Grebe ID 101

The flock of more than 20 grebes that hung around the Open Circle viewpoint a week ago was reduced to about 7 this afternoon.  I say “about” because one or two of them were under water at first count, and every few minutes thereafter the count was different.  In any event, they were few, awake, and near enough to let me get adequate close-ups for identification.  I was able to confirm my guess in my last post on these birds that this group contained both Western and Clark’s Grebes.  I counted three Western and four Clark’s.

Item:  Western Grebe.  Note that the black/gray cap extends to cover the eye.  Also, the bill is sort of yellowish-greenish-grayish and the color is not very bright.

Western Grebe

Item: Clark’s Grebe.  The black cap does not cover the eye.  The bill is bright yellow, except for a thin dark line on top.

Clark’s Grebe

Got that? There’ll be a quiz tomorrow.

Note, by the way — not on the quiz — that both of these birds have what looks like a layer of greenish/brownish algae below their waterline.  They must spend a lot of time continuously in the water.  They do a lot of preening but I haven’t seen them try to clean their hulls.

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