Monday, February 16, 2009

Splashdance - a Valentine's Day Story *

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


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Bob. The captures of the Grebes are really good! I really love the colors in the first photo, but both are excellent and take me right there!

Sounds like you two love birds had a wonderful Valentine's Day with all the trimmings you could ask for.

Vickie said...

What a delightful celebration. The photos you did get are spectacular. I can understand why your focus was so glued to the behavior in front of you!

Anonymous said...

WOW! That is just too cool!

Wonderful captures of the Grebes!

Wisconsin Birder said...

What a great Valentines Day experience. How wonderful that you saw it together!

Heidi said...

That is the coolest thing ever Bob! Your pics you posted turned out great and I too can feel I was there watching them. Wow!

I guess they knew it was Valentine's Day too :)

Unknown said...

Those shots are great and so is the story. Thanks for sharing.

Wendy said...

Now I feel like I want to head out and just sit and watch Grebes all day just for the chance to see this. Thank you for the post and the pictures.