The Grebe Yawned
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Tonight I’m featuring a couple of images of a Pied-billed Grebe that I photographed just the other day. These duck-like divers are among the smallest members of the grebe family. They are cousins of that Western Grebe whose photograph I featured about a week ago. They are a common sight over at Sweetwater Wetlands and in other bodies of water in the Tucson area. They are charming little birds, rather cute in appearance if somewhat drab in color. They dive after small aquatic invertebrates and other life forms and one of their more interesting features is that they can stay underwater for long periods of time. I’ve clocked one of these birds as submerging for 20 seconds or longer.
I found this grebe at Sweetwater Wetlands early in the morning. It was barely sunrise and the little grebe was lazily floating in the water, not doing much of anything and certainly not diving. Typically, these birds will paddle away or dive when they are approached, but this one looked at me with indifference and continued to float in place. I captured an image just as the sun began to strike the surface of the pond on which the grebe was floating.
The bird drifted into the shadows and I’d about decided that the light was too poor for any more photography. But, then, the grebe did something that surprised me. It yawned. Extravagantly. Then, it yawned again, and I caught it with mouth agape.
I guess even grebes sometimes find waking up to be difficult.
Images made with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO. The first image was shot at ISO 1000, f5 @ 1/200. The second at ISO 1250, f5 @ 1/160. Those of you who are photographers might wonder how I was able to get such sharp images at these shutter speeds with a 400mm lens. It would have been impossible with an unsupported hand-held camera. Fortunately, I was standing at a metal railing when I took these pictures. I braced the camera and lens against the railing and achieved tripod-like stability in that way. Necessity is the mother of invention.