Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Clark's Grebe?

I've seen both Clark's and Western Grebes here at Fernhill Wetlands for a month or two, but they have always been out in the middle of the main pond. I could only get pictures good enough for identification, but otherwise they were pretty poor.
On Sunday I had a little better luck. This Grebe was fairly near the pond's south bank. Unfortunately, I was a little east of it so the sunlight was hitting it from the back and side. I tried to get to the west side of it, but as I moved, it would dive under water only to surface even farther west. We went through this sequence about four or five times before it started moving towards the center of the pond. Note the fish in its beak in the bottom image.
Now the hard part. Is this a Western or Clark's Grebe. At first I decided it was a Western as the eye is surrounded in black; a Clark's Grebe's eye is usually surrounded in white. But we are well past the breeding season and the Clark's winter plumage will darken around the eye. It is the pronounced white streak on its lores that finally made me decide this is a Clark's Grebe. I'm not totally convinced, but that's my best guess.

1 comment:

  1. There are hybrids, but this seems a Western. The eye is surrounded by black and the bill is greenish-yellow. Clark's Grebes show more definite ornage bills and the white around the eye may be smudged in winter, but never so extensively black.