I was beginning to despair of finding any avian species in the park other than the usual suspects: mallards, robins, sparrows, starlings and Canada geese when nature reassured me that spring, with it’s greater diversity of visitors to the park, was indeed arriving. It was the Great Egret fishing by Langenberg Field that convinced me. After that it was smooth sailing. I sat and watched the egret as he stalked the water for his lunch. I saw him strike the water five times for a 40 percent success rate. They are patient, these fishing birds, moving slowly through the waters with neck craned, looking for any movement nearby that might betray the presence of a meal.
Once I was content with the few hundred photos I managed there, I walked on around the edge of the field on the bank of the waterway. I managed to find a group of Northern Flickers, who, after I stood still for a while, managed to find my proximity palatable (though not, fortunately for me, as much so as one of the larger carnivores might). I left them after ten minutes or so and strolled past the Muny, where I worried a pair of wood ducks (perhaps the same pair I’ve encountered other days) before going over to Deer lake, where a contingent of waterfowl were gathering for handouts of oats from an older woman and her grandson. It was there that I spied the grebe. I have seen them in the park before, the pied billed grebe, a waterfowl that is not a duck and is not adapted to walking on land. They are, though, excellent swimmers and can cover a great distance underwater. They do not seem to like to come close to photographers, however.