Saturday, March 29, 2014

Red-necked Birding...

Winter and Spring continue to battle it out.  This winter just doesn't seem to want to end anytime soon.  As I write this post, it is raining and 38°.  It is supposed to end as snow, and then be close to 70° Monday. But despite this crazy weather, it is officially Spring and the birds definitely know it!

This colder than average winter has been one to remember birding wise here in SW Ohio.  After the invasion of northern ducks, came an invasion of Red-necked Grebes.  My last post has the closest shot and view of one that I have ever had...  Until this invasion.

There has been as many as 20 or so Red-necked Grebes reported at one time on East Fork Lake.  This is an unprecedented number for the whole SW Ohio area, let alone just one location.  And the odd thing is, they are staying around and many are in full breeding plumage.  Some males are even displaying.  Again, I don't know what this means in the big picture, but I choose to just enjoy them.

I have never seen one in breeding plumage before, so when I spotted a few close to the shore, I watched them for a while and noticed that many were very close to breeding plumage.

Here is a sight that you just don't see here in SW Ohio.

Red-necked Grebes

3 Red-necked Grebes in one view.  And there were many more.  

Red-necked Grebes

Haven't never seen them up close, and only a handful of times before this day, I chose to just watch them.  They were feeding on crayfish and vocalizing with a clucking sound.  

Red-necked Grebe


Red-necked Grebe


Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe

Looks like a dinosaur!

Red-necked Grebe

Here, I almost thought that one was preening the other, but that is not the case.  The one in the back was playing with a feather in the water.

Red-necked Grebes

I often wondered if I would be able to tell apart a Horned Grebe and a Red-necked Grebe at a distance, having only seen Red-neckeds a few distant times.  After this day, I don't think that will be a problem!

A Horned Grebe came by for nice comparison views.  

Horned and Red-necked Grebe


Red-necked and Horned Grebe comparison

As you can see, there is a considerable difference in shape and size.  The Horned Grebe was not yet in breeding plumage.  The Horneds were feeding on fish.  The Red-neckeds seemed uninterested.  They stuck to crayfish, even moving rocks underwater near shore.  

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

There are other birds around besides the grebes, believe it or not.  The ducks continue to show in good numbers.  This time of year is the best time to get good looks at breeding plumage ducks.  They usually only have one thing on their minds.  Here are some species that I have been seeing pretty close (in breeding plumage).


Northern Shoveler
Northern Shoveler Male


Green-winged Teal
Green-winged Teal Male


Blue-winged Teal pair
Pair of Blue-winged Teal


Ruddy Duck
Male Ruddy Duck 

Yeah, I love breeding plumage ducks.  But Spring is here and other birds are getting into Spring as well.  I was very surprised to see this male American Kestrel watching me near a nesting box.  I have never seen anything but starlings in it, but I didn't see a female, so it is doubtful.  


American Kestrel

He was giving me the eye.

American Kestrel

And then, out of nowhere, he started screaming at me!

Screaming American Kestrel

Hope for Spring and keep watching birds.  The warblers will be here soon!

1 comment:

  1. Here in Indiana, there also have been quite a few Red-necked Grebes (and Long-tailed Ducks) appearing around the state. At least something good came out of this polar vortex!

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