Simon Walker's picture

Little Grebe, with possible parasite

Observed: 12th January 2012 By: Simon WalkerSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in BirdsSimon Walker’s reputation in Birds
Little Grebe, Rye Meads, 2012-01-12 002
Little Grebe, close-up, Rye Meads, 2012-01-12 001
Little Grebe, Rye Meads, 2012-01-12 001

This Little Grebe has something on the right side of its face, close to its bill (see close-up). I don't know what it is. There's nothing on the other side (see third picture).

Species interactions

No interactions present.


chrisbrooks's picture

Nice images

A lovely clear and sharp image Simon. Can I ask please what lens you are using ?

David Jardine's picture


Interesting shot Simon.

I wonder if this is a parasite or something on its plumage. It seems to be sitting on top of the feathers rather than bedded into the feathers as sometimes seen in bird ticks. It looks leech or slug like and I wonder if other observers might be able to identify it.

All the best


notpop's picture


I would say a definite leech species

Simon Walker's picture

Leeches and Lens...

I think it's a leech; but whatever it is, it wasn't dislodged by preening.
LENS: Chris - it's a Canon 500mm F4 L IS USM, on a Canon 7D body. I've had the lens since the summer, and I still have much to learn in using it. I'm getting better, though, slowly. It's quite a heavy beast, and when you're carrying a tripod and a gimbal head as well as other bits and pieces, at the end of the day you know about it!


Wildlife Ranger's picture

500 mm

But a lovely beast Simon !!! and a good combo . I have never used Mirror lock up on a camera and Tripod with a lens of this kind and wonder how much difference it would make, , I assume if its on the Tripod you switch the stabilistion off and fire with cable or remote ? Just curious as learning a lens is quite an art Suppose what I am asking is which method works best with this beast on a static tripod ?


Simon Walker's picture


Hi Colin,
I don't use mirror lock-up except for macro photography. With the 500mm I usually put the rig on a gimbal mount, and use spot autofocus. It's tricky, and when the target is small, or a long way off, not guaranteed to focus on it every time. Motor drive is the way out. It means there's a lot of images to look through, often more than 500 in a day, so I usually use JPG rather than RAW.
Sometimes though I use the whole lot hand held. It CAN be done, but not for long. Usually it's when I haven't got the whole thing set up, and a matter off desperation. You need a high shutter speed though - around 1/1000 sec.
Does that answer your question? If not, feel free to say so!