Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

December 18, 2011

Pied-billed Grebe

Filed under: Birds, comparisons, composition, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, light, style — richditch @ 9:43 am
Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

December 6, 2011, Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E(2x), ISO 400, 1/250th second @ f/8, tripod

I’ve always enjoyed Pied-billed Grebes as long as I’ve been birding (40+ years now). Its hard to say exactly why: they are small, nondescript water birds that can be hard to find and harder to see well. But when viewed closely and watched for a while they reward the viewer with interesting detail and activity.

Non birders (and many novice birdwatchers) refer to them as ducks because they are found on ther same small ponds as ducks. But grebes are much different from ducks structurally, with lobed toes instead of webbed feet, and legs far back on the body. This makes grebes good underwater predators but clumsy on land.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

December 6, 2011, Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S, ISO 400, 1/1000th second @ f/8, tripod

Grebes usually are shy birds that head for the rushes on the edges of ponds when people show up. Or, they simply sink below the surface and disappear from view. But given the proper location and time of year these small birds can be seen well and appreciated.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

December 4, 2011, Nikon D300, Nikkor 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E(2x), ISO 400, 1/500th second @ f/10, tripod

These images were all recently taken at the Gilbert Water Ranch. Other posts featuring this species can be seen at Pied-billed Grebe Sequence and Juvie Pied-billed Grebe.

Many photographers try to get their subjects in the open for a completely uncluttered view, as seen in the second and third images in this post. But my preference as a nature photographers is to show my subjects in habitat as much as possible, as seen in the first image. There’s room in the world of photography for both styles, and each has its own challenges. I enjoy working with the more complex habitat images even though it is difficult to show proper habitat without it becoming overwhelming and a distraction to the viewer.

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