Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

August 10, 2010

Juvie Pied-billed Grebe

Filed under: behavior, Birds, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light, weather — richditch @ 10:07 am
Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

On the same visit to the Gilbert Water Ranch when I shot the Black Phoebe of my previous post I got to spend some quality time with the juvenile plumaged Pied-billed Grebe. Young birds show this interesting mottled pattern on the face, unlike the plain face of adult grebes.

This juvenile bird was a treat, and was the only grebe on the pond that morning. Although PBGs are regular at the Water Ranch, we have no evidence that they breed there (they disappear around breeding time). The water level was down in the pond so the grebe had less opportunity to stay out of range, and once I’d sat down close to the edge behind my lowered tripod the grebe came close enough for some photos.

The light was softer than normal for AZ, with overcast skies as we had a brief period of monsoon rains. That kept the contrast down on the grebe so I could easily expose the shot and get good detail in broth the whites and blacks. but it also meant my light levels were on the low side, and even with the lens wide open at f/5.6 I could only manage 1/160th second at ISO 400. But with a stable tripod and careful technique that was enough.

August 1, 2010, Nikon D200, 300/2.8 plus TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/160th second at f/5.6, 81% of frame. A couple distracting feathers edited out of the image, noise reduction applied to the water.



  1. Rich,

    I think Pied-billed Grebes are great, they have big attitudes for such small birds, they show many interesting poses and I like their subtle colors. This is a wonderful image with a great pose. I also love the water color.

    Comment by Mia — August 23, 2010 @ 12:47 pm

  2. Rich,

    I believe that your grebe is performing the “feather settling” behavior, which I also photographed and blog about on the Pacific NW Birder:


    Comment by Greg Gillson — August 25, 2010 @ 1:30 pm

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