Tricolored Herons at Gatorland 2021

Tricolored Heron Nest – Well Hidden at Gatorland

On our last trip to Gatorland, I mentioned the Snowy and Great Egrets youngsters. [Poor Mama Feeding Chicks] There were other nest around of Tricolored Herons with chicks. Finding the nest were not as easy as the Egrets who seem to be less secretive about where the nest are placed. The Tricolored Herons on the other hand seem to like to hide them more.

Tricolored Heron Nest at Gatorland

Tricolored Heron Nest at Gatorland

I did manage to find one nest that was hidden, and took some video of them being fed. It is zoomed in and quite dark in there, but you can see them moving around. Occasionally, you can see the parent.

Also, there was a nest in a palm tree:

Tricolored Nest in Palm Tree at Gatorland

It was hard to focus on them through all the branches, but enjoy!

“Who provides food for the raven (and Tricolored Herons), When its young ones cry to God, And wander about for lack of food?” (Job 38:41 NKJV)
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26 NKJV)

More Gatorland Visits

Sharing The Gospel

Poor Mama Feeding Chicks

Great Egret Feeding Chicks at Gatorland by Lee

Great Egret Feeding Chicks at Gatorland by Lee

Yesterday we went back over to Gatorland to see how the chicks have been progressing. Here is a video of a parent feeding the growing chicks. I felt so sorry for her (I assume). It was an unexpected visit, because another plan for the day, of Dan’s, fell through. So, we decided to see how much the birds had grown since our visit in March. Needless to say, this should be the last on until fall. It was a BIT warm.

I still have articles and photos to show from our March visit, but an issue with my eye slowed me down. All is well now after a small laser treatment last week. My camera eye was blurry, but now all is clear again. So, stayed tuned as I try to get more tales out.

I guess because of my eye problem, I was so worried when one of the youngsters grabbed her beak and got mighty close to the eye. Because eyes are mentioned so many times in Scripture, here are a few promises:

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalms 32:8 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 upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.” (Psalms 34:15 KJV)

Gatorland Trips

Good News

Dan’s Newest Gatorland Photos

Snowy Egret Strutting in Mating Plumage by Dan at Gatorland

I finally encouraged Dan to edit his photos from our latest visit to Gatorland. When I saw them, I knew we had to share them. He has a Zenfolio photo site, that he has sort of ignored lately, but with a little encouragement, he posted his newest photos from our Gatorland trip last month. I always shrink photos here so that they don’t eat up storage space, but there is no way these photos would give them justice. You just have to see them on Dan’s Pix.

With a new folder called Gatorland 2021, you will find these latest photos.

My version of this bird is not near as amazing, but I did try to capture this Snowy Egret. Of course he strutted or puffed up for Dan’s camera.

“Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;” (1 Corinthians 13:4 NKJV)

Of course in this case, the Snowy was not being prideful, he just doing what the Creator designed them to do to attract a mate.

Snowy Egret in Breeding Plumage by Lee

Dan’s Pix

Gatorland 2021

Snowy Egret in Breeding Plumage Struting

The Wise Owl

Baby Egrets at Gatorland

On our latest trip to Gatorland, March 23rd, one of my goals was to see if any of the baby Great Egrets had hatched. Great Egret Nest – Gatorland.

Eggs in Great Egret Nest Gatorland 02252021 by Lee
Eggs in Great Egret Nest Gatorland February 25th by Lee

As I expected, there were still some babies there, but it appears by the age of some of them, that many had already fledged. Yet, there were enough to check out. This nest pictured above, was right next to the rail, and to my dismay, it was empty except for one little fluffy chick that did not appear to be alive.

Great Egret with Dead Chick

I met Cathy McArthur there, and we were both watching this young chick. There was no breathing, so we both came up with the same conclusion. The reason I mention her name, is she has agreed to allow me to use some of her photos she also took that day.

There were plenty of other active chicks to try to get a photo of, but of course, I got my fair share of branches. :)

Baby Great Egret
Baby Great Egret
Another chick acoss the water
Two of the Great Egret Chicks by Cathy McArthur
Great Egret Chick by Cathy McArthur

They have quite the hair do’s, don’t you think?

“the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.” (Leviticus 11:19 NKJV)

Egrets and Herons are in the same family, Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns, and therefore a Bird of the Bible – Herons member. Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns make up the Ardeidae family.

I did shoot a few videos, but they are a bit shaky because I was quite away from the nest. Here is one of them:

Stay tuned for more nesting birds. The Tricolored Herons and Snowy Egrets were busy preparing nest, laying eggs, and sitting on them.

Bird of the Bible – Herons

Ardeidae – Herons, Bitterns

Cathy McArthur

Birdwatching Trips Around Florida – Gatorland

10 Reasons Jesus Came to Die

[I attempted writing this post with just the Block Editor.]

Great Blue Herons – Gatorland

Great Blue Heron Gatorland 03-23-21

We walked Gatorland in the opposite direction that we normally take. This Blue Heron had just landed and was walking on the rail.

Great Blue Heron Gatorland Cropped

Even though we see Great Blue Heron often, it is always great to watch that stately pose they present. As we have mentioned before, the Heron is mentioned in Leviticus and Deuteronomy as birds to not eat. Birds of the Bible – Herons

“the stork, the heron after its kind, the hoopoe, and the bat.” (Lev. 11:19 NKJV)
“the stork, the heron after its kind, and the hoopoe and the bat.” (Deut. 14:18 NKJV)

Later on, we encountered another “GBH” [Great Blue Heron] near the other end of the boardwalk. I saw Dan watching something, and then as he started taking photos, I realized it was the Heron.

Dan Watching Great Blue Heron (On rail near the tree)

Dan Taking Photo of Great Blue Heron

Not to be out done, I took out my camera and zoomed in on the Heron.

Great Blue Heron Gatorland

Great Blue Heron Gatorland

Great Blue Heron Gatorland 03-23-21

Great Blue Heron Gatorland 03-23-21

What was the highlight of this encounter was when this bird was chased by another GBH, and caught the heron with its wings fully extended.

Two Great Blue Herons Flying

Two Great Blue Herons Flying – Cropped

Great Blue Heron Flying at Gatorland – Cropped More

What beauty and majesty that the Lord used when He created the flying Avian Wonders for us to enjoy, and realize His awesome power. In church Sunday we sang the hymn, “I Sing The Mighty Power Of God.” This verse expresses some of what I feel when we are out bird watching.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

Stay tuned for more of this latest trip to Gatorland.

Catbird At Gatorland

Birds of the Bible – Herons

Other Gatorland Posts:

Great Egret Nest At Gatorland

Gatorland Again – February 2021

Flamingo Filtering at Gatorland – 12/30/20

Gator Tail Anyone?

Our Gatorland Welcome 12-30-20

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Black Vultures Up Close At Gatorland

Wishful Thinking

Dan’s Photos – Wishful Thinking Flamingo and Vulture

Birdwatching and More Photos by Dan

Good News

 

Catbird at Gatorland

Gray Catbird Gatorland 03-23-21 by Lee

Today we took another ride over to Gatorland to see how the eggs had developed. As we were heading back to the “rookery,” we were surprised by a rare find in a tree as we were walking there.

Catbird – Zoomed

As is typical of Catbirds, they are quick movers and like to stay hidden as much as possible. This one was all over the place until he finally came out on a branch where I could get a decent photo.

Catbird at Gatorland – by Lee

Had this bird not let out one of its soft “cat call,” We would have probably walked right by it.

“This species is named for its cat-like call. Like many members of the Mimidae (in particular mockingbirds), it also mimics the songs of other birds, as well as those of Hylidae (tree frogs), and even mechanical sounds. Because of its well-developed songbird syrinx, it is able to make two sounds at the same time. The alarm call resembles the quiet calls of a male mallard.

A gray catbird’s song is easily distinguished from that of the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) or brown thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) because the mockingbird repeats its phrases or “strophes” three to four times, the thrasher usually twice, but the catbird sings most phrases only once. The catbird’s song is usually described as more raspy and less musical than that of a mockingbird.

In contrast to the many songbirds that choose a prominent perch from which to sing, the catbird often elects to sing from inside a bush or small tree, where it is obscured from view by the foliage.” (Wikipedia – Gray Catbird)

Catbird at Gatorland 03-23-21

Our Catbird find was encouraging, as it was sort of quiet today, until we got near the few hatch-lings. But, that will have to wait until the next post.

As the Catbirds call out, it can remind us of Psalm 91:15:

“He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.”

Considering we haven’t been birdwatching in some time, other than out the back door, I thought I would share the Catbird, while I check the rest of the photos. It was just about a month ago that we were last at Gatorland, and there is a new group of birds laying eggs. Stay tuned!

Gatorland Again – 2021

Wordless Birds

Turf War Whistlers

Duck Fight Posture

Our Black-bellied Whistling Ducks have continued to stay with us since showing up March 1st. I originally thought that they flew off that evening to migrate north. Since then, I admit I made a false assumption. The Florida flocks of Whistlers do not basically migrate. What they do in the evening, is take flight to find a place to feed.

Apparently, the Texas Whistling Ducks do some migration, and are showing up in more southern states. About the only migration here in Florida seems to be around the Sarasota area. Why? I haven’t found out yet. So, since the first of March, we have had a constant flock of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks outside our back door and on the retaining pond. Anywhere from 100-300+ daily. It’s like living at a wildlife refuge. I LOVE IT!!!!

My camera is just about worn out taking so many photos and videos. [of course, I’ve thrown many photos away] We have had more laughs watching the “turf wars” between the different groups within the group. According to All About Birds – Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, this is common:

Duck Fight – Here We Come

“Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks have long legs and spend more time than other ducks walking on land or perching in trees. You may see them perched on fences, telephone lines, or in Spanish moss. They are gregarious year-round, forming flocks of up to 1,000 birds. They form lifelong pair bonds and breed in their first year of life. Males spar by chasing or nipping at each other, or with a threat display that involves stretching their neck forward and opening their bill.

Duck Fight – On The Attack

Here are some of the videos of them and their “Turf Wars.” I tried to stay silent while filming, but it was too interesting. I kept chuckling.

The first video was started to record that injured Whistler when the war broke out. That duck will be written about later.

A few days later, they were still having their “Turf” discussions:

Hope you enjoyed this birdwatching adventure. Apparently, they seem to be sticking around our neighborhood. Who know what will happen next?

“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members?” (James 4:1 NKJV)
“But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet.” (Mark 13:7 NKJV)

Birds of the Bible – Birds “Singing”?

Whistling Ducks Encountering A Turtle

All About Birds – Black-bellied Whistling-Duck

Good News Tracts – Various Topics

Hair Like Eagles’ Feathers Revisited

Steller’s Sea-eagle at San Diego Zoo 2015 by Lee

Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled; and he was driven away from mankind and began eating grass like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.” (Daniel 4:33 NASB)

In the Birds of the Bible, we’ve written about this verse before Birds of the Bible – Hair Like Eagles Feathers, but it came up again today. In our devotions this morning, we read chapter 8 of Daniel. Along with the reading from it, we were reading our notes from various Study Bibles.

Crowned Eagle (Stephanoaetus coronatus) ©Wiki

Actually, the original article covers most of this about the king, but we read an interesting fact about his behavior. The fact that Nebuchadnezzar was eating grass like cattle is amazing.

This is from the King James Study Bible for Daniel “4:33. Two important questions arise from this incident: (1) Could it happen to a man? and (2) Could it have happened to Nebuchadnezzar? The answer to both questions is Yes. There is a mental illness known as zoanthropy in which a man thinks and acts like an animal. It is also called boanthropy, more specifically, when a man thinks of himself as an ox. In answer to the second question, this illness is not mentioned in Nebuchadnezzar’s annals, but one would not expect such a humiliating experience to be chronicled. On the other hand, his long reign of 43 years (605–562 b.c.) is more than long enough to include the lengthy sickness.”

Philippine Hawk-Eagle (Nisaetus philippensis) ©Flickr Billy Lopue

I am not sure what his hair looked like, so I have added these interesting eagles with feathers that might give an example of the kings hair.

Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) by Lee at Zoo Miami 2014

Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja) by Lee at Zoo Miami 2014

As for what his fingernails might have looked like, here are some bird’s claws:

Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus) Feet by Lee at National Aviary

Cape Eagle-Owl (Bubo capensis) on Right and Spotted Eagle-Owl on Left ©©

Cape Eagle-Owl (Bubo capensis) on Right and Spotted Eagle-Owl on Left ©©

The best part of this Bible story of Nebuchadnezzar, is how this ends. He come to his senses, and looks toward heaven, as we all should:

Daniel 8:34 “But at the end of [ae]that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my [af]reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever;

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are of no account,
But He does according to His will among the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can [ag]fend off His hand
Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’

36 At that time my [ah]reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were [ai]restored to me for the honor of my kingdom, and my state counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my [aj]sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt, and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are [ak]true and His ways [al]just; and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Links and scripture from Bible Gateway)

Birds of the Bible – Hair Like Eagles Feathers

Birds of the Bible

Birds of the Bible – Eagles

The Wise Owl

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