My Saturday Bird this week is the Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus).
Known as the Slavonian Grebe in Europe it is a small member of the Grebe family. The global population has declined by 30% over the past 30 years while the North American population is down 79% and it is now considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
This individual was photographed on a cattle watering hole in Saskatchewan, Canada in spring. The reflections on the water are a mixture of corral fence and stacked straw bales.
It was a good prompt for me as I usually try to get to eye level with birds and mammals. This often involves lying on the ground behind the camera.
However, I quickly realised just how many photos I had to pick from. So initially I decided to limit myself to four photos. Then I decided to go with one photo from the past four decades, partly to make the selection easier.
1980s. A male Common Blackbird checking 1what the photographer is doing. I was in a ditch photovraphing something when I noticed this male spying on me. Photographed in an abandoned orchard at Faddiley near Nantwich in southern Cheshire, England.
1990s. A breeding plumage Horned Grebe on a cattle watering hole. I wanted to get as low a viewpoint as possible so had the legs of the tripod fully spread and then stomped them into a mixture of mud and cattle poop before lying behind the camera. Photographed near Punnichy, Saskatchewan, Canada.
2000s. A juvenile Red Knot resting on the Lake Huron shoreline during autumn migration. The shoreline was too rocky to lie down behind the camera so I was kneeling, trying to get as low a possible. I spent long enough with the birds that they fed, bathed and napped in front of me. Photographed on the Lake Huron shoreline in Southampton, Ontario, Canada.
2010s. An American Red Squirrel in dappled sunlight. From the 52 week photo project I did in 2018 when I spent lots of time lying behind the camera photographing birds and mammals. Photographed on the South Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada.
This is my contribution to Cee’s Midweek Madness Challenge: Silver or Gold prompt.
I had a few ideas for the prompt but wasn’t really happy with any of them. In the end I decided to go with the least obvious idea.
This is a summer plumage Horned Grebe on a pool near Punnichy, Saskatchewan, Canada. I thought the birds ‘horn’ and some of the reflections surrounding it were golden. The reflections are a mix of sky, straw bales and a corral fence created by getting down as close to eye level with the bird as possible.
This is my contribution to the One Word Sunday prompt Pair.
My first thought was pairs of birds, mammals and insects. I decided to keep it simple and go with a pair of photos of pairs of birds. As it turned out, the two photos I picked were taken a couple of miles and three years apart.
A pair of American Avocets feeding on a slough near Punnichy, Saskatchewan.
A pair of Horned Grebe amongst reflections on a farm pool near Punnichy, Saskatchewan.
This is my day 15 contribution to Becky’s July Squares on the theme of Perspective and another of my eye level perspective photos.
This is a breeding plumage Horned Grebe on a pool near Punnichy, Saskatchewan, Canada. The pool was a watering hole for cattle so I was lying in a mixture of mud and cattle poop to get down to eye level with the bird. The reflections on the water are from a stack of weathered straw bales behind the pool.
These are two summer plumage Horned Grebe on a farm pool in Saskatchewan, Canada. The golden reflections on the water aren’t from a sunset, the photo was taken in the afternoon.
Behind the pool is a weathered wooden corral fence and a large stack of weathered straw bales. Because I was lying in the mud at the edge of the water getting down to eye level with the birds the fence and bales are being reflected in the water.
I should also explain that the Horned Grebe of North America is a subspecies of the bird known as the Slavonian Grebe in the U.K.