Pied-Billed Grebe at RSPB Ham Wall

February 16, 2013  •  5 Comments

Yesterday a report came in on the SOS Bird News messageboard that a pied-billed grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) had been spotted at RSPB Ham Wall and was performing well in front of the second viewing platform.  This reserve is best known for it's winter spectacular - huge starling murmurations - but it also gets it's share of rare visitors including at one time little bitterns.

The forecast for today was good in that there was no rain but poor in that thick fog was forecast for the first half of the day.  I pitched up at about 09.30 when I saw from Twitter that James Packer had spotted it in the gloom.  I tried some shots in the fog and, never having tried this before, was intrigued to know what they might turn out like.  Below is a taster - a heavily cropped shot of the bird swallowing a fish.  Interestingly monochrome and very flat with all the wavelengths compressed into a small band as shown in the histogram next to the photo.

Pied-billed Grebe in FogPied-billed grebe - Podilymbus podiceps Fortunately the light improved a little and I had a second session later in the day with better light although the grebe didn't come particularly close and I had no sunshine.  Probably the highlight of the day was a real battle between the grebe and a large roach which appeared to end in the roach getting away.  Definitely a case of the eyes being bigger than the belly.

Pied-billed grebe 3Pied billed grebe - Podilymbus podiceps

Pied-billed grebe 1Pied-billed grebe - Podilymbus podiceps Pied-billed grebe 2Pied-billed grebe - Podilymbus podiceps Pied-billed grebe callingPied-billed grebe 4Pied-billed grebe - Podilymbus podiceps Pied-billed grebe preening


Comments

5.WildImaging
Thanks Steve. I've got loads of pics of that epic battle but that seemed to convey the size mismatch best.
4.Steve Miller(non-registered)
Love the pics, the one with the huge roach is great! I wish I could have seen it trying to swallow that. I've just sent off a finders report to Birdwatch magazine, they asked If I had any Images of the bird, I don't so I've sent them a link to your blog.
3.WildImaging
Thanks Sue and John for your comments.
2.Sue Wright(non-registered)
Such beautiful photos and film, thank you Tim. I probably won't get to see it either so thank you so much for the above, it really was delightful to view.

I have to agree about the dog thread on the SOS and dearly hope something's done to stop it soon.
1.John Crabb(non-registered)
Excellent. The shots are so good it saves me a trip to a crowded Ham Wall to see it! Shame the "dog thread" was pulled from SOS. I understand why, but it does need sorting out.
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