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Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Winter turns into Spring, and songbirds returning to rebuilding their nests.

While enjoying the birds singing in the woodland, I have the tendency to pick up feathers of birds that are fallen on the ground.  Somehow I feel compassion for the fallen feathers and I want to pick them up and comfort them.

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Holding onto a real feather makes me feel lighthearted and free-spirited.  I marvel at the softness and the beauty of  feathers and how they provide a protective cover over the body of avians.

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Reflecting on the bond between me and feathers, one real life encounter with a bird floated across my mind:  

Once, my landlord told me that the house we lived in needed to be vacated and that I needed to find a new place to stay within a short frame of time. After scouting at various options, I was still unable to find a place to stay, the deadline to move out was fast approaching, and I was getting anxious.

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So one evening before dusk, instead of busing, I decided to walk the long route home so that I could spend more time praying.  As I was walking, I was startled by a small moving creature beside me;  It was a tiny bird! 
Normally, birds only approach humans if there is food to feed them but I had none!  I continued my prayer walk wondering why a small bird would walk so calmly alongside me.

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Suddenly, my heart felt a tug, and tears sprung from my eyes. I felt as if God was speaking to me through the tiny creature, saying that He would take care of me and to provide a new dwelling place for me.  Then I remembered the fascinating story of how God asked the ravens to feed to the prophet Elijah on the remote ravine for a number of years (I King 17); then Matthew 6 came tweeting in my ears, “Look at the birds in the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?”

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As I contemplated the little buddy beside me and the verses about God’s care, my feet seemed to feel lighter and my pace faster than the bus ride that I usually took. I felt as if I were like the tiny bird spreading its wings and gliding home! 

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God acted swiftly, for within a couple of days, I was assured  a comfy nest to dwell which was way beyond my imagination.

Through feathers and nests, I have experienced God’s presence, protection and provision in season and out of season.

The Creator God not only use the flying creatures to interact with humankind and to tell His story; He also use the image of a bird as a metaphor to show His protection, love and care!

Psalm 91 states that whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty; God is our dwelling place, and that He covers us with His feathers, and under his wings we can find refuge.

 

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The sun is shining, the tide is receding, and I am enjoying a sabbath by the sea.

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The gentle whisper of the wind and the rhythmic sound of the waves, echo the soothing voice of the Creator of the Universe.

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The glistening light illuminates on the surface of the sea, looks like millions of sparkly stars dancing on water.

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Sabbath-ing by this splendid scenery, my soul recounts the oceans of blessings that this Lord of the Sabbath has bestowed upon me…

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indeed they are as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore!

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The incoming tides splash over my feet; and I frolic joy-freely with the swirling waves…

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on this day of relaxation by the serene seascape in front of me.

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CS has become such an avid birder; she would venture into the bird sanctuary in the countryside almost every weekend for bird watching and feeding. Without fail after her excursion, she would eagerly send pictures she took of her beautiful flying friends to her human friends.

The other day CS showcased yet another bird photo — this time it’s a junco, a stout little sparrow with black ring eyes.

Gazing at the photo of the sweet sparrow, JC instantly cheeped a two liner-poetry which even rhymed!

CS the birder, you are born to fly;
Your photography skill of birds has reached high sky!

CK came over and responded to the rhyme, she chirruped:
All the pictures you take remind us of God’s beautiful creation;
They truly speak to our hearts with great passion!

MC popped in and chittered:
Causing us to stop and worship
Our God, who desires our fellowship!

AC swinged by and chirped:
Junco, just a bird;
What honor to serve
His children
In such remembrance
Of Him!

CS, the photographer, a woman with few words who strongly believes that… a picture is worth a thousand words… couldn’t resist not to join in the chorus, she darted in out- of-nowhere and chattered:
It is to my great delight
To see the joy our birds of flight
Bring to our midst
Blessed bliss!

Another sparrow stand still and silently eyeing from the treetop, perhaps eavesdropping, I wonder what it would tweedle to its buddies about these lyrical ladies who chattered, chirped, chittered, chirruped and cheeped!

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photography@CS

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Watching birds flying over the water and into the evening sky is freeing and calming.

I would often pause and enjoy the flying moment.

This image taken by the beach reminds me of a beautiful Hebrew prayer song and worship dance called T’filati.

The lyric is taken from Psalm 55 on casting our burdens to God and trusting Him to free us like a flying bird.

T’filati (My Prayer)

Ha’azina Elohim T’filati (Listen God to my prayer)
Ve’al na titalam Mitechinati (And don’t over look my plea)
Mi yiten Li kanaf kayona (Who will give me a wing)
A’ufa li ve’eshkona (So I can fly and live like a bird)
Ani el Elohay ekra (I will call God)
Vehu Yoshi’eyni (And He will save me)

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Let’s Celebrate!

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It’s the first day of December.

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A friend invited me to her backyard for a wintry stroll to celebrate life outdoor.

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How thrilling it is to be able to enjoy the outdoor again after months of being caged indoor cramming on a major school assignment which… I finally completed today!

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Yes, let’s celebrate!

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“My name will be great among the nations,
from where the sun rises to where it sets.
In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to me,
because my name will be great among the nations,”
says the LORD Almighty. (Malachi 1:11)

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Mango Madness

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The homegrown mangoes were enormous and extremely sweet. My sister, Iris, said they had spared three for me to try. I was anticipating to taste those wonder mangoes that the family highly valued; but when I reached home, those fruits were still dangling on the treetop yet to be harvested.

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After a month, those eye-catching mangoes looked more like a forbidden fruit as it still refused to ripen. After I left the country, the family sort of didn’t think much about the green mangoes. One day, Iris heard the chirping of singing birds outside the kitchen window. In fact, the cadence had been going on for a few days, but on that particular day, the tweedling was unusually loud and joyous so she decided to take a peek at the commotion.

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To her sheer delight, she looked up and saw one of the green mangoes had finally turned to a ripen yellow;  but to her utter dismay,  the fruit was bruisely attacked by the avian creatures.    Gazing at the soft ripen yellowish flesh of mango dripping down with tangy juice, Iris couldn’t resist not to climb up and pluck away the fruit. But then the thought of the Heavenly Father watches over the birds and feeds them stopped her from reaching further. Thus the birdies were able to continue enjoying the nibbling on the mouth-watering crop.

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Eventually the ripened mangoes were picked off from the tree.

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Hmmm… those meaty-sweet-smelling-tropical-deliciousness were supposed to be for my palate!!

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Iris told me her family almost chop down the mango tree last year because it didn’t produce much fruit, and sometimes no fruit at all.   One day, under the mango tree, the family was led to pray for God’s guidance whether to axe down the tree or to keep it.

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Within a short period, the tree started to blossom profusely with mango flowers.

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The blossoms gradually transformed into many mini mangoes…

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to mouth-watering mangoes…

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The family was overwhelmed by the miracle tree and the abundant harvest that the good Lord has blessed them with — over 100 sweet smelling mangoes waiting to be picked!

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The family not only enjoyed the fruit with gratitude, they also distributed the fragrant fruit of their prayer in their neighborhood.

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I took this picture with Iris’ grand-daughter two years ago, and who knew that the tree behind us would turn out to be one mighty tree that causes such mango madness!

Iris told me that this year gotta be another year of fruitful favour, for the same tree is now adorned with many tiny mangoes already. They can’t wait to savour and to share their bountiful harvest with their community again… including the carefree birds in the air!

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The Dance of the Snow Geese

No snow yet so let’s talk about something related to “snow” —  snowgeese!

I enjoy watching snowgeese activities very much.
I love watching them flying over my head and always hoping their droppings won’t fall on my head!

When these birdies are not flying they usually park themselves on the big field feeding themselves with swamp food.

They are often very still and alert  but get startled easily by any little movement.

I used to tease them by flagging a white towel not too far from them and they would literally hop up and down in unison… either they got panicking or were dancing to the rhythm of the towel movement…

It was quite a sight to watch the many thousands of snow geese’s bewilderedly call as they flew off to the sky when chased by their predators such as the eagles.

Snow geese usually migrate here around Oct to Dec from Siberia and then fly down to the South and winter there; they would make a transit here again around March and April before heading back to Siberia.

Encountering the snow geese doesn’t come by easily but once spotted, it’s a  treat of a lifetime.

I had been telling Amelie countless times about these amazing birdies of mine and she always thought it was just a legend.  Seeing is believing… 

Anyway, here’s Amelie’s recent asthetic encounter with the birds.

We were welcomed by the dance of the snow geese
there were hundreds or thousands..
it was like a white patch of grass seen in a distance,
but they were really chubby in the close-ups.
When they took flight,
it was phenomenal to see the power of many,
the group effort,
the movement of freedom,
the sprinkling of snow on a mountaintop,
a white blanket flowing in the air…. you name it,
their dance has be to coupled with human imagination,
or captured by Janie’s camera,
or heard by Lynne’s poem,

to complete the joy.
Is this one with creation?

I felt elated by their dance,
and Lynne said Janie and her could stand there for 2 hours watching,
me too…
It is like worship when watching the snow geese,
you need silence, to drink that in, to feast your eyes,
to let the spirit soar with them,
to let them bring your eyes up and mind high
to see the vision of the far end …

O, I love the sight of it, yes, I will go back and be their quiet beholder again…

BTW, Happy Birthday to Amelie today; may you have many more sightings on the true legend of the snowgeese!

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High View of God


Whenever i encountered eagles i would think of God
for He loves to use eagles as metaphor
to remind us of His deep relationship with us


there are more than 20 references on eagles in the Bible
and the following is one of my favorites from Deuteronomy 32
talking about He will never let go of His children.

10 In a desert land he found him,
   in a barren and howling waste.
He shielded him and cared for him;
   he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
11 like an eagle that stirs up its nest
   and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
   and carries them aloft.
12 The LORD alone led him;
   no foreign god was with him…

the following is a sharing by one of my guest-bloggers, Legolady888, on her recent intimate encounter with the Almighty God

 

Praise be to God who is our Provider and Redeemer! He never fails to provide for all of our needs as our lives are a testimony of it. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. What a relief!!

Yesterday, i spent the day in the hospital for a surgery. I had heavy menstrual flow for many years now and only recently that it has gotten much worst so i decided to see the doc about this. She referred me to a gyne and i met her for the first time two days ago. She was very thorough for she spent an hour talking and examining me. After examination, she realized that the fibroid that causes the heavy bleeding was already out of the uterus making its way down my vagina so she decided to cut it out. I was really surprised that the surgery can be arranged so fast. as we all know our Canadian medical services most popular word is WAIT.  Even my friends were surprised. This could only be God’s provision.

I was in the hospital by 10am. Initially the doc wanted to keep me for a night as my hemogoblin was at a low of 70, normal was a 100 and higher, low of 60 would require blood transfusion; but the surgery went very well and not much blood was lost so i was kicked out by 2:30pm. I thought an overnight stay would be great but God knows better. I really don’t need the headache.

Throughout this whole procedure God’s peace was ever with me. I know i am not alone, He is with me. Studying the book of Isaiah has helped me to have a higher view of God. He is huge, vast, incomparable.

For “He has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand” Isaiah 40:12;
and “Nations are like a drop in a bucket” Isaiah 40:15;
“He stretches out the heavens like a canopy” Isaiah 40:22;
and “Heaven is His throne and the earth is His footstool. His hand had made all these things, and so they came into being” Isaiah 66:1-2.

 

It boggles my mind to think that such a huge, big God would even care for the little details of my lives. The only explanation I could think of is His great, enduring love for me.  I am doing well now. slept too much during the day as i had anaesthesia.

*majectic eagle pictures  taken by Mr. Brian Tam on April 2011 during eagles’ nesting season.

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’tis the breeding season for the creatures in the bird sanctuary
i have seen the goslings of geese

and the ducklings of the mallards

but i yet to see a cygnet aka baby swan
it must be really ugly compares to other baby ducks
hence the name “ugly duckling”
hopefully i get to see their sighting in the next few weeks
to judge for myself…

i always enjoy the story of the ugly duckling
who matured and transformed into a stunning swan
every time i read the fairy tale
i am reminded of Isaiah 61:3
where God has bestow on us
a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
that we will be called oaks of righteousness
a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor…

for us to be transformed from our lowly state (ugly duckling)
into the display of God’s splendor (beautiful swan)
was all because of what Jesus Christ has done for us on the Cross

Isaiah 53 is a good read on Good Friday
about this Suffering Servant of God

Isaiah 53
1 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.

swan pictures courtesy of Brian Tam

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@Karen Cox Harvey

i always consider wood duck as beautiful bride but it is a bridegroom

i was never into bird watching until i encountered this showy duck
for the longest time i thought that wood ducks
were imaginary ducks
and ducks crafted from wood
hence the name wood-duck

imagine my astoundness when i finally encountered them in real life
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no kidding
oh their color… was it ever exaggerated
such brilliantly colorful creature
that it looked so unreal
and said some artists must have splashed color on them ^^

huh, ever since the encounter with wood cuck
my new found hobby on bird-watching piqued
i started to buy birds book and learning each bird by name
my friend even got me a binocular for this hobby
we carried the bird books, a pen, a camera, a binocular, a hat etc
when visiting the bird sanctuary
we called ourselves the novice ornithologists

oh, i always called the wood duck the bride
‘cos look at how decoratively and festively they dressed themselves
and so ready to get marry…
being a new ornithlogist I sure did some research on this duck
and to my delight i couldn’t believe i was so right
for this wood duck was named after “bridal”
their scientific name is called Ais Sponsa
meaning “showy waterbird in bridal dress”

from my many experiences
wood ducks are very alert yet timid
they get spook easily
thus it’s so hard to get near them less pictures taking of them
but that doesn’t prevent me from looking out for them
each time i visited the bird sanctuary
they are my serendipity moment…(pic below Brian Tam)

i was quite delighted the other day
to be able to get some candid shots
of these bridal ducks recently at the bird sanctuary

wood duck is named wood duck
because they are found in the woodlands
their nests are built on the wooded area up on hollow trees
to prevent predators from attacking their youngs
their dwelling place are usually at least 5 to 10 feet
above the ground
their nests are usually previous created by
the woodpeckers’ pecking or decayed tree trunks
or from man-made wooded box

can you tell which one is the bride
and which one is the bridegroom…

 

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