Pied-Billed Grebes – Cuties of the lakes

Pied-billed Grebes are the real cuties of the waters around here.  Ron Dudley wrote a post on his blog about the behavior of them and it is very enlightening.  He was writing about the Western Grebes, but they all have the same habits.  You will rarely see one in flight, and they migrate at night.  Because of the way their legs are attached to their bodies, they are very awkward on land, so you rarely see one walking.

During their first week of life, they spend their time on the back of their mother.  Then after that they are always on the water, diving in the presence of danger.  These three images were taken at our nearby Middle Concho Park.

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

It is always so entertaining to watch them.  They have an innocent presence about them.  They will disappear while diving for aquatic insects, tiny fish and crayfish.  They may resurface several yards away.  So watch for these little creatures when you are around lakes and rivers.

Click on any image to see an enlargement.

Eared and Pied-billed Grebes

Since I ended up getting a nice photo of an Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) Sunday morning, I thought I would show it to you along with another type, the Pied-Billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps).  An interesting thing about grebes is that they spend most of their time on the water.  Because of lobes on their feet that help them to be better swimmers, they are rather ungainly trying to walk on land.  They use floating nests among reeds and other growth.  When preening, they eat their own feathers and feed them to their young.

Eared Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe - adult

Pied-billed Grebe - adult winter

Pied-billed Grebe - juvenile

Adult pied-bills can be identified by the dark band around the bill.  Winter adults and juveniles do not have that band.  Grebes are rarely seen in flight.

I hope you enjoy these photographs, and also those that you can see by clicking on the Flickr Logo on the right side of this page.

Pied-billed Grebes – Aquatic cuties

Middle Concho Park, here in San Angelo, Texas, has the Middle Concho River, then there are little lagoons, or sloughs that branch off a bit.  It is in one of these sloughs that we spotted this lone Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps).  It is a winter adult and was oblivious of me in our car, only about 50 feet away.  By the way, these are the best close-ups of a grebe that I have ever had.  Usually, I have had to contend with distances of several hundred yards, and have never been able to get shots like these.

Pied-billed Grebe - Image 8092


Pied-billed Grebe - Image 8091


Pied-billed Grebe - Image 8093


Pied-billed Grebe - Image 8089

To shoot these images, I used my Canon EOS 7D and Canon 500mm f4 lens with a 1.4 tele-converter attached.  I hand-held it, resting it on a Puffin’ Pad window rest, from our car.  Exposure was Aperture Priority, 1/2500 sec. @ f6.3 with ISO400, minus 1/3 EV adjustment.

I have never seen a dry grebe anywhere.  They are always on the water, diving every few minutes, to come up several yards away in a different spot.  Theyre never above the water long enough to dry off.  At least, that has been my experience.

Click on any image for an enlargement.  Enjoy. 🙂