Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Ginkgo Leaves

Ginkgo leaves at end of bud. There seems to be 8 clustered at the end of the bud.

This ancient tree seems to know that it is the light the provides its ability to survive. All the leaves at the tip of the twig is a sign for me to seek the light.

Micah 7:8 "Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy.
Though I fall I will rise;
Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me."

Go to this link to read my other posts on Ginkgo trees.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Immature Turkey Vulture

Immature because the head is mostly black. The mature Turkey Vulture has a red head. Two tone wings and wings making a V and not flat are ID signs of a Turkey Vulture.

I have noticed these vultures like to gather in the morning and evening and fly around in circles for a while before departing to sleep or head out for the day. This communal activity is interesting.

Vultures are usually looked down on because they eat dead meat. This is God's way of nature. I have heard that a vulture will come up to an animal they think is dead. But when the animal moves it is revolting to them.

They have a good sense of smell, but not good enough to detect rotting flesh from the high altitudes they maintain while looking for food.

Habakkuk 1:8 "Their horses are swifter than leopards And keener than wolves in the evening. Their horsemen come galloping, Their horsemen come from afar; They fly like an eagle swooping down to devour."

Thank you Father, for the sanitary service these birds provide.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Fall in Late Afternoon

Late afternoon sun enhances and late fall colors bring out a unique scene. There is always things to see in nature, but sunrise and sunset accent their beauty.

The Lord will bring beauty to our life as we make ourselves available to Him.

Matthew 4:16 "The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great light, and those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death, upon them a light dawned."

Father, I look to Your light, to lighten the darkness I find myself in. For You bring my way to fullness.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Photo taken at Bass Pro Shop

The wild turkey and the Muscovy Duck have been domesticated. No other bird in North America has been domesticated.

Wild turkeys are native to North America. Wild turkeys (a different race of turkey from the US), were brought from Mexico to Europe in the 1500s and when they came over to North America they brought them with them. They flourished till the early 1900s. Farm turkeys were released to try to increase the wild population but they didn't survive. Wild ones were then introduced, taken from more populous areas and this worked.

Now Wild Turkeys are prevalent over the 48 states of the US.

Length 43 to 45 inches
Wingspan 49 to 57 inches
weight 23 pounds

Turkeys are consumed at Thanksgiving and I will use them as a type for thankfulness. Our thankfulness brings a better life, instead of complaining about problems. It is thanksgiving that allows us to enter the presence of God.

Psalm 100:4,5 
"Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
5 For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations."

As we come to God with thanksgiving we receive grace and mercy to help in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16
" Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, 
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

Father, I thank you for Your blessings of grace and mercy.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Northern Shoveler



This duck is widespread over North America. They are monogamous. They nest in grassy areas, away from open water. They are a common duck not having any danger in their population. They are 19 inches long and weigh 1.3 pounds. The large bill looks like the duck is out of balance.

The Shovelers have a larger bill than other ducks. The N. Shovelers bill is about 2 1/2 inches long. Their bills have filter type projections on their bills to separate the water from the food they eat.

The oldest Northern Shoveler was a male about sixteen 1/2 years banded in California and found in Nevada.

They don't feed in the mud at the bottom of the pond. This feeding habbit keeps them from getting lead buckshot in their system. The lead kills off those who eat this substance.

Like the N. Shoveler, Christians can stay away from trouble by not allowing immoral or too much media to occupy their mind. To follow Christ requires faith, trust and belief. When the teachings of the Bible are pushed out by bad stuff or just too much stuff, their health spiritually suffers.

Romans 12:2 "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect."

Father, I thank You for all the varieties and difference there are in nature.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Smart Deer Buck

Sunday afternoon at near dusk, we decided to walk around the block and found this nice buck. It is hunting season so the buck moved to houses for safety. The woods near us,  listed as a green way, has had deer hunters with illegal feeding of corn by the deer stand in years past. This deer must know all about this and has come to the houses where no one takes any shots.

Christians must live smart as well. There are traps in life. Some are: alcohol, drugs, illicit sex. Other traps are less obvious but are just as dangerous. Such as: neglecting family by working too much, spending too much time in recreation and not serving God as they should. Spending time on media and not in the Bible and prayer.

Let us not be fooled by the traps of this world but instead serve God with all our heart.

Psalm 91:3
"For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence."

Psalm 124:7
"Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; The snare is broken and we have escaped."

Proverbs 6:5
"Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler."

Thanks Father, for Your protection.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Swanson's Hawk

Out of the corner of my eye I saw this hawk fly into the woods. I noticed a bump on a branch thinking that might be the hawk and took a photo of it and it came out fairly nice. Can't blow the photo up more than this because it was a long way off. (maybe 150 yards)

The tail feathers match up and the dark around the edges of the wings match with a Swanson's hawk.  I saw one of these birds flying over the lake nearby, so that is another indication that this would be a Swanson's Hawk.

The vastness of the woods behind the hawk would cause the hawk to be invisible from the distance I was at if I hadn't seen the bird fly into the woods. Being alert was the key for me that day to find this photograph.

In most endeavours of life, being alert to what you are doing is essential to success. Some things seem like they don't take much effort like going to church and being a Christian. But that is a mistake because, we may not realise there is a war going on around us.

Stay alert and keep vigilant in your efforts to live for Jesus. Learn to use the weapons and skills He has given you.

Father, I look to you for protection. Strengthen me to be a vigilant worker in Your kingdom.

For further reading on this subject, go to some posts on my other blog.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Northern Pintail

The 2 ducks having a horizontal white stripe on their head are Northern pintails. Also IDed with longer neck, white breast and male has thin pintail.

They are  dabbling ducks.

List of:American Dabbling Ducks
American Black Duck
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Green-winged Teal
Mottled Duck
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Wood Duck

These ducks feed mainly on the top of the water rather than diving below for food.

The Northern Pintails average in population over five million. The added wetlands help to increase breeding. The population drops during dry years and increases in wet years. They hybrid with a number of different birds.

Pintails migrate early in spring and move north as soon as the wetlands are ice free.

This early migration is a type of eagerness that Christians should strive for. We should always be ready to go and serve as we are led by God.

1 Peter 3:15 "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;"

Father, I want to be eager to follow your directions.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Males have black feathers and females have brown. They grow up to 9' tall and 320 pounds. Their diet consists of plants and bugs, locusts, snakes, lizards and rodents. Like all birds they eat sand and pebbles to digest their food.

They don't need to drink water. The plants they eat provide the water they need. But if they come to a watering hole they will drink from it.

Ostrich birds are the largest. They can't fly. Their bodies are built for running. They have been known to sprint up to 43 miles an hour and can maintain a run of 31 miles an hour.

They don't bury their head in the sand as fables have noted. But they do lie down with their head on the ground which may look like it is buried.

Isaiah 13:21 "But desert creatures will lie down there, And their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there."

This verse refers to the destruction of Babylon. Ostriches show up where the land is desolate of civilization. As a type, the Ostrich represents desolation. Babylon was destroying Israel. God will support Israel and He will support us. We can trust God to come to our aid when the enemy strikes.

Father, lead me from desolation to the light of life.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Clouded Sulphur Butterfly

A nice shot of this butterfly on white flowers. Butterflies are attracted to flowers to get the nectar.

1 John 2:15-17
"Do not love the world nor the things in the world.
 If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world,
the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life,
is not from the Father, but is from the world.
17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts;
but the one who does the will of God lives forever."

Watch what you respond to so that your life will be a blessing to others.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Large White Oak

Photo taken 10/18/2016
f9 1/500 12mm ISO 1600

This White oak dominates in these woods. The other trees are much smaller and looked to be from another generation. Why does one tree dominate while others fail to make the size. Part of the reason is the type of tree it is. White oaks grow to a large size if given the right conditions. 

These oaks need to grow in full sunlight to gain full potential. If the tree is overshadowed it will grow slowly and bide its time till there is an opening in the canopy. With full sunlight, the tree that had been growing slowly will start to grow faster.

Christians need to receive light from our Lord Jesus to grow to their potential. At the same time there needs also the fellowship of other believers to encourage and guide them to better growth. We need the right mix of freedom and support to mature. 

Father, guide me to stay focused on You. Whether I'm a small tree or a large one, I look to you for my support.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Swanson's Hawk

The nest of the Swanson's hawk is about 2' in diameter and about a foot high.

The oldest Swanson's hawk was caught for rebanding and was found to be 23 years and 11 months old. The North American breeding population runs abound 580,000.

These hawks have one the of the longest migrations of the American Raptors. When these hawks are breeding they eat the normal hawks diet of rodents, reptiles and rabbits. They will scour the open fields for food and nest in nearby trees along the edge of fields. After they are done breeding they make a major switch in diet to insects. They will run on foot after insects with their wings partly spread.

Maybe it is because they are adaptable to different diets that their population remains stable.

I find it interesting that a majestic hawk like this will chase after a lowly insect.

Proverbs 16:19 "It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud."

Father, remind me to stay humble and look to You for my strength.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Pied-Billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebes don't fly well. They are not spotted often in flight. Usually they are seen on the water. They are divers and are able to hold water in their feathers to allow them to dive and stay under water for a while. They eat a lot of their own feathers, which is used to filter their food so that harmful parts won't get into their intestines.

Their defense is to dive under water. Sometimes they are submerged with just their eyes and bill out for breathing.

They build their nests in the water. They use the plants in the water to anchor their nests.

Pied-billed Grebes are water birds like ducks and can be IDed by the thick bill and large head and brown feathers.

The large head reminds me at times of people that think they know something. We need to remember, it is not what we know, but what we can testify of that matters. Life with Jesus does not consist of knowledge alone, but what we do with our knowledge in love for others.

1 Corinthians 8:1 "...knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies."

Father, lead me in the love You have for me.

Monday, November 07, 2016

European Starlings

I was driving out of a nature area and I came across a flock of Starlings taking a bath in this puddle. Water was flying everywhere as you can see. Then all at once they took off in a cloud as if on cue. I had seen birds flying in formation like this but never seen them stopping to take a bath in unison. After flying around for a while they came back for another bath. I think it was because there was not enough room for all of them to utilize the puddle. Anyway it was interesting to watch them and their response to maintain formation in the flock.

They may be flying this way to protect themselves from a predator

The group is not led by a leader, but the flock of Starlings flies as a group. It is called Starling Murmuration.

Here is a youtube video of this type of formation.

This flying formation could represent the leading of the Holy Spirit on the church. We don't realize the Holy Spirit is leading others as He is leading us. We can rely on Him to guide us in difficult days.

Romans 8:26 "... the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words:"

Father, let me be led of Your Spirit to flow with the church to bring glory to Your name.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

White Throated Sparrow

These birds breed in Canada but have come south for the winter. We have not had a cool fall as normal, but these sparrows have arrived and I was glad to get a shot.

They sometimes mate with Dark eyed Juncos and produce  hybrids. These offspring have white tail feathers and look like dully marked White Throated sparrows.

They nest near the ground or up to 18" high. The oldest White Throated sparrow was found to be 14 years and 11 months. from a banding operation.

These birds don't stay long in one place and I was following this bird from branch to branch before I got my shot.

Like a sparrow that often moves our life is busy at times. We should be about the purposes of God and not just rest. Let us make sure what we do is profitable and we will be blessed.

1 Corinthians 15:58
"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."

Father, I thank you for the work You have given me. I rejoice in the grace you have given me.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Clover Flower

This clover will winter and come the next year. It is used as a cover crop which keeps erosion in check by having it growing hold the ground during rain. One value is the plant fixes nitrogen in the soil. This nitrogen causes other plants to grow much better in the year to come.

This plant can be sown in fields that have been harvested but the stubble has not been tilled under.

Christians need strength in their life to produce fruit in the future. Having God's word hid in your heart builds strength if you use it.

We don't need strength when life is easy. But when troubles come we need the strength of God. How do we get access to strength? By turning to God and His promises. Rely on God and what He has promised and you can trust Him.

Lord I trust you and when troubles come I will not fear but put my eyes on You.

Psalm 112:7 "He will not fear evil tidings; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord."

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

European Starlings

There is little difference between the sexes in these Starlings. The female has a yellow ring along the edge of their iris.

Most birds have strong muscles to snap their bill shut. European Starlings muscles do the opposite. They force the bill open. This helps them grub through grassy areas to find food.

European Starlings present a problem with managed forests in that their droppings burn out an area where they roost. They are trying to move them from place to place to turn this problem into a benefit.

The Starlings thrive where man has altered the environment. From 100 birds released in Central Park of New York City in 1890-91. There are now, more than 200,000,000 birds in North America. The birds take over areas that had been used by local birds.

Just as Starlings have intruded into the population of North America. So bad influences can made their way into our lives. It is important to realize that there are long range results to the things we decide to do.

Some may say they will dabble in sin for a short time and then walk away. They think it will be fun and they won't get hurt. Instead they find they are trapped in the sin they thought was harmless and it may be decades before they are free. Some people never get free from their problems.

Proverbs 29:6 
"By transgression an evil man is ensnared, But the righteous sings and rejoices."

Father, give me the grace to walk in Your light and not to fall into temptation.