It's in my blood.
Since I was given my first camera, when I was a little kid, I have always been fascinated by capturing in a shot what my eyes were seeing around me. The beauty of nature or the smile of a friend, an event or an emotion... Precious pearls to be framed in a photo. Whether freezing a movement or moving the stillness, looking at normality through a different angle or portraying the exceptional, I can choose different perspectives, I can catch reality. I think this passion is in my blood, I inherited it from my Grandpa and then from my Dad, and it has always had a great influence in my life. Come and follow me in my journey searching impressions of life.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Great Crested Grebe

The photos you see in this post have been shot either last year or this past April. Though I have not been successful in my goal to get very good photographs of the whole courtship dance, I got a few shots that I want to share while hoping to get better ones in the future. And anyway, mating ceremonies apart, I think this is a beautiful bird, especially when it changes his aspect during the good season.

The Great Crested Grebe, in fact, has a wonderful plumage in the summer, with head and neck "decorations" that during the courtship are displayed in full.

             800mm (400mm + 2x) f/8.0 1/500sec ISO 800 +1.33

             800mm (400mm + 2x) f/11.0 1/400sec ISO 800 +1.33

             840mm (600mm + 1.4x) f/6.3 1/800sec ISO 500 +1

             600mm f/7.1 1/1000sec ISO 400 +0.33

They eat fish, but also crustaceans, frogs and insects. The specimen I observed last year were feeding a lot on lake prawns. They often rest, sleeping with their head kind of hidden in the plumage or stretching their legs that are positioned quite towards the back of the bird.

             600mm f/7.1 1/1250sec ISO 400 +0.33

             840mm (600mm + 1.4x) f/8.0 1/1250sec ISO 500 +0.33

             800mm (400 + 2x) f/8.0 1/1600sec ISO 800 +1

When they dance they stay one in front of the other and move in turn the long neck with characteristic movements. They often get algae or some water plants keeping it in their beaks, almost as a mating offer. 

             560mm f/8.0 1/1250sec ISO 800 +1

             560mm f/8.0 1/1250sec ISO 800 +1

             657mm (200-400 + 2x) f/8.0 1/640sec ISO 800 +1.33

             800mm (400 + 2x) f/8.0 1/800sec ISO 800 +1.33

             840mm (600mm + 1.4x) f/5.6 1/800sec ISO 500 +1

             840mm (600mm + 1.4x) f/5.6 1/800sec ISO 500 +1

             840mm (600mm + 1.4x) f/5.6 1/800sec ISO 500 +1

Last year I was able to observe just part of the dance, while last April I also saw the two birds doing the special "running-on-water" step. They were quite distant one from the other but they both dove and disappeared at the same time. After a few seconds, they surfaced with plants in their beaks and "ran" up to the point of getting belly against belly and lifting each other up, continuing this incredible "run-on-water". Unfortunately it lasted just a few seconds and I was able to take just a few shots. Light was bad, and I am not extremely happy with the result, still, it's a "first" for me.

                                  560mm f/8.0 1/1000sec ISO 640 +1

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