Saturday, September 1, 2007

Bullet-proof Bird

There are those with expensive cameras, long lenses, patience, and skill who are able to create beautiful photographs of even the most elusive of creatures. I am not one of those. I carry a small camera in my pack, and if I see an avian blip on a pond I point and click. So I end up with a lot of blurry or unremarkable images. Cropped and enlarged, they look somewhat worse.

A repeated subject that invariably leads to a disappointing result is the Pied-billed Grebe. This small species is shy, and even when not being evasive frequently and unpredictably dives beneath the surface. You raise your camera, and oh! It's gone, much like whack-a-mole. This behaviour also makes them difficult to shoot with a gun, which led hunters to believe that grebes can see a bullet coming. If only.



Pied-billed Grebe, Podilymbus podiceps.

Sometimes I get lucky and get half a picture, like this one today at Garden City Community Park. This bird was not only elusive, it was abusive. Between my failed attempts to photograph it, it would hide in the cattails, cackling. They have a very derisive laugh, which I had not previously known. This bird was in its basic brown, non-breeding plumage.

Here's one in breeding plumage, from a slough in Delta, taken last February. You can almost see the black markings on the white bill that give the species its name. If you want to see a better picture of a pied-billed grebe, ask the great Google to help you. I will continue to post my bad bird pictures, not proudly, but frequently.

1 comment:

Wanderin' Weeta said...

Hi!

"If you want to see a better picture of a pied-billed grebe, ask the great Google to help you. I will continue to post my bad bird pictures, not proudly, but frequently."

Is that bad pictures of birds, or pictures of bad birds that "hide in the cattails, cackling"?

That's the kind of photos I take, as often as not. And sometimes I post them. A kind, thoughtful thing to do; it makes the camera/lens/tripod/blind bearers feel so superior.

[grin]