Monday, September 30, 2019

Horned Grebe

On 24 September 2019, inspired by reports of rare grebes, Erika and I checked out Olympia’s Capitol Lake. Upon our arrival, a very pale, long-necked grebe greeted us. We both identified it as a Western Grebe, but we become increasingly uncomfortable with our conclusion. The bird seemed to be too dusky to be that species. The bill seemed too small to be either a Western or a Red-necked grebe. Red-necked Grebes are much darker than this bird. Also, Red-necked Grebes do not seem to have red eyes, which the mystery grebe definitely sported.That pretty much leaves Horned Grebe.
I wrote our local eBird reviewer for his opinion. He replied, “Your suspicions are correct. It is a Horned Grebe for the reasons you mentioned. I'm constantly reminded of the impact that my first impressions have on my identification skills. It can be so hard for me to shake a first impression…I have been bedeviled by the occasional Horned Grebe in stretch mode.”

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