Whistling Ducks Encountering A Turtle

Whistling Ducks Looking As Turtle Disappears

Our welcoming Whistling Duck provided some entertainment when they encountered our local Turtle. He was trying to mind his own business, but the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks where quite curious. Here is a video, I attempted to patch together. Still trying to learn the procedure.

“Then God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind’; and it was so.” (Genesis 1:24 NKJV)

Oh, the joys of looking out our back door! I hope the main flock that took off on Saturday are safely at their migration destination. Or at least, getting close.

If you missed the first part of this Whistling-duck adventure, see: Birds of the Bible – “Singiing”?

Birds of the Bible – Whistling Ducks

Birds of the Bible

Sharing The Gospel

Truly Strange Bird – Creation Moments

A Truly Strange Bird

Psalm 40:5
“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.”

Though God created the entire living kingdom in only a few days, the variety and creativity of what He made seems nearly unlimited by our standards. One of the more unusual creatures He made was thought extinct until it was rediscovered in 1958.

The kakapo parrot lives in New Zealand. The most unusual parrot on Earth, it is one of only a few known parrots that prefers to sleep during the day and becomes active at night. Weighing in at five pounds, it is also the world’s heaviest parrot. It is, perhaps not surprisingly, the world’s only non-flying parrot.

The Creator’s unusual expression of inventive creativity in designing the kakapo did not end here. The mating habits of the kakapo are especially peculiar for birds. In mating season, the males gather in locations that are used year after year for mate selection. Female parrots come to these places to inspect the males to select a mate. However, in most un-bird-like fashion, the males provide absolutely no help building the nest or rearing the young.

The kakapo is remarkable because of its many strange traits, most of which would make it least fit for survival. In other words, not only is it an unusual creature, but its more unusual characteristics seem to put it at a disadvantage as far as evolution is concerned. So while evolution would not have made the kakapo, our inventive Creator did, perhaps as a witness against evolution.

Prayer: Dear Father in heaven, I thank You for the beauty and creativity You have placed into Your work of creation and for the blessings these gifts add to life. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Author: Paul A. Bartz

Ref: Discover, Mar. 1985. p. 36. Photo: Kakapo by Chris Birmingham CCA 2.0.xcf

© 2020 Creation Moments

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila) ©Dept of Conservation

Kakapo (Strigops habroptila) ©Dept of Conservation

Just thought you might enjoy reading about this uniquely created Avian Wonder from Our Creator.

Whistling Duck Visitors

I glanced out our back door and saw two Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks just a few feet from the patio. I was so busy enjoying watching them, that I forgot to pick up my camera, which was right near me. By the time my brain kicked in and I got the lens cap off, they were heading back to the water.

The three photos are not good, but they at least “prove” they were here. :o)

Whistling Ducks in Backyard Feb 2021

Whistling Ducks in Backyard Feb 2021

Heading toward the water:

Whistling Ducks in backyard – Feb 21, 2021

We have seen Whistling Ducks landing on the other strip of water, but they don’t land on our water often. In fact, this winter has provided less avian wonders than last year. In Lack of Birds to Watch I mentioned them chopping down the forest right here by us. Well, it is completely gone, and they are just about ready to start building the 93 new home there. The streets are laid out, sewers in, etc. I am happy with any birds that stop by this year.

Here are a few facts about Black-bellied Whistling-ducks:

“In the family of waterfowl, the tropical whistling-ducks rank midway between geese and dabbling ducks. They are gooselike in appearance, with long necks and long legs; they graze grainfields, usually feeding at night. However their high-pitched whistling calls are typical of neither goose nor duck; and in flight, with necks and legs extended, they suggest a flock of ibises. Nesting colonies of the black-bellied whistling-duck occur in Texas, often around livestock water areas. When feeding in cornfields, they perch on mature stalks to glean the ears.” (Audubon Society Encyclopedia of North American Birds, Terres ,p214)

I find it interesting, that the Creator created these with just their own niche to fill. We each have just a niche to fill that the Lord has gifted us to do. Whistling is mentioned three times in the Bible. One in particular is when the Lord whistles for the dispersed Jews to return to their land.

“I will whistle for them and gather them, For I will redeem them; And they shall increase as they once increased.” (Zechariah 10:8 NKJV)

There was a flock that landed back in March of last year:

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks by Lee 3-15-20

Black-bellied Whistling Ducks by Lee 3-15-20

Now for a couple of really good photos by Dan. He went to Circle B Reserve, a few days earlier. He went early morning for just an hour. He caught a beautiful Female Cardinal and a Warbler, that I think is a Myrtle or the old Butter Butt kind. They split them up, and I am not sure what this bird is. So, leave a comment if you know.

Female Northern Cardinal at Circle B Reserve by Dan

“To be named” Warbler at Circle B Reserve by Dan

“Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.” (Psalms 91:14 KJV

“Therefore behold, I am going to make them know—This time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is the LORD.”(Jeremiah 16:21 NASB)

[Bolding and Italics – Mine]

Indecisive Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Sunday Inspiration – Whistling, White-backed Ducks, and Geese

Birds of the Bible – Whistling Ducks

How Can We Know that We’ll Go to Heaven

What Alarms Are You Sounding?

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

American Robin (Turdus migratorius) by Ian

“Birds’ lives are so filled with danger that they’re on alert at all times, just to stay alive. Luckily, they have several tactics to avoid becoming the next meal for a cat or hawk. One, of course, is to fly away, a good choice, but not always possible. Another is to call in a troop of other birds to set up such a clamor that the predator is driven from the neighborhood. But in cases where the threat is too close and too dangerous, birds freeze in hiding while making soft, high-pitched sounds that serve as a warning to other birds.” [Bird Warning Calls Work Across Species]

Black-capped Chickadee

“Birds give a lot of “false alarms” or brief low-level alarms. With practice you will become sensitive to the higher intensity of real alarm calls, and when these calls are sustained for several minutes, and directed at one spot, you can be fairly certain a predator is there.” [Sibley Guides – Understanding Alarm Calls of Birds]

Here Sibley was using the alarm to help find the bird who was giving the warning.

We have been reading through Ezekiel in our devotions, and came across the often preached passage in Chapter 33. This was written to warn Israel, but it applies to us also. We all know people who need to be warned. As you read through this passage, you will see why I thought of the alarms from our Avian Wonders from the Lord.

Ezekiel 33:1-9 NASB
(1)  And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
(2)  “Son of man, speak to the sons of your people and say to them, ‘If I bring a sword upon a land, and the people of the land take one man from among them and make him their watchman,
(3)  and he sees the sword coming upon the land and blows on the trumpet and warns the people,

Barking Boobook (Ninox connivens) by Ian

(4)  then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head.
(5)  ‘He heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life.

Unwatchful Dove ©S.Young

(6)  ‘But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet and the people are not warned, and a sword comes and takes a person from them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require from the watchman’s hand.’
(7)  “Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth and give them warning from Me.

Birds Mobbing Owl and Warning Others To The Danger With Their Calls ©Andrew O’Connor

(8)  “When I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require from your hand.
(9)  “But if you on your part warn a wicked man to turn from his way and he does not turn from his way, he will die in his iniquity, but you have delivered your life.

[Bolding Mine]

I trust we are all doing our part to warn the lost of their need of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sharing the Gospel

Eagle Cinquain

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) by Ray Barlow

My blogging friend, Sandra Connor, has challenged her readers to write a Cinquain, then post it. Well, here is my first attempt at writing one of these.

First I had to find out HOW. So, she sent us to her link that explains how: Ahyoka/Cinquain

Crested Serpent Eagle (Spilornis cheela) by TAJA

Here we go:

Eagles

Flying Aloft

What A Majestic Sight

Displaying, Surveying, Preying

Eagles

I had kidded her about it looking like a tree, but then so does mine.

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) ©WikiC

African Fish Eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer) ©WikiC

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

If you would like to join the challenge, swing by her sight and check it out. Also, you could leave one below in the comments.

Three-Day Coffee Cinquain Challenge – Day 1

Birds of the Bible – Eagles

Ten Beautiful Hummingbirds

An interesting video with ten of the most beautiful Hummingbirds in the world.

What a Creator! Such variety and colors. I love the way the sun reflects on them and its affect on them.

How well are we reflecting?

“The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you;” (Numbers 6:25 NKJV)

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) by Raymond Barlow

“Make Your face shine upon Your servant; Save me for Your mercies’ sake.” (Psalms 31:16 NKJV)

Copper-rumped Hummingbird by Judd Patterson

Copper-rumped Hummingbird by Judd Patterson

“Make Your face shine upon Your servant, And teach me Your statutes.” (Psalms 119:135 NKJV)

Marvelous Spatuletail (Loddigesia mirabilis) ©©Dubi Shapiro

“”You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV)

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Black-throated Mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis) by Dario Sanches

Good News

Great Egret by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan in 2020

“…O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways.” (Psalms 139:1-3 NKJV)

This Great Egret’s pose caused me to chuckle, but also to think about how their neck can be raised and lowered. “Up and Down” Egrets, Herons, and other birds with long necks seem to like to pull them down. Scrunch them!

At times, especially now, with so many things, like Covid, and other challenges of life, make us want to just go somewhere and hide. Here are a few verses I found about having ups and downs:

Great Egret by Dan at Gatorland in 2015

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting That there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other; I form the light and create darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the LORD, do all these things.’ “Rain down, you heavens, from above, And let the skies pour down righteousness; Let the earth open, let them bring forth salvation, And let righteousness spring up together. I, the LORD, have created it.” (Isaiah 45:5-8 NKJV)

Great Blue Heron Lake Morton by Dan

“So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19 NKJV)

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan (2014)

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They have bowed down and fallen; But we have risen and stand upright.” (Psalms 20:7-8 NKJV)
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” (1 Corinthians 15:19-20 NKJV)

[bolding and italics mine]

Trust these photos and verses are an encouragement for you today. Lord’s Blessings

Dan’s Pix

Wordless Bird – Green-tail Sunbird

Birdwatching and More Photos By Dan at Gatorland

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

My last post showed some of Dan’s photos he had taken, that were related to my previous post about Gatorland. I kid often about not knowing the difference from an “F-stop” or a “Stop Sign.” And it is true. I am not a photographer, just a Birdwatcher who takes photos of birds. That is what is so great about being a Birder. There are plenty of birds to go around, and it does not matter your reason for birdwatching.

Snowy Egret and Gator at Gatorland by Dan

Snowy Egret and Gator at Gatorland by Dan

Many of those who watch birds are super photographers, even laying on their stomachs to get just that “perfect shot.” Others, like Dan, enjoy taking photos with a really nice camera and lens, framing the bird, taking good photos, sharping them up. Some, like me, take photos left and right, discard many, and try to make them look half way decent, and placing them on a blog.

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Great Egret at Gatorland by Dan

Some birdwatchers, never use a camera, just binoculars and have a great time trying to see “how many” species they can identify. Others, see birds as they are just out and about, and enjoy them. There is room for all of us. No matter how we view the Avian Wonders that our Lord has created.

Here are some more of Dan’s photos from our last Gatorland visit in December. They are in a slideshow. [These have been compressed.]

What I enjoy are those Snowy Egrets with that concentration look on their faces. Dan captured it well, and I noticed that same look. Wonder what they were thinking about or focused on?  Humm!

Where is our focus?

“For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He ponders all his paths.” (Proverbs 5:21 NKJV)
“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy,” (Psalms 33:18 NKJV)
“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry.” (Psalms 34:15 NKJV)

You can see many of his other photos at: Dan’s Pix

Trust you have been enjoying these Gatorland posts:

The Wise Owl

Perfect Squirrel Proof Feeder – Hopefully

Squirrel Reaching for Feeder ©DailyMail.Co.uk

Dan shared a video with me about a man who tries to make a Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder. If you have some time to spare, you will enjoy watching his attempt to keep the squirrels from his feeders.

I know we have all had this problem, but, I’m not sure I would go through this. Might be easier just to by a Squirrel feeder and a Bird feeder.

We were trying to find some verses to use for this, and this verse caused us a chuckle. Remember how they were flying off that contraption and heading toward the net? This could apply to that:

“You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride on it; You spoil my success.” (Job 30:22 NKJV)

There are many applications that could be made from these diligent squirrels who kept at it until they succeeded in getting the food. Here is one:

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. [What the squirrels failed to do] But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:2-6 NKJV) {Bold and brackets mine.]

Sharing the Gospel

Wishful Thinking

Tricolored Heron at Gatorland

Many times when we are young, we wonder or try to imagine what we will be like when we grow up. (Notice the bird in the upper right corner)

Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

This Great Blue Heron may be trying to remember his days of youth. (Notice the bird in the lower left corner)

Tricolored Heron and Great Blue Heron at Gatorland

Our smaller Tricolored Heron can wish all he wants, but he will never become a Great Blue Heron. The Lord, the Creator of all these Avian Wonders, made each of them slightly different.

Just as we in our lives have different talents and abilities, we should not try to be something that we were not created to be. The Lord has given each of us, as Christians, different areas of service. It may a small task, or it could be an enormous task.

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:” (1 Corinthians 12:4-7 NKJV)

Each of these birds at Gatorland, are all created different, yet they all seem to enjoy hanging out there. Many of us enjoy being with others at our places of worship. We all have something we can do to help others.

Wood Stork at Gatorland

White Ibis at Gatorland

Great Egret at Gatorland

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

Other Gatorland Post from the December 30th visit:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward
  5. Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

Wordless Birds

Black Vultures Up Close at Gatorland

Black Vulture in tree watching Stork arrival

On our last visit to Gatorland, see articles below, there wasn’t an abundance of avian wonders as on previous visits. Yet, there is always something to discover. The alligators, Flamingos, and a few Parrots are permanent residents, but the birds are free to come and go. The different families of birds build their nest during various times of the year, and late December seems to be void of nest.

Yet, not to be discouraged, the Black Vultures were staking out the trees. Soon they would create their nest, and raise their young. In late January, February, and March, the Herons and Egret will start their families.

Since there were so many of the Black Vultures around, and so close, I took some interesting photos, at least to me, of these sort of ugly, but amazing flying “landscape improvers.” :) They gather beside highways to feed on road-killed animals and other dead animals in fields, or wherever they find them.

“‘And these you shall regard as an abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, the vulture, the buzzard,” (Leviticus 11:13 NKJV)

Yep, I wouldn’t want to to eat one of these birds, but yet, they are beautiful in their on right. Their feathers are still very interesting, and definitely help them soar.

Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) are members of the Cathartidae Family.

Black Vultures in tree

“The communal roost is an important focus of the social life of Black Vultures. It serves as a meeting place for adults and their young and as an assembly point for foraging groups. The communal roost also appears to function as an information center, a site where unsuccessful foragers can locate food by following roost mates to carcasses.” (©Birds of the World)

They were okay until a Wood Stork landed

Wood Stork arriving in the Vulture’s Tree

on “their” tree:

Black Vultures in tree watching Stork arrival

One of the Vultures tried to “stare” the Stork down.

Black Vultures in tree watching Stork arrival

Black Vulture in tree watching Stork arrival

Further along the path, there was a another tree of vultures that caught my attention. It was right along the boardwalk and I was able to observe them from a closer range. Here is a slideshow of these. I was amazed watching this Black Vulture preening up-close.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

What an amazing Creator who provides for each of His Avian Wonders.

Birds of the Bible – Vulture

Cathartidae – New World Vultures

Other Gatorland Post from the December 30th visit:

  1. Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20
  2. Gator Tail Anyone?
  3. Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20
  4. Put Your Best Foot Forward

Sharing The Gospel

Reginald and Oliver’s Florida Parade

AMERICAN TURKEYS

Reginald, the Turkey Commander, and Oliver’s Florida Parade

by Emma Foster

That year, when Reginald, Oliver, and the other turkeys celebrated Christmas in their fortress, which protected them from hunters during the winter, lots of snow covered the ground in the woods. The turkeys grew restless having to stay inside their fortress all the time, so they went to Reginald and asked if they could go south for the winter. Oliver approved of the idea because he had heard of something called the ocean, and he believed that going south for the winter would mean they could all go to the beach.

Reginald surveyed the woods outside the fortress. He knew it would be too cold for there to be any hunters around, and enough of the snow had melted for them to be able to walk easily. So the day after Christmas, Reginald, Oliver, and the other turkeys set off in a southerly direction, their army helmets strapped to their heads.

Reginald knew that they would miss the New Year, and he wondered what they would do and where they would go when they made it South. The turkeys trudged through the snow in a line, like a parade, with Reginald in the lead. At first, Oliver stood guard at the end of the line, but he slipped so many times in the slush that Reginald had him move to the front, where he could shove Oliver back up in case he fell again.

Eventually, the weather grew a bit warmer, and the turkeys noticed less snow on the ground. The snow completely disappeared the farther they traveled. A few days after New Year’s Day, Reginald noticed a few more roads, with cars driving past, and he also noticed that many of the trees seemed smaller, with round oranges stuck to them. Reginald decided to make camp among the rows of oranges, a little way away from the road.

Turkeys in Orange Grove ©Pinterest

At first, Reginald thought that they would be found by hunters, but as cars sped by, the drivers didn’t seem to notice them. They settled comfortably in the orange grove, but Oliver pestered Reginald constantly about going to see the ocean. Finally, Reginald had had enough, and he told Oliver that he was pretty sure they were not near any ocean. Oliver, shocked and depressed at not being able to see the ocean, went off by himself, past the orange grove. While he wandered around pouting, he heard a rustling in the nearby bushes. To Oliver’s surprise, another turkey popped out of the bushes. She was taller, with shinier feathers, and she introduced herself as Ginger. She explained that she lived with a few other wild turkeys on the land, owned by a man who kept an animal sanctuary.

Oliver brought Ginger back to meet the other turkeys. Reginald felt relieved when he found out where they were because that meant that they were protected from any hunters that happened to pass by.

Turkey in Line ©Musselcoundty.org

Convinced that Ginger knew the land better than anyone, he told her about wanting to see the ocean. Ginger realized how much Oliver wanted to go, so she told Reginald that she had an idea. Ginger announced that they were going to the ocean. The turkeys formed another parade line, with Ginger at the head.

The turkeys headed down the side of the road, where people often slowed their cars down to watch them. Ginger led the turkeys across a few fields and beyond one small side road, where they did not have to worry about cars. They reached a large lake at the base of another hill.

Oliver Will Have To Wait His Turn. (Great Egret on Alligator at Gatorland)

Oliver was overjoyed! He believed they had finally made it to the ocean. He raced down to the edge of the lake and jumped on a wide log to get a better view of his surroundings. The log jumped in fright. An alligator lifted his head, knocking Oliver off his back and into the shallow water. Oliver scrambled out of the water and back to Reginald. The alligator, however, apologized, saying that his name was Sid. He invited Oliver onto his back so that he could show him around the lake.

Turkey Swimming in Lake @United Poultry

Turkey Swimming in Lake @United Poultry

The turkeys, along with Reginald and Ginger sat by the lake for the rest of the day, while Sid carefully swam around the “ocean” with Oliver on his back. Oliver waved to Reginald every now and then, while Reginald sat in the grass. The turkeys seemed very happy living down South, away from hunters. Thinking about how everyone was enjoying their expedition, Reginald decided to wait until it was warmer before heading back to their fortress.


Lee’s Addition:

“Happy is the man who finds wisdom, And the man who gains understanding;” “Then you will walk safely in your way, And your foot will not stumble.”
(Proverbs 313, :23 NKJV)

Thanks, Emma, for another enjoyable tale from the Turkey Commander and Oliver. A photo of Oliver’s Gator Taxi was a bit hard to find, so trust this one will suffice. Just never surprised where that flock of turkeys will show up next. Keep up the good work!

Check out all of Emma’s previous stories here:

Emma’s Stories

The Wise Owl