Monthly pic February 2012

A Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis). Canon 50D, Canon EF 400mm f/5.6 L USM, 1/320, f/5.6, iso 100, handheld.
Well... it took a bit, but winter was finally upon us with temperatures reaching a record low of -22,9°C. All the snow and ice had a big impact on Dutch wildlife, with animals having a hard time foraging for food. Most water birds were confined to increasingly smaller pockets of open water. The same happened with this Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis) and 39 of it's brothers and sisters in a patch of open water, measuring only 1 by 1 meter. It took some trial and error before I managed to photograph one on it's own. The Little Grebe is usually a very shy and nervous bird and difficult to approach. The ice and snow made it easier to approach this and other species though. I enjoyed watching this smallest of European grebe species going through their business, before my frozen legs and the cracking of the ice underneath me heralded my departure.

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