Let’s Celebrate with Pie[d]

We are officially in December now and thus time to walk over to the big counter on the wall and reset the monthly post quota back to zero – by the way, where the hell did this year go!?! I have single digit days left at work to get this year’s work efforts wrapped up and set the preliminary plan for 2019 before the holiday starts … sigh feel like a race I’m never going to get ahead of. However, on the bright side, I can tell you where a large portion of the year went thanks to crossing off one of my annual goals tonight.

Goal Completed 1000 miles for 2018\

Anyone who follows either of my blogs know I spend my spare time bathed in sweat chasing down Father Time and running from the Reaper. During my Birding and Blogging talks this year I mentioned the reason I run (and lift) is so I can spend all day in the field hauling around big glass in hopes of taking pictures to display in my home gym to remind me why I work out – my circle of life. Always elated when I can check off a goal, let’s celebrate with some pie!

Pied-Billed Grebe found at Padre Bird Viewing and Nature Center, December 2017

Well, maybe not the pie you were thinking of. This here is the birder’s version. Actually, I took some liberties here – this is really a Pie[d]-Billed Grebe. If you live anywhere in the US or a large swath of Canada, you have ample chance to get one of this cute creatures in the tin. It is a rare outing when we do not come upon the Pied on one of our water excursions. You might have to keep your eyes open for reasons explained later, but they are probably there hanging out in small groups or more likely solitaire.

Hit the jump to see some cute picture of the Pied-Billed Grebe!

Continue reading Let’s Celebrate with Pie[d]

Project Chekov: Pied-Billed Grebe

And we’re back to work with another entry in Project Chekov.  Today’s featured bird is the “Chicken of the Water”.   Well, that is what I call it since, in my humble opinion, it looks like it is a chicken and it is found in the water.  Pretty creative eh, just missing the Sea part and then it would have been really funny .. or maybe not.  This is not the first time this particular bird has graced the pages of LifeIntrigued.  It was also featured in the Henderson Bird Viewing series (link here), so no check mark here.  The good news is I think these pictures are better than the previous set – I think it is a younger one.

In case you missed the previous post, this cute little water bird is a Pied-Billed Grebe.  Looks like it is in the Winter plumage based on the missing band around the bill – could just be young, but going with the Winter version for now.  As with many of the birds of late, this Grebe has North America covered either all year round or in the Summer months when it pushes North towards/into Canada.  They are sans webbing between their toes and instead rely on lobes on the toes to move about the water – I believe this is the same situation as the Coots (link here).

I lost a little of the eye glint in this shot, but you know I’m always looking for that cross body head shot.

So like the the Loon (link here) the Pied-Billed Grebes have their legs positioned far back on the body.  It isn’t stated over at Wikipedia, but pretty sure this makes them awkward on the land.  They even nest on the water which was news to me – disturbances by boats/waves during their breeding season can ruin their nests (suckage).  It did mention they prefer being on the water and rarely use that envious capability of flight.  When in danger they simply dive underwater and swim a great deal of distance to safety – even keeping their body submerged while poking their head above water to see if the danger has passed.  Both parents will carry their young on their backs (even diving).  This is the composition I’ve been desperately trying to get in my portfolio.  So far, no luck, but I’ll keep trying.

That’s it for today boys and girls, it is core night and the longer runs don’t take pity on weak abs.  See ya’ soon and keep an eye out for those water chickens!

A Pied Surprise

I’m fresh off another successful Bix@6! I wasn’t exactly feeling at the top of my game at the start, but made it through at a fairly good time for a training run (2 minutes faster than usual). Typically I come in 4 to 5 minutes slower than I do on actual race day. Always seemed a little odd to me but this year I figured out why – I took the phone with me this year (sans headphones – it isn’t really a closed course – no reason to take unnecessary risks), so the RunKeeper app kept me (and everyone around me hehehe) informed of the pace and distance. To my surprise, the 6-course is LONG. Not by a mile like the Chicago Marathon, but a few tenths enough to explain some of the time difference. I’m sure the rest of the time is due to adrenaline from being out there with 17K plus others. Not sure what to expect at the moment from the actual race, but the faster Bix@6 might just be a good sign – now if I can just get the cloud gods to cooperate again!

Are you getting the picture (pun intended) the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve is quite awesome when it comes to the diversity of birds available for photographing? At this point it is a little hard to rank this spot as my favorite thanks to the number of checks it has given me on the bird list or instead a lagoon in Florida where we were able to see less variety, but the larger species. Note, there is more to come of the Florida shoot but for now let’s spend some time with ANOTHER new bird from Henderson.

Anybody want to take a stab at what this interesting little waterfowl might be? No cheating by image hovering, but the post title might give a hint. Honestly, I thought this bird was simply a juvi of one of the other birds that were near it, but upon further research believe this to be a species unto its own. Better yet, a species that I can now check off my bird list. With the aid of the Stokes Field Guide, I was able to match the first two pictures with the adult Winter plumage of the Pied-Billed Grebe. The region matches up perfectly with our location and time frame so pretty confident the classification is correct.  True to the old adage, I got the water beading up on the duck’s (er Grebe’s) back.  Not to mention I was able to put a cross body shot in the tin as well.

Hit the jump to read a few interesting facts about this chicken beaked Grebe

Continue reading A Pied Surprise