Ah, c'est l'amour! Love is in the air!
It was one Valentine's Day date that my wife and I would cherish. Bonelli Regional Park in San Dimas may not be a romantic place for many people, but the local Western and Clark Grebe population thought otherwise. And strangely so did we. Guilt by association, I suppose.
In truth, we purposely came to Bonelli to watch the "dance" of the grebes. I was quite intrigued when fellow bird photographer Monte Stinett whom I met here last week told me about this spectacle of nature. I also remember my friend, Romy Ocon , from the Philippines, asking me several years ago whether I've seen this interesting grebe habit. Honestly, I thought that such courtship displays never happened in winter. Or in California for that matter.
Cynthia and I weren't really prepared for what we were about to witness. It was still quite early in the morning and the grebes were still sleeping, heads tucked beneath their wings. Then we noticed a pair awaken and started bobbing their heads. Suddenly they were up and "running" over the lake surface, heads curved, wings flapping. It all happened so fast that I barely had time to press the shutter on my camera. Cynthia was so enthralled that she completely forgot to turn on the camcorder.
For the next four hours we were treated to four more dances, thrice by the Clarks and once by the Westerns. Each time we were so completely taken by this wonderful celebration of courtship - so much so that we were not able to take any video at all and only some passable photographs.
That evening, inspired by the beauty of nature, of the grace and passion of grebes, we had the most wonderful Valentine dinner ever. Picture lobster tails and filet mignon, capped by a decadent cheese cake. No, it wasn't at some fancy restaurant where such fare would create a huge dent to our budget (After all, I am unemployed and Cynthia works as a mere clerk). Rather it was at the privacy of our own home. Cynthia being a great cook that she is, prepared everything. I was more than happy to do the dishes afterward.
Ah, c'est l'amour!
* Flashdance, 1983