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.
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 calling Pied-billed grebe preening