Saturday, 25 February 2012

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) seems to be especially numerous in Beppu Bay this winter. These photos were taken back on January 30. It was still freezing cold and the wind was really strong on that day. That might be the reason why so many Great Crested Grebes came into the small harbours near my dorm. I counted 7 individuals in one small harbour near the river mouth. Since the afternoon light was so perfect, I had a great fun taking photos of them in different actions. Well, who wouldn't, when you can get the speed shutter as fast as 1/2000sec with only ISO200.

This one was definitely the best shot of the day.

This was the only good flapping shot that I got.

It was interesting to see how most of the birds seemed to be staying in pairs. Maybe they've already paired up, ready to head back to the north. Most of them have already started moulting into breeding plumage showing orange and black feathers on the cheeks. After a long observation, I found that in most pairs, there'd be one bird that has darker brownish parts and another one with paler brownish colouration. I guess it's either sex or age difference.

Most of them already showed some breeding feathers.

One of the paler individuals

And this was one of those darker individuals

Showing its oversized legs while diving

Sometimes they just popped up right in front of the camera!