Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Pied-billed Grebe Couple at Ding Darling...

...when Matty and I saw these two Pied-billed Grebes swimming side by side, we thought it was a mama and a baby, but then we did a second take. It was only March 22, which seemed a little early for a baby to have matured to this size. When we looked through the binocs we were really stumped. The "baby" had the breeding plumage of an adult. I know males can be a little bigger than females, but this strange couple must have been made up of the biggest of big males and the smallest of small females...

...when we watched this couple from the bank, the size difference seemed much larger than what was captured in the photo, but even here, you can see how much bigger the male was. The female really did look like a juvenile. I don't get to see breeding pairs very often. I usually only see single birds when they are migrating through and floating solo, so maybe this is a normal size difference.

...we saw this Pied-billed Grebe couple at the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Preserve earlier this year in March.

...pencil sketch of the mismatched Pied-billed Grebe couple (the size difference is slightly exaggerated in the sketch, but in real life, the male looked much larger as appears in this sketch--compared to how he appears in the photos).

Painting 179. Pied-billed Grebe Bright
(oil pastel)

Painting 178. Pied-billed Grebe Blue
(watercolor)
After I painted the painting, I took a spray bottle and sprayed the whole thing, letting the colors mix and drip down the page. It was painted quickly and sprayed before the paint had totally dried.

Painting 177. Pied-billed Grebe Light
(watercolor)

13 comments:

TexWisGirl said...

that really is a big size difference! we've had pied-bills here the last 2 winters. the first winter we had 2 and they were identical. the 2nd winter, only one. i hope we can manage to have enough water in the pond this winter to attract one of them to return!

Elaine said...

You're doing well on your 100 painting challenge with just a few more to go. I'm catching up after being away from an Internet connection for a few days. I love the baby Downies and the Chestnut-sided Warblers!

Anna said...

Kelly these are beautiful watercolors. You lucky to have such talent. But I feel that we have some other things in common, photography and sons by our sides :). Hope all is well with you. Anna :)

Penny said...

You do such lovely paintings, sigh, I always think I can but I cant!

Dan Huber said...

wonderful pair of birds, fantastic artwork Kelly.

dan

Carole M. said...

how beautiful this duck pair; and your drawings too

Kelly said...

...thank you, everyone! These were fun paintings...nothing like a spray bottle of water with a watercolor! :-)

forgetmenot said...

Kelly, Great shots of the ducks (perfect reflections in the water too). Your paintings are lovely--I love the blue "dripping" down the page--clever idea to use the spray bottle. Have a lovely weekend. Mickie :)

Steve Borichevsky said...

I can't say I've ever seen an adult this small.

Banjo52 said...

And yet I'm pretty sure I've read that female hawks are a little larger than the males (though not as different as your two grebes, I think).

Montanagirl said...

Beautiful! No end to your talent! Love the paintings.

Elva Paulson said...

I also would have done a double take at the size difference.

I salute you for your varied artistic interpretations of the grebes.

cindyzlogic said...

Wonderful photography and talent-filled paintings, Kelly!! I always enjoy your posts :-))