Back On Course

James 1:16-18 The Message “So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course.”

Normally along the coast, this Least Tern (Sternula antillarum) was a bit off course when spotted in Walton County, Georgia. June 11, 2020. Photo by William Wise.

As the fall migrations progress, there are often birds that go off course and show up in odd areas where they are not normally observed. Even  though they may be a common bird elsewhere, birders often delight in seeing these vagrants and will travel miles and miles to add them to their checklists. These birds may have drifted off course from storms or strong weather patterns, or by following the wrong flock (“abmigration”).

Earlier this summer I was delighted when I found a Least Tern flapping in graceful circles over the retention pond behind my office in Walton County, Georgia…  about 260 miles from the coast! What a delight to have the first and only eBird sighting for my county! Yes, I could have simply driven four hours east and seen as many Least Terns as I wanted. But this drifter was a delight to be seen so far off course.

In our Christian walk, we too can become spiritual “vagrants”. We might neglect Bible reading or prayer, or prolonged absence from in-person church attendance might leave us a tad off course. But when a Christian strays, there is no joy… except with Satan! He’s just waiting to add another drifting Christian to his list.

Hebrews 3:12-14  The Message  So watch your step, friends. Make sure there’s no evil unbelief lying around that will trip you up and throw you off course, diverting you from the living God.

But thank God we have a Divine Navigator that can direct our feet and put us back on course. His Word casts a beam of light and makes it simple to find the correct course. The Holy Spirit’s guidance is a gift that keeps us from becoming a checkmark on the devil’s eBird list!

John 12:46 I have come as a Light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer wander in the darkness.

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation.  — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Stressed? Pray and Go Birding!

1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you.” ​

Field Sparrow

Field Sparrow; Walton County, Georgia. February, 2019

What do you do when life has you down? Pray and go birding! When your job is stretching your stamina to the breaking point? Pray and go birding! When you need to relax and shake off the nerves? Pray and go birding! When the next little thing will tip your headache to a migraine? Pray and go birding!

There is no need for a scientific study to tell me that getting outdoors is a way to reduce stress. There is no need to write a paper about how getting away from a ringing phone will calm my nerves; how unplugging from email and social media will lower my blood pressure; how fresh air will clear my lungs and refresh my mind. I don’t need a scientific study because I know first-hand!

There isn’t a need for the Mayo Clinic to tell me the supernatural benefits of prayer. There is no need for them to post a blog telling me that having a purpose in life reduces depression; that prayer and meditation produces actual physical benefits to my brain; that focusing outside myself can alleviate worry and fear. I don’t need that blog because I know first-hand!

Try it sometime. Stop reading this blog, close your browser, push back the chair and walk out the door. Talk to God; cast your concerns at His feet; enjoy this world that He created. You just might get addicted. I know because I go there every day. So, pray and go birding!

Hi, I’m wildlife photographer and nature writer William Wise. I was saved under a campus ministry while studying wildlife biology at the University of Georgia. My love of the outdoors quickly turned into a love for the Creator and His works. I’m currently an animal shelter director and live in Athens, Georgia with my wife and two teenage daughters, who are all also actively involved in ministry. Creation Speaks is my teaching ministry that glorifies our Creator and teaches the truth of creation. William Wise Nature Notes is my wildlife and birding photo blog documenting the beauty, design and wonder of God’s creation. I am also a guest author at Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures and The Creation Club. — “What a wildly wonderful world, God! You made it all, with Wisdom at Your side, made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.” Psalms 104, The Message.

Many Thanks!

Yellow-throated Vireo (Vireo flavifrons) singing ©Brindusa Art

As many of the readers of this blog know, I had back surgery on August 3rd. Before I mention the results of the surgery, I want to give some thanks.

#1  I want to thank the Lord for His Watching over all that has happened during this. Thanks and praise to a wonderful Savior who cares so much about us.

“O give thanks unto the LORD; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people.” (Psalms 105:1 KJV)

#2  I want to thank all of you for your prayers and well wishes. Also, for continuing to keep up with the blog. I cannot thank you enough for that. Thank you.

“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: ” (1 Peter 3:12a KJV)

American Oystercatchers (American Bird Conservancy photo)

#3  I want to especially thank Dr. James J. S. Johnson, who has been practically carrying on this blog, by providing almost an article a day. The articles have been very interesting and entertaining, as I detect by the remarks that have been posted. He posts occasional posts here, but Dr. Jim, as I call him, has written the last 11 posts. Thank you, Dr. Jim.

“We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the truth.” (3 John 1:8 KJV)

My forty-five (45) minute surgery and an overnight stay in the hospital ended up being a two and a half hour surgery and five nights in the hospital. Then we I returned home on Tuesday (100 mile ride), I ended up in the Emergency Room the next day, here in town. It is taking me a while to get back up to strength.

I just found out yesterday why the longer surgery. While they were placing the wedge/cage by my vertebra, the vertebrae fractured due to soft bone. I started bleeding immediately and they had to stop to get that stopped. Then they had to figure out what to do with the vertebra. [How many times I have prayed for other’s surgeries that the Lord would guide their hands, and their thinking.] Thank you for praying.

As a result of that, I ended up with fluid in the sac by the lung. That had to be drained a few days after the surgery. I believe I am now on the mend. I am still weak and on medicine that has slowed me down from even thinking about blogging. See why I am so thankful for the last 11 articles by Dr. Johnson. Needless to say, I have not done any birdwatching. :)

SNOWY EGRET wading & shading (Mrs. Bursk Science Class blog)

Thanks again to all of you for your thoughts and prayers, and especially for the Lord who knew all about this before, during, and after the surgery, and never left me.


If you missed the latest 11 articles by Dr. Jim:

Shake a Leg (or 2 or 3 or 4), Crab-Eater! – Aug 7

Crazy as a Coot! – Aug 8

Pinyon Jay, Grand Canyon’s Forester – Aug 9

Killdeer atop Killdeer: Appreciating Help from Others – Aug 10

Loggerhead Shrike: Converting Thorns into Meat-hooks – Aug 11

Oystercatchers Must be Gentiles – Aug 12

Eggs Taste Better if Salted – Aug 13

Penguin Eggs Tragedy – Aug 14

Shades of Snowies – Aug 15

Peregrine Falcon – Proactive Hunter – Aug 16

Egret Feathers Worth More Than Gold – Aug 17

Lee’s Four Words – Hath Inclined His Ear


Rainbow Lorikeet by Lee at Lowry Park Zoo




“Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live.” (Psalms 116:2 KJV)

Rainbow Lorikeet by Lee at Lowry Park Zoo


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Lord, I Need To Talk To You

Northern Pika (Ochotona hyperorea) ©WikiC 2017 Photo Winner

I am glad that this blog has the Plus at the end of its name. It allows for articles about other things besides birds to be written about. Wikipedia had a contest and this little Pika’s photographer placed 13th. I love it! [I’ll tell you why after you read about the Northern Pika.]

“The Northern Pika (Ochotona hyperborea) also known as the Japanese guinea pig is a species of pika found across mountainous regions of northern Asia, from the Ural Mountains to northern Japan and south through Mongolia, Manchuria and northern Korea. An adult northern pika has a body length of 12.5–18.5 centimeters (4.9–7.3 in), and a tail of 0.5–1.2 centimeters (0.20–0.47 in). The pika sheds its fur twice annually, bearing a reddish-brown coat in the summer and grayish-brown coat in winter. It feeds on various plant material and makes “hay piles” for winter use.” (Wikipedia)

“And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 20:4 KJV)

What do you think about when you see this little Pika? Does it remind you of kneeling at an altar? Or, maybe looking up when we need help and saying, “Lord, help me figure this out.”

Northern Pika (Ochotona hyperorea) ©WikiC 2017 Photo Winner

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 KJV)


If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” (James 1:5-6 KJV)

Okay! It’s your turn. What would you say about this little critters pose? Leave a comment, please.


Lee’s Seven Word Sunday – 7/16/17


Goldfinch Praying for a turn




“Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;” (Ephesians 1:16 KJV)

Goldfinch Praying for a turn at the feeder.

Thanks again for all of you who have been praying for me as I recover from my back surgery. I do give thanks to the Lord for you.


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Lee’s Three Word Wednesday – 5/10/17


Common Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix) ©WikiC



“And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.” (Luke 22:46 KJV)

Common Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix) ©WikiC


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Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 8/30/16


White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) Houston Zoo by Lee



“Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth.” (Psalms 54:2 KJV)

White-eared Catbird (Ailuroedus buccoides) Houston Zoo by Lee


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Prothonotary Warbler And An Update

One of the birders that I follow, has a Channel on YouTube, VideoBirder of their birdwatching videos. This Prothontary Warbler, shows the difficulty that photographers and videographers have of trying to catch a bird. They flit all over the place and if your lucky or blessed, you may get a brief view. In this video, this beautiful bird sings, and then off he goes again.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:33-34 KJV)

As I was watching that video and thinking about the verse above, why do we worry or fret? Sometimes life is like that bird. We are busy going from here to there. Some times you can see him clearly and so in life things seem clear and we have “smooth sailing.” Other times, that bird is hidden behind the branches and you can’t see it so clear. In our lives things can have “bumps in the road” or problems that show up. Yet, the Lord knows all about it and guides us through those rough parts of our walk through life.

Right now, Dan and I have been dealing with health issues. One reason you have not seen very few, if any “birdwatching adventures” lately, is because we haven’t been on any adventures. At least not that kind. I am so thankful for James J. S. Johnson and Emma Forster for helping supply articles for the blog. Others have sent emails with birds which we have placed on the blog. Even the daily devotionals have helped keep this blog active. Dr. Jim, (James Johnson) as I call him, has even been helping with ideas for the devotionals.

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) In a cavity nest ©WikiC

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) In a cavity nest ©WikiC

So, if you have wondered where the “adventures” have been, now you know.

First I slipped the disc in my back, back in the fall, and I have been living with that. Made it almost through the winter and caught Bronchitis, which usually last longer than I would like. Now Dan, who is our main photographer, at least the better one, has been dealing with something for almost the last two months. Even spent time in the hospital last week, and we are still dealing with tests and Doctor visits.

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) Neal Addy Gallery

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) Neal Addy Gallery

Like the bird, we are flitting here and there, yet, we can still sing. We have a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who knows all about our issues and none of this is catching Him by surprise. He knows what the outcome will be of the tests, diagnosis, and cure. Dan has lost quite a bit of weight and is still weak, plus other issues. We are just resting and trusting in Him. Many of our friends are praying to us and your prayers will also be appreciated.

If a day gets missed and no blog comes out, this may give you an idea why. We are looking forward to getting back out there birdwatching and trying to catch a photo of birds like that Prothontary Warbler, or a Warbler we see here. Lord’s Blessings on all of you.

Palm Warbler by Dan

Palm Warbler by Dan

“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:31 KJV)

Prothonotary Warbler – All About Birds

Prothonotary Warbler – Wikipedia

Paul’s Beautiful and Graceful Prayer for the Colossian Church ~ Re-blog

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, (Colossians 1:3-4 KJV)

Stephen Nielsen over at “Prayer A to Z,” that I follow, has an interesting article you will enjoy. He also featured at beautiful Grey Heron.

Prayer A to Z

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I saw this beautiful grey heron on my nature walk today. I’ve never seen one like it.

While being imprisoned in Rome, Paul told the Colossians, in his letter to them, that whenever he prayed for them he was always thankful to God. For just as with the Ephesians and the Philippians, they were his partners in the gospel and he was overjoyed that they had a love for all the saints just as he had.


We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints  (Colossians 1:3-4).


It is apparent by this letter that Paul did not have a direct part in the conversion of the Colossians. His comrade Epaphras led them to Christ, and he brought news to him of…

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Lee’s Two Word Tuesday – 3/22/16


Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma) by Ian



“And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:20-22 KJV)

Double-eyed Fig Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma) by Ian


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