Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

November 10, 2011

Pied-billed Grebe Sequence

1. Pied-billed Grebe

1. Pied-billed Grebe

I never get tired of watching Pied-billed Grebes, and I never tire of taking photos of them when they are within camera range. Many beginning birders (and apparently all non birders) think they are “little ducks” and don’t pay them much attention; perhaps because they don’t have bright colors or come close for a bread handout.

2. Pied-billed Grebe

2. Pied-billed Grebe

Unlike the puddle ducks they are often seen with these small grebes have their feet and legs located far back on the body (visible in image #4). This helps them swim under water where they chase their food. They also are masters at “sinking” below the surface by compressing their bodies to be less bouyant rather than making a showy dive like some ducks.

3. Pied-billed Grebe

3. Pied-billed Grebe

This series of images shows another of their curious behavior. They will occasionally start to churn water and elevate the front of their body exposing a white belly. This is often a display aimed at another grebe, but I’ve also seem it aimed at other diving ducks that are competing for the same food source.

4. Pied-billed Grebe

4. Pied-billed Grebe

I captured this sequence at 8:23 am on November 8, 2011 at the Gilbert Water Ranch. It is hard to recall the days of shooting film when we were limited to 36 frames on a roll, and how we were mostly reluctant to fire off long bursts of frames because we’d quickly go through that roll (and the $10-15 it cost for the film and processing). With digital and a large capacity of memory card there’s no longer a need to conserve frames and limit processing costs, so sequences like this are a lot easier to do.

5. Pied-billed Grebe

5. Pied-billed Grebe

Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S lens with TC20E (2x), ISO 400, 1/800th second @ f/8 for all frames.



  1. Great sequence!

    Comment by Jeremy Medina — November 10, 2011 @ 7:18 pm

  2. This is a delightful series Rich, beautiful rich, natural colors, sharpness, details and poses. Like you; I never get tired of watching and photographing Pied-billed Grebes. They sure are fiesty little buggers!

    Comment by Mia McPherson — November 12, 2011 @ 7:28 am

  3. Very beautiful. I love your photography! Please keep it up!

    Comment by kelley3397 — November 24, 2011 @ 3:01 pm

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