Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Big Water

I returned to the boardwalk at North Beach yesterday to see if the Horned Grebes were still there. These diminutive waterfowl array themselves in breeding colors this time of year, which is quite a different look from their alternate plumage.

It was so windy, however, that the main subject became the interaction of birds and waves. It takes a fairly high wind to produce white capping, but there was plenty of that going on. I like this image of a Grebe sliding down the backside of a wave. That dark spot on the other side of the wave is actually the Grebe's foot.

This Grebe wasn't intimidated by the wave that was about to sweep over it, but dove right into the face of the wave on it's way to the bottom for food.

There were a couple of other ducks out there too, including this Lesser Scaup partially hidden behind a wave.

Here is a similar image with a Horned Grebe. They don't seem to mind the powerful wave action but take it in stride.

One other thing that is noticeable in the winter is the clarity of the water. This time of year you can see much further into the water than in the summer. This Grebe was already below the surface by the time I pressed the shutter button, but you can see it's entire body. The two dark areas to the sides of it's body are it's legs and feet. Grebe legs are much further back on their body than many other waterfowl. That configuration helps them to dive, but makes walking on land awkward.

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