Friday, March 20, 2009

It's a Grebe Convention

The day before yesterday, my husband and I went to Colonel Sam Smith Park in the hope of seeing some more spring migrants. There were quite a few robins, red-winged blackbirds, and starlings; and we were happy to see a brown-headed cowbird.

The real action was in the water. We relocated the horned grebes from last time. There were a few more, and at one of them was in spring molt, so it was nice to see some color on these birds. We have seen them in the summer, and they are pretty spectacular, and it would be nice to see that again, of course. It's weird to see their red eyes with the red markings that lead down to their beaks. It is very hard to get a sharp picture of them, for some reason.

There were also quite a few red-necked grebes. A couple of them had those crazy pompoms on their heads. They were a lot more colorful than the horned grebes, and they seemed to be paired off here, and there, busying themselves with vocally harassing their own, as if each needed to have a wide territory.

We took a lot of pictures of both species, and headed over to a calmer bay round the opposite side. There was a small flock of white-winged scoters, and perhaps, one juvenile surf scoter. There was also a spry mink that swam by and hopped onto some ice, before gingerly making its way to another bank. At the end of the bay where it opened up on the lake where some more horned grebe, and I noticed one seemed to be edging closer. We went out to the point and on our return, the horned grebe was were the scoter were. That was great. It was the closest we had ever been to a grebe (in Canada), and we got some really great close up shots.

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