Grebes and Loons
We had a couple questions come into the blog. This was sent in from Mark 1/20/13:
Hi, I went kayaking in the Slough 1-20-13. Paddled up probably 1.5 miles. I saw many grebes in non-breeding plumage. It seemed to me they were horned grebes, but the blog notes that grebe sightings on 1-18 were eared grebes. Is it possible that there are both species there? Also it appeared that there were two immature or nonbreeding common loons. No blog on this possible sighting. Are these loons found in the slough? Thanks. Mark
Horned grebes and eared grebes are both seen here at the Slough. Both are “uncommon”, but you definitely could have seen either species. When the birds are lacking their breeding plumage, they can be tricky to identify. There are many subtle differences. Horned grebes (seen below) are slightly larger, light tip on the end of its bill, and a flat topped head. Eared grebes will be slightly smaller, dark tip of the bill, smaller head usually with a bump and sometimes a fluffed up rump.
Common loons are common here at the slough as are red-throated loons. The Pacific loon is less common.
Happy birding everyone.