Monday, April 18, 2011

Go ahead, and give me the red-eye!


Spring is always exhausting for me. There are those who honor the approach of spring by  sitting and listening to birds, or listening to the song of the frogs, or paddling a canoe or taking a nice long drive or a short walk.  I can be found lifting heavy bags of pebble gravel or I am found buried up to my elbows in dirt and mulch in the spring.  I sit surrounded by long and short-handled tools and my garden gloves cast aside so that I can better remove the little seedling from the pot.  I have short, stubby, fingernails and they are most always outlined in brown earth (most always?)  My wardrobe consists of faded jeans and an old torn top and no make-up.  I do manage to run a brush through my hair so that I don't scare the birds.

The other day after planting out four trays of annual seeds...most of which will probably not push their green cotyledons above the surface at all...I pushed up my aching back and decided to go sit on the dock.  It was the first day we had broken 70 F, and since it might be the last day this warm for some time as predicted by weather forcast and since officially spring had not arrived, I decided to take an afternoon break.

I took my camera, which really is now a permanent appendage, and was able to sit calmly before this fellow above and below appeared above the surface of the water.  I sat very still and except for the click of the camera which I held against my face most of the time, it took him a while to realize I was an unnatural entity sitting on the old log at the end of the dock.


He could be an immature horned grebe feeding in the river or maybe a female.  I saw no mate and I am not sure if he is going to stay or fly north in a week or so.  He looked so ruffled...like he was  a college grebe after a night of partying trying to find that green grass that might mediate his headache.  By pressing their feathers against their body they can adjust buoyancy and can be seen sometimes with just their head above water.  Perhaps he was too young to have learned this trick yet.


That red is his eye...although I know it looks like his eye is elsewhere behind that.  They are not the best of fliers but very good divers.  When grooming they preen their feathers and feed them to their young;  ornithologists are not sure why!  Another fascinating tidbit is that they may be related to flamingos.  This one appears to be the Horned Grebe or Salvonian Grebe.  I have tried for a long time to get a photo this good as they are very shy.  Click on the photo for a better look!

As luck would have it, I took this fuzzy photo of the male later in the week.  So they are a pair!


10 comments:

Brian Miller said...

nice capture of the grebe...neat eye...i am sore today from the gardening yard work i did yesterday...

Leah J. Utas said...

Immersed in dirt is a great way to enjoy spring. Good pics.

bob said...

Those are beautiful birds, and I've never seen the like of them before.

Bossy Betty said...

These are indeed beauties! Glad you had time and your camera to capture these images!

Celia said...

Your fingernails are like mine, the best I can hope for is to get them clean. Great pictures. Maybe Ms. Grebe looks frazzled from mating season, the male of the species, much like ducks, is a rough mannered clod when it comes to that. I've learned so much from your posts. Thanks.

Lynilu said...

Nice pictures!

Dave said...

That's a lovely bird Tabor. I have never seen one before either - Dave

Pauline said...

I've never seen a grebe! How cool!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi There, I love yard work this time of year also. Of course, I still love watching the birds and seeing beautiful flowers... But--digging in the dirt is fun also!!!!

That grebe is pretty--especially the male. Maybe the female had been to an all-night party!!!!! ha

You mentioned ticks on my blog. WELL--We learned our lesson a few years ago when George went hiking and gotten eaten up by chiggers (not ticks--but chiggers).. SO--we always go prepared these days. Haven't had any trouble since --and have never gotten a tick bite...

Hugs,
Betsy

deb colarossi said...

love this.

and I worked in a nursery, and had a garden maintenance business for a few years. I love my workboots.

I'm slowly catching up..

thank you so much for your kind support. I wanted to email , but couldn't find an address.
I'm still kind of processing it all... it's been seven years of estrangement so it's complicated.
but beautiful in the grace.