his long neck back on his shoulders, and dragging his long legs
out behind him, he flew heavily away in the direction of the Big River.

Rattles remained long enough to catch another little fish, and then
with a harsh rattle flew off down the Laughing Brook. “I would know him
anywhere by that rattle,” thought Peter. “There isn’t any one who can
make a noise anything like it. I wonder where he has gone to now. He
must have a nest, but I haven’t the least idea what kind of a nest he
builds. Hello! There’s Grandfather Frog over on his green lily pad.
Perhaps he can tell me.”

So Peter hopped along until he was near enough to talk to Grandfather
Frog. “What kind of a nest does Rattles the Kingfisher build?” repeated
Grandfather Frog. “Chug-arum, Peter Rabbit! I thought everybody knew
that Rattles doesn’t build a nest. At least I wouldn’t call it a nest.
He lives in a hole in the ground.”

“What!” cried Peter, and looked as if he couldn’t believe his own ears.

No Breath, but cute -Frog Playing Violin at Swamp Magnolia Plantation by Lee

Grandfather Frog grinned and his goggly eyes twinkled. “Yes,” said he,
“Rattles lives in a hole in the ground.”

“But–but–but what kind of a hole?” stammered Peter.

“Just plain hole,” retorted Grandfather Frog, grinning more broadly than
ever. Then seeing how perplexed and puzzled Peter looked, he went on to
explain. “He usually picks out a high gravelly bank close to the water
and digs a hole straight in just a little way from the top. He makes
it just big enough for himself and Mrs. Rattles to go in and out of
comfortably, and he digs it straight in for several feet. I’m told that
at the end of it he makes a sort of bedroom, because he usually has a
good-sized family.”

“Do you mean to say that he digs it himself?” asked Peter.

Grandfather Frog nodded. “If he doesn’t, Mrs. Kingfisher does,” he
replied. “Those big bills of theirs are picks as well as fish spears.
They loosen the sand with those and scoop it out with their feet. I’ve
never seen the inside of their home myself, but I’m told that their
bedroom is lined with fish bones. Perhaps you may call that a nest, but
I don’t.”

“I’m going straight down the Laughing Brook to look for that hole,”
declared Peter, and left in such a hurry that he forgot to be polite
enough to say thank you to Grandfather Frog.

***

  • What kind of birds is Longlegs?
  • How does Longlegs fish?
  • How does Longlegs swallow his fish?
  • What kind of bird is Rattles?
  • Do Longlegs and Rattles fish the same way?
  • How does Rattles fish?
  • Both Longlegs and Rattles fish differently. The Lord created them differently, but they both like fish.
  • Do we make fun of someone, or tease them if they do something a little differently than we do?

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:32 NKJV)

***

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Yellow-fronted Woodpecker (Melanerpes flavifrons) by Dario Sanches

 

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A Fisherman Robbed – Chapter 20

King Eagle Plunger the Osprey - Burgess Bird Book ©©

King Eagle Plunger the Osprey – Burgess Bird Book ©©

A Fisherman Robbed

The Osprey and the Bald-headed Eagle.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

*

Listen to the story read.

CHAPTER 20. A Fisherman Robbed.

Just out of curiosity, and because he possesses what is called the
wandering foot, which means that he delights to roam about, Peter Rabbit
had run over to the bank of the Big River. There were plenty of bushes,
clumps of tall grass, weeds and tangles of vines along the bank of the
Big River, so that Peter felt quite safe there. He liked to sit gazing
out over the water and wonder where it all came from and where it was
going and what, kept it moving.

He was doing this very thing on this particular morning when he happened
to glance up in the blue, blue sky. There he saw a broad-winged bird
sailing in wide, graceful circles. Instantly Peter crouched a little
lower in his hiding-place, for he knew this for a member of the Hawk
family and Peter has learned by experience that the only way to keep
perfectly safe when one of these hook-clawed, hook-billed birds is about
is to keep out of sight.

So now he crouched very close to the ground and kept his eyes fixed on
the big bird sailing so gracefully high up in the blue, blue sky over
the Big River. Suddenly the stranger paused in his flight and for a
moment appeared to remain in one place, his great wings heating rapidly
to hold him there. Then those wings were closed and with a rush he shot
down straight for the water, disappearing with a great splash. Instantly
Peter sat up to his full height that he might see better.

“It’s Plunger the Osprey fishing, and I’ve nothing to fear from him,” he
cried happily.

Out of the water, his great wings flapping, rose Plunger. Peter looked
eagerly to see if he had caught a fish, but there was nothing in
Plunger’s great, curved claws. Either that fish had been too deep or
had seen Plunger and darted away just in the nick of time. Peter had a
splendid view of Plunger. He was just a little bigger than Redtail the
Hawk. Above he was dark brown, his head and neck marked with white. His
tail was grayish, crossed by several narrow dark bands and tipped with
white. His under parts were white with some light brown spots on his
breast. Peter could see clearly the great, curved claws which are
Plunger’s fishhooks.

Eastern Osprey trying to catch fish by Ian

Up, up, up he rose, going round and round in a spiral. When he was well
up in the blue, blue sky, he began to sail again in wide circles as when
Peter had first seen him. It wasn’t long before he again paused and
then shot down towards the water. This time he abruptly spread his great
wings just before reaching the water so that he no more than wet his
feet. Once more a fish had escaped him. But Plunger seemed not in the
least discouraged. He is a true fisherman and every true fisherman
possesses patience. Up again he spiraled until he was so high that Peter
wondered how he could possibly see a fish so far below. You see, Peter
didn’t know that it is easier to see down into the water from high above
it than from close to it. Then, too, there are no more wonderful eyes
than those possessed by the members of the Hawk family. And Plunger the
Osprey is a Hawk, usually called Fish Hawk.

Osprey Catching Fish by Ian

A third time Plunger shot down and this time, as in his first attempt,
he struck the water with a great splash and disappeared. In an instant
he reappeared, shaking the water from him in a silver spray and flapping
heavily. This time Fetes could gee a great shining fish in his claws.
It was heavy, as Peter could tell by the way in which Plunger flew. He
headed towards a tall tree on the other bank of the Big River, there to
enjoy his breakfast. He was not more than halfway there when Peter was
startled by a harsh scream.

He looked up to see a great bird, with wonderful broad wings, swinging
in short circles about Plunger. His body and wings were dark brown, and
his head was snowy white, as was his tail. His great hooked beak was
yellow and his legs were yellow. Peter knew in an instant who it was.
There could be no mistake. It was King Eagle, commonly known as Bald
Head, though his head isn’t bald at all.

Peter’s eyes looked as if they would pop out of his head, for it was
quite plain to him that King Eagle was after Plunger, and Peter didn’t
understand this at all. You see, he didn’t understand what King Eagle
was screaming. But Plunger did. King Eagle was screaming, “Drop that
fish! Drop that fish!”

Plunger didn’t intend to drop that fish if he could help himself. It was
his fish. Hadn’t he caught it himself? He didn’t intend to give it up to
any robber of the air, even though that robber was King Eagle himself,
unless he was actually forced to. So Plunger began to dodge and twist
and turn in the air, all the time mounting higher and higher, and all
the time screaming harshly, “Robber! Thief! I won’t drop this fish! It’s
mine! It’s mine!”

Now the fish was heavy, so of course Plunger couldn’t fly as easily and
swiftly as if he were carrying nothing. Up, up he went, but all the time
King Eagle went up with him, circling round him, screaming harshly, and
threatening to strike him with those great cruel, curved claws. Peter
watched them, so excited that he fairly danced. “O, I do hope Plunger
will get away from that big robber,” cried Peter. “He may be king of the
air, but he is a robber just the same.”

Plunger and King Eagle were now high in the air above the Big River.
Suddenly King Eagle swung above Plunger and for an instant seemed to
hold himself still there, just as Plunger had done before he had shot
down into the water after that fish. There was a still harsher note in
King Eagle’s scream. If Peter had been near enough he would have seen
a look of anger and determination in King Eagle’s fierce, yellow eyes.
Plunger saw it and knew what it meant. He knew that King Eagle would
stand for no more fooling. With a cry of bitter disappointment and anger
he let go of the big fish.

Bald Eagle – San Diego Zoo

Down, down, dropped the fish, shining in the sun like a bar of silver.
King Eagle’s wings half closed and he shot down like a thunderbolt. Just
before the fish reached the water King Eagle struck it with his great
claws, checked himself by spreading his broad wings and tail, and then
in triumph flew over to the very tree towards which Plunger had started
when he had caught the fish. There he leisurely made his breakfast,
apparently enjoying it as much as if he had come by it honestly.

As for poor Plunger, he shook himself, screamed angrily once or twice,
then appeared to think that it was wisest to make the best of a bad
matter and that there were more fish where that one had come from, for
he once more began to sail in circles over the Big River, searching
for a fish near the surface. Peter watched him until he saw him catch
another fish and fly away with it in triumph. King Eagle watched him,
too, but having had a good breakfast he was quite willing to let Plunger
enjoy his catch in peace.

Late that afternoon Peter visited the Old Orchard, for he just had to
tell Jenny Wren all about what he had seen that morning.

“King Eagle is king simply because he is so big and fierce and strong,”
sputtered Jenny. “He isn’t kingly in his habits, not the least bit. He
never hesitates to rob those smaller than himself, just as you saw him
rob Plunger. He is very fond of fish, and once in a while he catches one
for himself when Plunger isn’t around to be robbed, but he isn’t a very
good fisherman, and he isn’t the least bit fussy about his fish. Plunger
eats only fresh fish which he catches himself, but King Eagle will eat
dead fish which he finds on the shore. He doesn’t seem to care how long
they have been dead either.”

“Doesn’t he eat anything but fish?” asked Peter innocently.

“Well,” retorted Jenny Wren, her eyes twinkling, “I wouldn’t advise you
to run across the Green Meadows in sight of King Eagle. I am told he is
very fond of Rabbit. In fact he is very fond of fresh meat of any kind.
He even catches the babies of Lightfoot the Deer when he gets a chance.
He is so swift of wing that even the members of the Duck family fear
him, for he is especially fond of fat Duck. Even Honker the Goose is not
safe from him. King he may he, but he rules only through fear. He is
a white-headed old robber. The best thing I can say of him is that he
takes a mate for life and is loyal and true to her as long as she lives,
and that is a great many years. By the way, Peter, did you know that
she is bigger than he is, and that the young during the first year after
leaving their nest, are bigger than their parents and do not have white
heads? By the time they get white heads they are the same size as their
parents.”

“That’s odd and its hard to believe,” said Peter.

“It is odd, but it is true just the same, whether you believe it or
not,” retorted Jenny Wren, and whisked out of sight into her home.

***

  • What kind of bird is Plunger?
  • Who was watching Plunger trying to catch a fish?
  • How many tries did it take to catch a fish?
  • Do you give up after the first try, or do you keep trying to accomplish (finish) a goal?
  • What happened to the fish?
  • Did both birds have a meal?
  • Is it right to steal?

“You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.” (Leviticus 19:11 NKJV)

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A Maker of Thunder and a Friend in Black – Chapter 19

One of our readers asked if I might continue this Burgess Bird Book for Children Series in the Bird Tales section. [She is reading them to her children.] Since I already have the stories, photos, and recordings on my computer, I agreed. Here is Chapter 19, and there are 45 chapters all total. So, STAY TUNED!

Strutter_the_Ruffed_Grouse - Burgess Bird Book ©©

Strutter, The Ruffed Grouse – Burgess Bird Book ©©

A Maker of Thunder and a Friend in Black

The Ruffed Grouse and the Crow Blackbird.

The Burgess Bird Book For Children

*

Chapter 19. A Maker of Thunder and a Friend in Black.

Listen to the story read.

Peter Rabbit’s intentions were of the best. Once safely away from that
lonesome part of the Green Forest where was the home of Redtail the
Hawk, he intended to go straight back to the dear Old Briar-patch. But
he was not halfway there when from another direction in the Green Forest
there came a sound that caused him to stop short and quite forget all
about home. It was a sound very like distant thunder. It began slowly at
first and then went faster and faster. Boom–Boom–Boom–Boom-Boom-Boom
Boo-Boo-B-B-B-B-b-b-b-b-boom! It was like the long roll on a bass drum.

Peter laughed right out. “That’s Strutter the Stuffed Grouse!” he cried
joyously. “I had forgotten all about him. I certainly must go over and
pay him a call and find out where Mrs. Grouse is. My, how Strutter can
drum!”

Peter promptly headed towards that distant thunder. As he drew nearer
to it, it sounded louder and louder. Presently Peter stopped to try to
locate exactly the place where that sound, which now was more than ever
like thunder, was coming from. Suddenly Peter remembered something.
“I know just where he is,” said he to himself. “There’s a big, mossy,
hollow log over yonder, and I remember that Mrs. Grouse once told me
that that is Strutter’s thunder log.”

Very, very carefully Peter stole forward, making no sound at all. At
last he reached a place where he could peep out and see that big, mossy,
hollow log. Sure enough, there was Strutter the Ruffed Grouse. When
Peter first saw him he was crouched on one end of the log, a fluffy ball
of reddish-brown, black and gray feathers. He was resting. Suddenly he
straightened up to his full height, raised his tail and spread it until
it was like an open fan above his back. The outer edge was gray, then
came a broad band of black, followed by bands of gray, brown and black.
Around his neck was a wonderful ruff of black. His reddish-brown wings
were dropped until the tips nearly touched the log. His full breast
rounded out and was buff color with black markings. He was of about the
size of the little Bantam hens Peter had seen in Farmer Brown’s henyard.

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) by Raymond Barlow

Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa umbellus) by Raymond Barlow

In the most stately way you can imagine Strutter walked the length of
that mossy log. He was a perfect picture of pride as he strutted very
much like Tom Gobbler the big Turkey cock. When he reached the end of
the log he suddenly dropped his tail, stretched himself to his full
height and his wings began to beat, first slowly then faster and faster,
until they were just a blur. They seemed to touch above his back but
when they came down they didn’t quite strike his sides. It was those
fast moving wings that made the thunder. It was so loud that Peter
almost wanted to stop his ears. When it ended Strutter settled down to
rest and once more appeared like a ball of fluffy feathers. His ruff was
laid flat.

Peter watched him thunder several times and then ventured to show
himself. “Strutter, you are wonderful! simply wonderful!” cried Peter,
and he meant just what he said.

Strutter threw out his chest proudly. “That is just what Mrs. Grouse
says,” he replied. “I don’t know of any better thunderer if I do say it
myself.”

“Speaking of Mrs. Grouse, where is she?” asked Peter eagerly.

“Attending to her household affairs, as a good housewife should,”
retorted Strutter promptly.

“Do you mean she has a nest and eggs?” asked Peter.

Strutter nodded. “She has twelve eggs,” he added proudly.

“I suppose,” said Peter artfully, “her nest is somewhere near here on
the ground.”

“It’s on the ground, Peter, but as to where it is I am not saying a
word. It may or it may not be near here. Do you want to hear me thunder
again?”

Of course Peter said he did, and that was sufficient excuse for Strutter
to show off. Peter stayed a while longer to gossip, but finding Strutter
more interested in thundering than in talking, he once more started for
home.

“I really would like to know where that nest is,” said he to himself
as he scampered along. “I suppose Mrs. Grouse has hidden it so cleverly
that it is quite useless to look for it.”

On his way he passed a certain big tree. All around the ground was
carpeted with brown, dead leaves. There were no bushes or young trees
there. Peter never once thought of looking for a nest. It was the last
place in the world he would expect to find one. When he was well past
the big tree there was a soft chuckle and from among the brown leaves
right at the foot of that big tree a head with a pair of the brightest
eyes was raised a little. Those eyes twinkled as they watched Peter out
of sight.

“He didn’t see me at all,” chuckled Mrs. Grouse, as she settled down
once more. “That is what comes of having a cloak so like the color
of these nice brown leaves. He isn’t the first one who has passed me
without seeing me at all. It is better than trying to hide a nest, and I
certainly am thankful to Old Mother Nature for the cloak she gave me.
I wonder if every one of these twelve eggs will hatch. If they do, I
certainly will have a family to be proud of.”

Meanwhile Peter hurried on in his usual happy-go-lucky fashion until
he came to the edge of the Green Forest. Out on the Green Meadows just
beyond he caught sight of a black form walking about in a stately way
and now and then picking up something. It reminded him of Blacky the
Crow, but he knew right away that it wasn’t Blacky, because it was so
much smaller, being not more than half as big.

Grackle by Dan

“It’s Creaker the Grackle. He was one of the first to arrive this spring
and I’m ashamed of myself for not having called on him,” thought Peter,
as he hopped out and started across the Green Meadows towards Creaker.
“What a splendid long tail he has. I believe Jenny Wren told me that he
belongs to the Blackbird family. He looks so much like Blacky the Crow
that I suppose this is why they call him Crow Blackbird.”

Just then Creaker turned in such a way that the sun fell full on his
head and back. “Why! Why-ee!” exclaimed Peter, rubbing his eyes with
astonishment. “He isn’t just black! He’s beautiful, simply beautiful,
and I’ve always supposed he was just plain, homely black.”

It was true. Creaker the Grackle with the sun shining on him was truly
beautiful. His head and neck, his throat and upper breast, were a
shining blue-black, while his back was a rich, shining brassy-green.
His wings and tail were much like his head and neck. As Peter watched
it seemed as if the colors were constantly changing. This changing of
colors is called iridescence. One other thing Peter noticed and this
was that Creaker’s eyes were yellow. Just at the moment Peter couldn’t
remember any other bird with yellow eyes.

“Creaker,” cried Peter, “I wonder if you know how handsome you are!”

“I’m glad you think so,” replied Creaker. “I’m not at all vain, but
there are mighty few birds I would change coats with.”

“Is–is–Mrs. Creaker dressed as handsomely as you are?” asked Peter
rather timidly.

Creaker shook his head. “Not quite,” said he. “She likes plain black
better. Some of the feathers on her back shine like mine, but she says
that she has no time to show off in the sun and to take care of fine
feathers.”

“Where is she now?” asked Peter.

“Over home,” replied Creaker, pulling a white grub out of the roots of
the grass. “We’ve got a nest over there in one of those pine-trees on
the edge of the Green Forest and I expect any day now we will have four
hungry babies to feed. I shall have to get busy then. You know I am
one of those who believe that every father should do his full share in
taking care of his family.”

“I’m glad to hear you say it,” declared Peter, nodding his head with
approval quite as if he was himself the best of fathers, which he isn’t
at all.

“May I ask you a very personal question, Creaker?”

“Ask as many questions as you like. I don’t have to answer them unless I
want to,” retorted Creaker.

“Is it true that you steal the eggs of other birds?” Peter blurted the
question out rather hurriedly.

Creaker’s yellow eyes began to twinkle. “That is a very personal
question,” said he. “I won’t go so far as to say I steal eggs, but I’ve
found that eggs are very good for my constitution and if I find a nest
with nobody around I sometimes help myself to the eggs. You see the
owner might not come back and then those eggs would spoil, and that
would be a pity.”

“That’s no excuse at all,” declared Peter. “I believe you’re no better
than Sammy Jay and Blacky the Crow.”

Creaker chuckled, but he did not seem to be at all offended. Just then
he heard Mrs. Creaker calling him and with a hasty farewell he spread
his wings and headed for the Green Forest. Once in the air he seemed
just plain black. Peter watched him out of sight and then once more
headed for the dear Old Briar-patch.

“There are three things which are stately in their march, Even four which are stately when they walk: The lion which is mighty among beasts And does not retreat before any, The strutting rooster, the male goat also, And a king when his army is with him. If you have been foolish in exalting yourself Or if you have plotted evil, put your hand on your mouth.” (Proverbs 30:29-32 NASB)

*

  • Who did Peter hear first in the forest?
  • What did that bird sound like? What kind of instrument?
  • Are we supposed to act better than others?
  • Did he find Mrs. Grouse? Why not?
  • How is the Grackle different from a Crow?

“A friend loveth at all times,…” (Proverbs 17:17a KJV)

*

Links:

Bible Birds

Birds Vol #6 – The Ruffled Grouse

Home, Home on the Sage: Nothing to Grouse about!

Fusion Unplugged by Boat-tailed Grackles by AJMithra

 

  Next Chapter (A Fisherman Robbed.)

 

Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

 

  Burgess-Bird-Book-for-Children

 

Gold/Yellow = Heaven

  

 

Wordless Birds

 

 

**

Time To Rest

Limpkin and Dan at South Lake Howard Reserve – 2017

We believe it is time to rest from our labors at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures Plus. This blog has attempted over the years to present the Lord’s Avian Wonders from many different perspectives. It has been a delight to present these fantastic birds in such different views, thanks to some very talented photographers. Also, to have different writers adding such information from so many places and ways of thinking about the birds of the world.

Is the blog shutting down? NO! NO! NO!

We have so many informative and useful posts to be explored that are great reading and references. (This is from remarks of our readers over the years.) I, Lee, am working behind the scenes trying to improve the Menu structures that was developed along the way. I’m trying to clean up broken links to sites that are no longer active, and make it easier to find information, photos, videos, and stories about our wonderfully created birds.

Snowy Egret and Lee Gatorland by Dan -2015

Also, Dan and I are getting older, 82 and 78, so we are starting to feel it. Our birdwatching adventures have just about slowed to a crawl. We do move a bit faster than that though. :)  It’s time! We have tried to do our best in honoring our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Great Creator.

“I (we) have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:” (2 Timothy 4:7 KJV)

Thought you might like a look at a bit of the history of Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures. The blog was moved over here to WordPress on July 5. 2008 (almost 14 years ago). It had started a few months earlier on another platform.

Boat-billed Heron over Dan’s Shoulder by Lee at LPZ

As of today, we have had almost 2,292,000 visitors. We have had 8-10 writers, besides myself, writing articles. I am so thankful for all of them, especially the regulars whom you can find in the side menu. Plus, all the photographers who have contributed so many fantastic photos to be used here.

Feeding White Ibises at Lake Morton [Dr. JJS Johnson, Baron (Golden Eagle), and Dan], by Lee – 2016

Here are some more statistics, if you are interested:

  • Comments – 8,201
  • Posts – 3945
  • Pages – 1207 (more to come as I work on the structure to help find information)
  • 10.8 gigabytes of Media (photos, videos, music, etc.)
  • Branched out to make a Birds of the Bible for Kids blog and have now brought those articles back under this umbrella. (These are helpful for younger readers.)

Lee at Lake Morton by Dan – 2013

As I work through setting our blog up for the future, I trust you will continue to stop by and enjoy these posts, photos, and other blessings. [I used my most favorite picture of Dan for the featured image.]

This is not the last article coming out, but they will be less frequent than previously posted.

STAY TUNED!

Ian’s Irregular Bird – The Tattlers

The next two birds in the IOC list of Tringas are the two Tattlers, the Wandering and the Grey-tailed, so called one assumes because they are fairly vocal.

I did a comparison between the two species in Irregular Bird #195 in January 2007 (or Bird of the Week as it was called then). Here it is:

This week’s bird – or birds as I’ve included a relative for comparison – the Wandering Tattler is for those who appreciated subtlety, or at least acknowledge the challenge in identifying waders.  The Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana) in non-breeding plumage is very similar to its much commoner (in Australia) cousin the Grey-tailed Tattler (Tringa brevipes).  I’ve put numbers on the image of the Grey-tailed Tattler to highlight the differences:

Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana) by Ian

Grey-tailed Tattler by Ian

In the Grey-tailed Tattler, the white eyebrow extends behind the eye (1) and forward across the forehead (2); the cheek is whiter (3); the flanks are whiter (4); the bill is longer and more slender (5) and the wing tips, relative to the tail, are shorter (6).  The Wandering Tattler is darker overall and particularly on the back and crown and to me looked browner rather than grey-brown.  If you think this is all too hard, the calls come to the rescue, being quite different.  The Wandering has a trilling call of 6 – 10 accelerating notes, while the Grey-tailed has a drawn out 2 syllable call.

Wandering Tattler (Tringa incana) by Ian

The Grey-tailed Tattler is a (southern-) summer on the coast all round Australia on mudflats and reefs, while the Wandering is an uncommon summer visitor to the east and north coasts, with a preference for wave-washed rocks on the island of the Great Barrier Reef.

Since then I’ve photographed them in breeding plumage, when it’s easier to distinguish the two species. Both are barred on the breast and flanks, but only the Wandering has barring on the belly. The Grey-tailed retains the white belly even in breeding plumage. The one below in the third photo is feeding in a typical habitat in shallow water on a mudflat.

Here’s another Grey-tailed in breeding plumage swallowing a small crab at sunset. This might look more like the habitat of the Wandering Tattler, but it’s actually a stony area on a beach rather than a rocky headland.

This Wandering Tattler, below, is feeding in a typical habitat for this species, on a rocky foreshore with plenty of invertebrate prey on a Pacific Island. The tourist literature about Norfolk Island says that the name Slaughter Bay isn’t as ominous as it sounds, being derived from an “Old English word” meaning “slow-moving water”. Given that strong currents are reported in Slaughter Bay, that I could find no aquatic suggestions for “Slaughter” in dictionaries or online, and that Norfolk Island has a turbulent history as a convict settlement, I suspect that this is an explanation of which the Kremlin could be proud.Wandering Tattler by Ian

Wandering Tattlers in Australia are most likely to be seen on rocky islands, but they do turn up occasionally on the mainland as well, with records all on the east coast from Cape York to eastern Victoria. The one below was one of a pair that spent some time on the Townsville Breakwater in 2008 and there are more recent records there in 2010 and 2022. This photo clearly shows the grey patch on the forehead between the two short white eye-stripes.

The Grey-tailed Tattlers in this photo are also perched on rocks and pretending they’re Wandering Tattlers.  In fact they are waiting for the tide to go out so they can feed on the neighbouring mudflats. The one on the left is in transitional plumage with barring developing on the breast.

CHA-Scol Grey-tailed Tattler by Ian 7

Grey-tailed Tattler by Ian

Both species are accomplished migrants, breeding in northern latitudes and spending the northern winter in the tropics and southern hemisphere. The Grey-tailed Tattler breeds in inland northeastern Siberia and western Siberia and winters across a wide range from the Bay of Bengal and Taiwan through southeastern Asia to Australia and New Zealand. The Wandering breeds in Alaska and in neighbouring parts of Canada south to northwestern British Columbia. It winters all along the west coast of the Americas from southwestern British Columbia to Chile and across Pacific coast and islands from Japan to New Zealand, through Micronesia, Polynesia to Pitcairn Island and Easter Island.

In terms of conservation, the Wandering Tattler has a status of Least Concern, while the Grey-tailed has been uplisted from Least Concern to Near Threatened in 2014. This reflects some decline in numbers, probably as a result of land reclamation along the migratory stopovers in China.

Greetings,

Ian
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au

Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/


Lee’s Addition:

Thanks, Ian, for another informative post about this Tringa clan. I have to admit that I was a little tickled by their name. It reminded me of a verse about young widows becoming “tattlers.”

“And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies,….” (1 Timothy 5:13 KJV)

Good News

50 Stunning Hummingbird Pictures – B & B

Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Ray's Wildlife

Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Ray’s Wildlife

“So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” (Genesis 1:21-23 NKJV)

You have got to check out this interesting article from Birds & Blooms!!

50 Stunning Hummingbird Pictures You Need To See

Still haven’t been doing much birdwatching lately, except through my back door. So, I trust you will enjoy these great photos. We have had some nice photos of hummingbirds here over the years, but these are all right together.

Ruby-topaz Hummingbird (Chrysolampis mosquitus) Male ©WikiC

Some of our previous Hummingbird articles:

Ten Beautiful Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds See Colors Over (Beyond) the Rainbow

How Much Are You Being Monitored? A Hummingbird Lesson

Hummingbird from John 10:10 Project

Tickle Me Tuesday – Hummingbirds

Peru’s Marvellous Hummingbird – Again

Creation Moments – Double Life of the Hummingbird

Hummingbirds in Ultra Slow Motion

Hummingbird Families – Firecrowns

Calliope Hummingbirds – North America’s Smallest

Wordless Birds – Hummingbirds

Ian’s Irregular Bird – Solitary Sandpiper

You may remember from the last Irregular Bird (Green Sandpiper) that the plan is to work through all the waders in the genus Tringa, the Shanks and relatives, in the order used by the IOC, below.  This is the next one the Solitary Sandpiper.

It’s fairly similar to the Green Sandpiper and they were originally treated as a single species. In fact, they are easy to distinguish in flight as the Green Sandpiper has a white rump and a tail with side to side barring, while the central feathers of the rump and tail of the Solitary Sandpiper are brown creating a longitudinal stripe. These features are visible under the flight feathers in the first photo and shown in a drawing later.
Solitary Sandpiper by Ian
In practice you can also use their ranges as the Green Sandpiper occurs in Eurasia and Africa, while the Solitary Sandpiper is an American species. It nesting range is almost entirely in Canada and Alaska.  It migrates through the United States and winters in Mexico, Central America, and in northern, central and eastern South America as far south as Peru in the west and northern Argentina in the east.
I haven’t got photos of either species in flight so here is a crude drawing to illustrate the difference in flight pattern. Don’t take too much notice of anything except the different rumps, tail and length of the legs. The latter are longer and protrude farther beyond the tail in the Solitary Sandpiper. So, if you’re a dedicated twitcher, as I am now, keep a beady eye out for something special if you are in a place where either or both of these birds don’t usually occur. There are a few records of Green Sandpipers in northern Australia and a few records of Solitary Sandpiper in Siberia and Western Europe.
Solitary Sandpiper by Ian
There isn’t much difference among the plumages of breeding adults, non-breeding adults, and juveniles though there is less streaking in juveniles and the spots on breeding adults are whiter, rather than buff and more conspicuous. I think the bird in the second photo in Trinidad is a juvenile, the one in the third photo in Brazil is an adult but I don’t know about the one in the first photo. If you’re an expert on the plumages of Solitary Sandpipers, I’d be happy to get your opinion: ianbirdway@gmail.com.
Solitary Sandpiper by Ian
Actually, I misidentified the two in Trinidad as Spotted Sandpipers in non-breeding plumage but maybe I had Spotted Sandpiper on the brain as I’d seen the one in the third photo in Tobago eleven days earlier. Non-breeding Spotted Sandpipers don’t have spots (go figure, as they say), just a little barring on the wings but they have conspicuous long white eyebrow stripes and shorter, much yellower legs, so I lack a reasonable excuse for the confusion.
Spotted Sandpiper by Ian
Like their Eurasian cousins, Solitary Sandpipers breed in trees and shrubs using the old nests of thrushes. It so happens that the range of perhaps the commonest thrush in North America, the American Robin, overlaps the range of the Solitary Sandpiper in Canada and Alaska. The Robin, despite its name which is based on colour not taxonomy, is a Thrush and a close relative of the Eurasian Blackbird and is the most likely candidate as a provider of nests, though not much is known about the breeding behaviour of the Sandpiper.
American Robin by Ian
So how does the Solitary Sandpiper get its name? Amazingly, unlike most waders which believe in safety in numbers, it migrates either alone or in small groups and often appear at stopovers or at the destination in ones or twos. It migrates mostly at night. I don’t know whether juvenile birds instinctively know where to go or whether the adults teach them. The mind boggles at what we don’t know about bird migration.
Jeff Larsen sent me this lovely photo of two birds together in Washington state, so they’re clearly not completely antisocial. He calls them Solitary Chickens, which appeals to me and he gave me permission to share this photo with you.
Solitary Sandpiper by Ian
Solitary Sandpipers are birds of freshwater and are usually found on small ponds or in marshy areas, even in winter. We spotted the one in Brazil in a roadside pond in the Pantanal.
Next time we’ll talk about the Tattlers, two rather similar species that are next on the IOC list.
Greetings
Ian


Google Groups “Birdway” group.
Write to him at ian@birdway.com.au, or visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/Birdway


Lee’s Addition:

Here is the next Sandpiper in Ian’s “Tringa” series. He has promised more. Stay tuned.
He mentions the sameness of these birds:
“But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.” (Psalms 102:27 KJV)
See:

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Good News

Ian’s Irregular Bird – Green Sandpiper

The last irregular bird, Nordmann’s Greenshank, could have had a sub-heading of The Joys of Twitching. In it, I confessed to being a Twitcher at heart, discarding the respectable facade of “Wildlife Photographer”. Here follows the justifications, or at least illustrations of why it can be enjoyable. The background to this particular obsession/passion was the fact that, worldwide, there are thirteen species of Tringa sandpipers, or Shanks, characterised by different coloured legs. I had reasonable photos of all of them except the rarest, Nordmann’s Greenshank, since 2008 (when I photographed the second last one, the Willet of North America). That is, the seven-year itch twice over.
If you are, or ever were, a stamp collector, you would know the feeling. Suppose the following stamps are from a set of 13 stamps of Queen Victoria, including the first ever stamp, the Penny Black and imagine you have all of them except the rarest, the iconic Two Penny Blue, issued shortly after the first ever stamp, The Penny Black, in May 1840.
Imagine the thrill when you finally lay your hands on one, as I did in the 1960s. This one is a rather daggy example, but it is one from the original two plates issued until February 1841 and lacking white lines under “POSTAGE” and above “TWO PENCE”. The much commoner later series called ‘white lines added issue’ continued until 1858.  I’m still a kid at heart, and the subtlety of distinguishing different series of Two Penny Blues has a similar appeal to separating Common and Nordmann’s Greenshank.CHA-Scol victoria0730-01
Alternatively, maybe you were or are a card player. Suppose you’re playing a game in which you the best hand is an entire suit of cards, say a complete Straight Flush, as opposed to a mere Royal Straight Flush in Poker, but you lack the Queen.
At long last, after fourteen nail-biting years, you finally get the missing card. I’ve chosen the Queen as it’s number twelve (if you have the Ace as the first rather than the last in the suit) and Nordmann’s Greenshank is also the twelfth Tringa if you follow the IOC classification of birds. Continuing the metaphor, I’ve chosen Spades as the Queen of Spades is the most valuable card in the game Hearts. The metaphor fails if you go any further, because in Hearts, a vicious game which we loved as kids, the aim is not to win points and to force your opponents to get a high score, It’s Whist in reverse. Clearly, I also have a passion for Queens.

After that it’s just a question of whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert. An introvert gets a deep personal satisfaction from achieving a complete collection, an extrovert gets a sense  of triumph in beating the competition. Of course, you may be a bit of both: I’m mainly an introvert, but publishing all this stuff as the Irregular Bird, showing off obviously, is characteristic of extroverts.

So, back to Tringas. Waders (birdway) are fascinating birds, not least because many of them migrate extraordinary distances. As a consequence, they’re of special interest to twitchers when avian GPSs go awry and they end up in strange places. Many species, however, are hard to distinguish in non-breeding plumages, which is how we usually see them in temperate and tropical latitudes except just before the migration back to the breeding zones. Most, but not all, of the Shanks are fairly easy to identify because of their coloured legs; many of them having corresponding common names as you can see in the IOC table. Four of them, comprising the two Redshanks and the two Tattlers, have featured as Irregular Birds in the past, so I want to do a series on the remaining eight and I’ll do them in the IOC order shown in the table at the beginning of this article. The first is the Green Sandpiper.

Green Sandpiper by Ian

The breeding range of the Green Sandpiper stretches right across northern Eurasian from Norway to Siberia and it winters mainly in tropical Africa, South and Southeast Asia, around the Mediterranean and, to a lesser extent in Western Europe. It’s mainly a bird of fresh water marshy areas even in the non-breeding zones. I’ve photographed it only once, in India in 2003, though I had seen it in England in the 1960s before I came to Australia.It’s even rarer in Australia than Nordmann’s Greenshank with only one confirmed record, near Darwin in 1998. There are a few unconfirmed records but care needs to be taken to distinguish it from the closely related Solitary Sandpiper of America and the Wood Sandpiper.
In fact, I mistakenly identified the Indian bird as a Wood Sandpiper, reasonably common in Australia and also a fresh water species, and posted it as such to the website, and only years later did the twitcher in me take a closer look and realise happily that it was actually a Green Sandpiper. Distinguishing features of the Green Sandpiper include larger size, bulkier appearance, short white eye-stripe ending at eye, longer bill, shorter, greenish legs, sharp gradation from streaked breast to white belly and, particularly in breeding plumage like this one, darker, greener rather than brown upper parts.

Green Sandpiper by IanI mentioned when discussing the unusual arboreal nest building habits of Nordmann’s Greenshank that the Green and Solitary Sandpipers also nest in trees, but use the old nests of thrushes.  Coincidentally the name Tringa comes from a description of a thrush-sized waterbird by Aristotle (“trungas”). He didn’t distinguish it further but later authors have suggested it was a sandpiper, a Wagtail Motacilla or a Dipper Cinclus. Thanks very much. While we’re at it, ochropus means pale-yellow footed, while the specific identifier of Normann’s Greenshank, guttifer, means spotted, which isn’t very illuminating either. Aristotle preceded the taxonomic and evolutionary ideas of Linnaeus and Darwin, and “thrush-like waterbird” is a reasonable description, except for the length of the legs. He was interested in biology, classified 500 species of animals in the work later known by philosophers as the Scala Naturae and would have been familiar with the Song Thrush, below, in Greece. The Scala Naturae was approved by the Christian Church (and probably all others) as it is hierarchical in form with man at the top, towering above all the lower species.

On the subject of passion and obsession, I’ve decided that the difference is mainly one of perception. A person might think they (in deference to gender fluidity) have a passion for another person and, if not reciprocated, the other party might regard it as an obsession. My cousin in Ireland suggests that obsessions have a negative effect, so maybe it’s more than just perception. Either way, I’ll continue the passion for Tringas next time with the closely related but geographically distinct (“allopatric”), thrush-nest-using, Solitary Sandpiper of America.
You can’t reply directly to these emails, so if you want to write to me, use my email address below. I’ve recently had occasional problems with receiving emails to ian@birdway.com.au, so ianbirdway@gmail.com is preferable.
Greetings,
Ian


Ian Montgomery,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ianbirdway@gmail.com

Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee’s Addition:

Seems that Ian is getting active again with his birdwatching. He, like the rest of us, was quite for awhile during all these lockdowns. I have another of his articles coming soon. Stay tuned.
“As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.” (Proverbs 27:8 KJV)
See:

Ian’s Bird of the Week

Good News

Ian’s Irregular Bird – Nordmann’s Greenshank

Because it’s so long since the last irregular bird, here is a special one of a very rare wader that has become something of a celebrity, perhaps the most photographed individual bird in Australian history. So you may already have superb photos of it, and I apologize in advance if you find this boring. Nordmann’s Greenshank is, sadly, one of the rarest waders in the world with a population of probably less than 2,000 individuals and a red book status of endangered as its population is declining.

Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) by Ian

Its breeding range is along the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk in Siberia and is subject to disturbance from oil and gas extraction. It normally winters in southeast Asia and, very occasionally, birds end up in Australia. There are three records from wader counts along 80 Mile Beach near Broome in NW Western Australia, and this one. It first appeared in Cairns in the (northern) winter of 2021 and stayed around long enough for anyone able to navigate covid restrictions and see it. I couldn’t drive to Cairns then and resigned myself to the prospect of missing out on it. To everyone’s surprise, it reappeared this year and the scramble to see it started again.

Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) by Ian

I drove the 340km/210 miles to Cairns at the end of January to catch up with some good friends of long standing from Victoria. They were on the hunt for it, in airline transit from a boat trip to Torres Strait islands to Iron Range National Park on Cape York. We spent four days checking every wader along the Cairns Esplanade at suitable and sometimes unsuitable tides without success. It definitely wasn’t there, but reappeared when they had gone to Cape York and I had returned to Townsville. I rejoined them in Cairns for two days, when it did its disappearing act again, only to reappear for them after I’d returned to Townsville for a meeting that, in hindsight, I deeply regretted attending. so I dropped everything again and returned to Cairns, determined to see and photograph it.
On the second morning of my third visit, the bird relented and I spent an exciting two hours as the incoming tide slowly coaxed it closer and closer. Ultimately, I ended up sitting a mere 6m/20ft from it on the sandy edge of the mudflat, second photo, having taken more than 400 photos. I’ll talk about obsession later. Then I rang Trish, the friend with whom I went to Brazil pre-Covid, who was flying from Brisbane to Townsville that afternoon and suggested she fly to Cairns instead. Which she did, changing her flight at the airport, and we got lovely views of it the following day. We also visited the wonderful Bill Cooper exhibition of tropical bird and fruit paintings at the Cairns Gallery.

Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) by Ian

Trish suggested bringing our painter/birder friend Marjory and a botanist friend Chrissa to Cairns to see the bird and the exhibition before the latter finished on the 13 February. So we came up again at the weekend, this time in her larger, more comfortable car and saw both the exhibition and the bird yet again. What fun.

Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) by Ian

Time to mention the bird itself. It looks quite similar to the Common Greenshank and, slightly less so, to the Terek Sandpiper, both of which were present along the Esplanade. The first photo shows some of the diagnostic features: shorter, yellowish rather than greenish legs, the more robust bi-coloured bill (paler at the base) and shorter legs and bigger head (‘bull-headed’) which give it a rather stocky appearance. It’s behaviour when feeding is different too, and when one becomes accustomed to it, this is a good distinction at a distance, with poor light or muddy legs and bill. In the third and fourth photos it is feeding actively in shallow water, attempting to catch prey with a stabbing motion. It also uses its slightly upcurved bill to sieve the water surface by sweeping it back and forth, in a similar way to other waders with such bills such as the Terek Sandpiper and the Avocets. The fifth photo shows its size relative to a Bar-tailed Godwit, left, and a Great Knot, right.

Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) by Ian

The second photo shows it standing on one leg, a pose it adopted often using one or the other leg, when resting or roosting (second and fifth photos) and when forced by the tide to move, it often hopped quite long distances to do so, sixth photo. In flight, last photo, the shorter legs protrude less beyond the tail than those of the Common Greenshank, it has less barring on the tail, whiter underwing coverts contrasting with dark flight feathers and it look stockier. Not much is known about its breeding habits, though it’s the only shorebird known to often build its own nest in trees. unlike its tree nesting relatives the Green and Solitary Sandpipers which use old nests of thrushes.

Nordmann’s Greenshank (Tringa guttifer) by Ian

This whole saga has revived my interest in bird photography, which rather flagged during Covid, when I took up other interests less dependent on mobility. It was also a time for personal honesty and admitting my twitching tendencies to myself rather than hiding behind the more dignified facade of a wildlife photographer. Next time, I’ll talk a bit more about the joy of twitching and explain why getting photos of this particular species was so important for me. I’m still pondering the difference between a passion and an obsession.
Greetings
Ian

Ian Montgomery,

454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au

Recorder Society http://www.nqrs.org.au

Lee’s Addition:

Thanks, Ian. Like many of us, the Covid has slowed our birdwatching adventures. Glad you were able to finally catch up with neat Greenshank.
This Nordmann’s Greenshank is in the Scolopacidae Family of the Charadriformes Order.
More of Ian’s Articles:

Wordless Birds

Birds of the Bible – How Many Sparrows?

House Sparrow by Ray

While working on updating the indexes to the Birds of the Bible-Sparrows, I came across an interesting question. How many Sparrows are mentioned in the Bible? I discovered a previous search I had started from the Bible Gateway website.

The Young’s Literal Translation found 6 verses mentioning Sparrows.

Psalm 84:3 – “a sparrow

Hosea 11:11- “a sparrow

Matthew 10:29 – “two sparrows

Matthew 10:31 – “many sparrows

Luke 12:6 – “five sparrows

Luke 12:7 – “many sparrows

House Sparrows visiting National Aviary Parrot Show by Lee

House Sparrows visiting NA Parrot Show Outside by Lee

Okay, so what, you might ask? One, it challenges you to actually study what’s in the Word of God. It is also nice to see what the Bible actually says about the Sparrows and how that impacts us. Try using a website like e-sword.net or Biblegateway.com, and do a little investigation of these questions:

In Psalm 84:3, where was the sparrow and what was she doing?

Hosea 11:22, why was the sparrow trembling?

Matthew 10:29 and 31, what assurance can we get from that verse?

Luke 12:6, who remembers the sparrows?

Luke 12:7, what has been numbered? What about fear?

Female Chipping Sparrow bird feeding three baby Chipping Sparrow nestlings, Athens, Clarke County, GA. by William Wise

These are just some of the previous posts about these little Avian Wonders:

To find out more about Sparrows:
Birds of the Bible – Sparrow I
Birds of the Bible – Sparrow II
Birds of the Bible – More Value
Birds of the Bible – Little Brown Jobs
Birds of the Bible – Worry and Sparrows
Birds of the Bible – Lord Who Is There
Eye of the Beholder – House Sparrows
Sparrows Peterson’s Video
His Eye Is On The Sparrow (Birds in Hymns)
The Eyed Sparrow
Mighty God, While Angels Bless Thee (Birds in Hymns)
The Birds, the Economy, and My Provider – by April Lorier
Sparrows and God Care – by April Lorier
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Masked Finch
World Sparrow Days – by a j mithra
Worthen’s Sparrow – Lost, but found… – by a j mithra
White-crowned Sparrow – The Restorer – by a j mithra
Renewed Day by Day: Signs of Spring
Sparrow Quote from The Life Project ~ from Don Merritt
Sunday Inspiration – Old World Sparrows
Sunday Inspiration – Sparrows
Sunday Inspiration – Sparrows II
Emberizidae’s – Buntings
Emberizidae – Part II
Emberizidae Family Allies I
Emberizidae Family Allies II

 

Good News Tracts – Various Topics

New Duck In The Yard

Wood Duck among Black-bellied Whistling Ducks by Lee

Yesterday we added a new bird to our backyard list. He tried to hide, but with a look like that, it’s hard to do. So finally, he came out of hiding. Some of those Whistling Ducks don’t seem to be too happy with him being there. [I was very happy! :) ]

Wood Duck in our yard. 1-17-22

We’ve written about this beautiful bird before, but usually, we have seen them over in Lakeland on their lakes. So, this was a treat to be able to have him visit us.

When I see this duck, I think about how the Lord when he created these Avian Wonders must have had a delight in decorating this Wood Duck. What clear lines!

Wood Duck’s Crested Head and Back

I have to admit that the Duck had a bit of an attitude. While he was strutting around, ever so often he would throw his head like he was trying to flip that long “bonnet” of his. [my term] I tried to capture it on video, but I was only able to capture it once.

Several verses came to mind about this encounter with our beautiful duck:

The first photo, where he was sort of hidden behind the others.

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 KJV)

We should not be afraid to let our Christianity be seen. Also, the look on the faces reminds me of how some people react to us when we do accept the Lord as our Savior.

Other Information:

All About Birds – Wood Duck

While putting these links about Wood Ducks here, I discovered that a Wood Duck and it’s mate HAS been here. I was surprised.

  1. Our Ducky Backyard
  2. Wood Duck
  3. Paintbrush Birds – Wood Ducks
  4. Lee’s One Word Monday – 3/28/16

Zebra Finch Duets and Bird Origins – I.C.R.

PAS-Estr Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia by Ian

“The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,…” (Song of Solomon 2:12 KJV)

What an interesting and informative article about the creation of Zebra Finches and their singing duets. Bryian Thomas, PH.D. from the Institute For Creation Research wrote “Finch Duets Open Surprising Window on Bird Origins

The Zebra Finches appears to have a pattern of singing that goes against what evolutionists suppose is to be the normal behavior of Finches.

“A male finch sings to females while courting, but then quiets down after finding his mate. According to evolution, finches have no reason to continue to communicate at that point, since they’ve already ensured that their genes will be passed on to a new generation. Thus, researchers were surprised to find that wild zebra finches sing to each other only after becoming a couple.”

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) by Ian

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) by Ian

He also discusses how these songs are thought to have happened through natural selection, but….

“For male finches to sing their songs, they have to have a fully-formed system of pulmonary tubing, valves, musculature, and integrated skeletal structures. Then, the larynx (many birds have two) has to be located near the mouth and properly “wired” to the correct areas of the brain. All of that would still be useless, however, without the instinctive knowledge required to compose a song, or without the females’ ears being tuned to their specific tones. To consider this seamless array of parts as a product of just nature is imaginative–not scientific.”

A very good article to continue reading at “Finch Duets Open Surprising Window on Bird Origins“.

“Zebra finches are active and colorful birds from Australia, and they choose a mate for life.” Thankfully, Ian has provided us with great photos of the unique Avian Wonders.

PAS-Estr Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia by Ian

See Also:

Zebra Finch (Taeniopygia guttata) ©WikiC

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