Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A few more grebe notes

Both the Western and the Red-necked Grebe were fairly cooperative today from the pier at Tiscornia (a Purple Sandpiper flew back and forth for a few minutes but didn't land).

A look at the lores (and a breast wound)...

The bird spent a decent amount of time preening, focusing especially on the spot on the upper breast/lower neck where a little exposed skin was present. This provided a chance to record the dark on the upper and lower mandibles

Here's the probable source of the neck wound (though there's sometimes a few loons around too)...
Tim saw the two birds interacting earlier during the week. Apparently the Red-necked was fairly aggressive towards a couple mallards that swam by too. I timed the Red-necked as it dove a few times. I recorded dives of about 30, 30, 32, 40, and 50 seconds. There was also one time when it dove and the coast guard boat roared out from between the piers and I never saw it surface. Once it came up with an ugly-looking bull-headed invasive Goby fish; if the fish was big enough it would take the bird several seconds to swallow it and we could watch the bulge slowly going down the neck. After these episodes it would swim farther out and rest a while before returning to fish. Both Western dives that I timed were about 30 seconds, though Tim's impression was that it usually stayed down longer; an N of two is clearly insufficient in any case.
Stay tuned to Tim's pics (linked on the side of the blog) for flyby Purple Sand pics down the line.

1 comment:

Jerry Jourdan said...

Nice pics of the Western Grebe, Matt!