Hell-Divers and Water-Witches

On a mid-day walk today I stopped to speak with a woman who was poised with her birding glasses on the bridge where I often stop to watch the birds eating the flower seeds nearby and the turtles. We exclaimed on the hundreds of goldfinches stopping by to eat on their journey, and she said she’d seen a pine sisken. I’ll need to look him up when I get home today. She pointed out a pied-billed grebe who I’ve been noticing all year but wasn’t sure who he was. He dives underwater and then appears again many yards away. A beautiful day with strong breezes from the west and north. The second game of the World Series tonight, they should have good weather for it.

Description of pied-billed grebe (aka Hell-diver, Devil-diver, Water-witch) from my favorite bird book of all time (Birds of America, 1917, edited by T. Gilbert Pearson and others):

“It is a more accomplished swimmer than any Duck of which I have knowledge, for it possesses the wonderful faculty of lowering its body in the water to any desired stage of submersion, and this it can do either while swimming or while remaining stationary, as may suit its fancy. At times only the bill and eyes appear above the surface, and in this attitude it can remain apparently without distress until the bewildered hunter or the disappointed Hawk has gone his way.”

A good Halloween persona, perhaps.


This entry was posted in birds, Fall, Forest Park, Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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