Two Grebes

I saw these two birds in the North Basin yesterday afternoon but held off posting because I couldn’t identify one of them, the small one.  Thanks to Audubon’s Emilie Strauss, I can now say the little one is an Eared Grebe.  It doesn’t look at all like the showcase Eared Grebes that the Audubon or Cornell bird websites feature — a breeding male with auburn hair upswept in a punk rock look — and that’s why I missed it.  This one is a nonbreeding male in winter plumage. It was a challenge to photograph because it surfaced for just a few seconds before diving again, and had that uncanny bird knack of vanishing just as I’d almost got it in focus. But eventually I snapped it.  The bird websites say that the Eared Grebe is the most abundant grebe in the world. Here in the North Basin, though, it played a solo role, outstanding for its smallness. Grebes seen more frequently here, like the Clark’s Grebe shown below, outweigh it easily two or three to one.  

Eared Grebe
Eared Grebe
Clark’s Grebe

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