Clark’s Grebe Preening


This Clark’s Grebe on the eastern shore of the park, in the North Basin, was busy preening.  That was lucky for me as photographer, because it kept the bird on the surface, instead of diving just as I’d got it into focus, the way Grebes and other diving birds normally have fun torturing photographers.  If you consult the big bird websites, Cornell and Audubon, you’ll find very little information about these birds.  You learn that they were once considered the same species as Western Grebes, but now it’s thought that they’re separate species.  The minor cosmetic differences — dark feathers on the head above the eye (Clark’s) or below the eye (Western) are enough to keep the two from interbreeding, at least very often.  Apart from that, Clark’s and Western behave very similarly.  Locally, Clark’s may be a bit more solitary than Western, but that may just be anecdotal observation. 

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