At last, the much anticipated visit of a Pied-billed Grebe (not one, but two) came about. As far as I know, none visited St. John's last year. My records show it was October 23, 2010 when I last spotted one on Kent's Pond. These migrating birds are really predictable: Either they don't come at all or they come around the same date. When word spread about the arrival of the two grebes yesterday, I first went to Stick Pond because I thought I might get a closer look. When I arrived there, it was nowhere to be seen. That doesn't mean it wasn't there, because they can sink in the water or blend in with the reeds.
I then headed to Kent's Pond. Again, the bird wasn't immediately visable. I ran into Allison Mews and Ed Hayden who had just seen it and pointed me in the right direction. I headed around the pond. Very quickly, I spotted the grebe in the center of the pond where it probably was all the time. That was too far away to get a decent picture. I watched the direction it was moving and moved with it.
Then, the woods blocked my view and I couldn't see it. I was going to have to get to the edge of the water. The little trails were not well broken. All summer long, I wore a band of cobwebs because of taking the "road less travelled." This time, it was eye-poking, face-slapping, stout twigs and small branches causing me grief. I went into two small trails only to see nothing.
I just had to keep trying. To say that I am somewhat aggressive when I want to see a bird is a bit of an understatement. I made my way through the worst trail yet and found the prize. At first my view was blocked by additional branches and high water plants. One-by-one, I broke away the little branches and lined my toes up with the water's edge where I hung onto a strong branch to keep from falling in. At last, a clear view. All of my racket didn't faze the grebe.
It actually came out into the open and toward me as if to say, "Where is all that noise coming from?" All my effort faded into delight, and there I was face-to-face with a Pied-billed Grebe and getting my best view ever. There was time to study it with binoculars and to take pictures, the best possible scenario.
Several people, not the usual birding group, came to the pond to see the grebe. Some returned to their cars and offices to get their binoculars. It seems more people follow the discussion group than I thought. For anyone looking to see this bird, it was hanging around the area with the lily pads on the west end of the pond. There are a couple of small trails to the water's edge behind the pond-side, wooden structure on the west end. Stay low and good luck!
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