Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jumping to the real deal

I expected to slowly build up to today's post, figuring that I'd have time to show some various Horned Grebes in confusing moult states before showing an Eared. We-ell, I went out South Pier this afternoon when the sun came out to see if there'd be horned's in close sheltering from the wind. There were. I photo'd some for a bit, then scanned a bit farther out, and immediately picked out a different silhouette, an Eared Grebe.
It was way backlit and the above photo is cropped in a fair bit. It was headed in slowly and then a dog walker decided to stop and talk and the birds started swimming back out, away from the Labrador. Oh well.

The backlit semi-overcast created an exposure challenge, but I managed some workable images. This bird is just starting the moult with a little color coming in behind the eye and a couple black facial feathers. About 40% of the birds looked like this.

About 30% of the birds were in the confusing transition with wisps of ochre behind the eye and some patchy black feathers coming into the face.

A few birds had passed the confusing stage but clearly still have a ways to go...

... to get to this bird whose head is pretty close to being in full breeding condition.


Allen Chartier said...


Some of these, as the rufous comes in on the neck, can be (and have been) confused by birders with Red-necked Grebe. Congrats on the early Eared Grebe!

Allen Chartier

Anonymous said...