A Pied-billed Grebe at the Southeastern Technical College Lake
Photography and Article by Norma Beaird
First of all, some information on the Pied-Billed Grebe, according to Birds of Georgia :
A Pied-billed Grebe is the smallest, shyest and least colorful of the grebes. It is an extremely wary bird, but is easy to find on almost any pond or lake in Georgia. These grebes build their floating nests among sparse vegetation, so that they can see their numerous predators - including Great Blue Herons, small turtles and water snakes - approaching from far away. When frightened by an intruder, they cover their eggs and slide under water, leaving a nest that looks like nothing more than a mat of debris. A Pied-billed Grebe can slowly submerge up to its head, so that only its nostrils and eyes remain above water.
According to Cornell Lab of Ornithology, these amazing creatures are expert divers that are common across much of North America. Cornell refers to them as part bird and part submarine. These small brown birds have unusually thick bills that turn silver and black in summer. They are rarely seen in flight and are often hidden among vegetation.
It was an ordinary day and an ordinary, but dreaded trip to Wal-Mart, home of what seems like endless cash registers with only a few lines open. Since we live in a rural area, we sometimes must go to Wal-Mart to pick up the things that we can't find anywhere else. However, we are blessed because Wal-Mart is right next door to Southeastern Technical College and their beautiful lake. This means that before we turn into the Wal-Mart Shopping Center, we take a spin through the campus of STC.
And, on this ordinary day......on an ordinary shopping trip......there he was......Mr. Pied B. Grebe.
Mr. Pied-billed Grebe was ready to spread his wings......and fly?
As you can imagine, we were very excited when we discovered this adorable grebe in the middle of the STC lake. Mr. Grebe was just hanging out with 12 American Coots. These birds usually shy away from a human presence. On this particular day, I think he saw me standing at the edge of the lake holding my camera, and he floated towards me. I couldn't believe it. It was a gift from God. I began to quickly snap his picture and thank God at the same time. An ordinary day was blessed with an extraordinary bird....and a picture that, due to the grebe's shyness, was out of the ordinary.
As if the Pied-billed Grebe wasn't EXTRA-ordinary enough, God blessed me with a picture of an American Coot, another bird that likes to shy away from the camera. The American Coot is unique because it is the only bird in Georgia with a white bill, and it definitely stands out against the dark body. Many people mistakenly think that the American Coot is a species of duck, but it is not a duck. Their taxonomic order places them in the Rails, Gallinules & Coots category.
The American Coot
So, the next time you think you're having a boring and ordinary day, try to develop an attitude of expectancy. I know that it's not always easy, but it sure helps us to have a more positive outlook on life. You never, ever know what blessings God may send your way. Sometimes that plain 'ole vanilla day may turn into a banana split with whip cream and cherries on top!
God never fails to show us that we can find wonder on an ordinary day!
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.
Copyright 2016, Curtis and Norma Beaird. All rights reserved.