A Grebe’s Dilemma.. and a Coots Perplexity.

As I sat in my favourite bird hide, the sun heading towards it’s resting place, I spotted the little Grebe had caught a fish. My luck being what it is, not the best place for the bird to be for me to take photos. Did this stop me? No. Did the photos come out as they could have? No. So how did they come out? Silhouettes.

The Grebe appeared to have bitten off more than it could chew, it was struggling to swallow the fish, such that I felt like choking in sympathy for it. It changed the position of the fish a few times, partially swallowing and then spitting it out again. No success, and this caught the attention of the Red-knobbed Coot that was watching the spectacle with as much attention as I was giving it.

The Grebe finally decided enough was more than enough and gave up. The fish didn’t seem in the best of conditions having been half swallowed so many times that it remained fairly still where it was last spat out. Stupid fish, as the now interested Coot had swum over and started to peck and bite the small fish.

I was sure I was about to see the Coot eat the fish, so the camera remained poised for the shot, bad light and all. The Red-knobbed Coot is an omnivore, and will take a variety of small live prey including the eggs of other water birds. But it’s main food in most waters however comprises various waterweeds for which it commonly dives. Would it eat the fish? No, it just made sure it was dead. I wonder if this is normal?

But here are a few of the photos I took of the scene, pity the light was not right, this could have been a fantastic capture instead of a sequence of silhouettes.








Now I’m afraid the fate of the fish was decided, the Coot swam away and I waited to see who was next, who would come for the titbit the little Grebe had left. Who came? Nobody.

46 thoughts on “A Grebe’s Dilemma.. and a Coots Perplexity.

  1. Love the photos of the coot eating the fish; it looks like the bird posed for you! Stunning photos and posts. I learn so much from your Blog! Thank you!

  2. Hi Bulldog, playing catch up again here. Crazy schedule on the home scene, still going on, So mostly I have time to do my posts, reply to comments and then spend the rest of the day off-line, but when catching up, I hate to think I might just miss one of your photographs and narratives that fascinate me. So I have some time right now to visit. I will be commenting on each of your posts but please, there is no need for you to respond until my last comment. It is simply too time consuming for you to have to answer a whole slew of comments from one person coming in at one time. I’m here to enjoy your posts and so I shall my friend! 🙂 Love these shots, some empathy for the bird and loved your background information! 🙂

  3. I don’t know what the perceived light problem is. The images are perfect, Rob. The reflections on the water are great. No, they aren’t National Geographic records in great feather detail if that’s what you wanted, but I think they are wonderful, silky smooth, beautiful tones with enough detail to reveal themselves in a softly dramatic. Adjust your vision, Rob. 🙂 They’re good.

    • Thank you George… I would have liked the colours of the bird to be shown… yes I’m happy with them… but like all things from a camera never perfect… lol

  4. It always surprises me how such small birds can swallow or will try to swallow relatively large fish. I also wander if they actually taste anything when doing so.

    • I am astounded myself.. yet have a photo set of the giant Kingfisher swallowing a crab that I would have bet a months salary on it not being possible … somehow some get it right…

  5. Brilliant gallery, a wonderful series of photos – a pity that he couldn’t manage the dinner, but I have known that feeling too, when eaten too much. I think the fish did’t have much of a life after this adventure ..
    Better luck next time. For both of them.

  6. These are fantastic pictures, Bulldog. Your ‘bad light’ photography is 10 times better than my ‘good light’ photography! That little Grebe certainly bit off more than he could chew 😉

  7. Stunning shots bulldog and strange what difference light does to photo’s, especially when there’s water involved. But I still LOVE your shots my friend. Sometimes we can’t choose the way these beauties of nature “poses”, so we have to do the best we can. Thanks for sharing this very interesting post. I truly enjoyed! 😀 *big hugs*

    PS: You’ll see I’ve changed the tutorial. There is an easier way to embed videos now I see. 😀

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