A Clark’s Grebe In Flight – I Will Probably Never Get Images Like These Again

/, Clark's Grebes, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Utah/A Clark’s Grebe In Flight – I Will Probably Never Get Images Like These Again

A Clark's Grebe pooping in flightA Clark’s Grebe pooping in flight – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2500, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, FX mode, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I took images of a Clark’s Grebe in flight yesterday and I will probably never be able to do that again because they only fly at night. These are horrible images because I was so far away from the grebe and they fly surprisingly fast.

From Birds of North American Online:

Flight

Fast and direct with rapid wing beats, neck stretched with head slightly below level of body, feet stretched out behind. Migratory flights at night, rarely fly otherwise.

From quite a distance I saw one bird attempt flight yesterday and I believe that this bird is the same one because after it headed north in attempted flight it swam back south. I was trying to pay attention to the birds in front of me and keep an eye on it in case it attempted to fly again.

To my surprise… it did. And pooped while it flew.

A Clark's Grebe in flight over the waterA Clark’s Grebe in flight over the water – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2500, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, FX mode, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The grebe flew north over the water very quickly and it was a challenge to keep my focus on the bird because of the vegetation nearby.

A Clark's Grebe about to landA Clark’s Grebe about to land – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2000, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, FX mode, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I could see the grebe make a wide arc in flight and it headed towards an area with some open water.

Landing Clark's GrebeLanding Clark’s Grebe – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2000, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, FX mode, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

At first I thought this was a Western Grebe but after reviewing this image I came to the conclusion that it is a Clark’s Grebe because of the extensive white flight feathers shown in the crappy image above. Western Grebes don’t show that much white in their flight feathers.

I couldn’t believe I had seen and photographed a grebe in flight during the day. The grebes are getting ready for migration and perhaps that is why I saw this grebe take a short flight.

A Clark's Grebe scratching an itchA Clark’s Grebe scratching an itch – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1000, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, FX mode, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I know the images I took of the Clark’s Grebe in flight are not my usual quality but I will take them as they are and I am glad I was paying attention to that grebe. Once in a life time.

Life is good.

Mia

5 Comments

  1. Elephant's Child October 27, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    What an amazing privilege to see. And remember.

  2. Chris Rohrer October 27, 2015 at 11:54 am

    Whooooooaaaaa!!! I love the Clark’s! You don’t get to see that often!!

  3. Cindy October 27, 2015 at 10:11 am

    You just never know what awaits. Beautiful images and happy you were there to see his winging during the day. You teach us something all the time, Mia. 🙂

  4. Patty Chadwick October 27, 2015 at 8:06 am

    Congratulations on such an unusual capture! Persistence pays off in “luck”! I wonder if that bird was a younger one practising for migration…

  5. Bob Mcpherson October 27, 2015 at 7:06 am

    :Gorgeous images, Mia. Exceptional circumstance. You were there . Thats what counts.

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