Monday, March 10, 2014

Rednecks down at the river

Red-necked grebes, that is!  With the harsh winter and the freeze-over of the Great Lakes, quite a few of these guys have been hanging out on the river.  Today, a lucky confluence of good weather, lengthier daylight hours, and tolerant grebes helped me get my best pictures to date.

There were probably six or eight grebes stretched out along the half-mile of river I covered.  They are divers, and tend to fish relatively close to shore.  If they catch on that you are interested in them, though, they'll quickly move up or down the current and away from you.

I was able to use some trees for cover, and move closer while the grebes themselves were underwater.  They came quite close, when I wasn't moving around much.

These grebes have a pretty neat hair-do, but it took me a while to get one showing it off properly.  Well, up above, one is just up from a dive and in need of some hair gel. This one had a little more orderly 'do:

The long, heavy yellow-and-black bill helps to distinguish red-necks from other grebes in their winter plumage, although, by this time, most have transitioned at least partly to breeding plumage, evidenced by their red necks.

Spending an hour or so watching these guys ply their trade was a great way to celebrate daylight savings time and the arrival of decent temperatures, finally.

Other species seen/heard:  subadult bald eagle, thousands of ring-billed gulls, four hooded mergansers, hundreds of Canada geese, ten tundra swans, mallards, killdeer, carolina wrens, fish crows, turkey vultures, and starlings. 

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