My Bird Blog: A blog about my birding discoveries, bird feeders, birds on my life lists, and all things bird related

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American Avocets and Horned Grebes!

Published April 13, 2013
Tags: Life List Happenings, American Avocet, Horned Grebe, Ruddy Duck, Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant

Today's lunch meeting to go over a data collection program for Purple Martins (more on that another day) was quickly rearranged when a text message came in saying 2 American Avocets in breeding plumage were found at the Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant. Thankfully, my lunch partners, both being birders, were excited to get out there to see these beautiful birds in their seldom seen breeding plumage too.  Breeding plumage?  Heck, I just wanted to see one period!

So, off we raced to Batavia - and we were not disappointed.  The avocets were very accommodating, sitting out on one of the drives between 2 of the treatment ponds. They preened, they stood up, and they slept - all while we birders, loaded down with our optics, gathered in the icy wind a respectful distance away to enjoy some beautiful views with our binoculars, scopes, and cameras.

A glance to the right revealed several Horned Grebes, another life lister for me, cruising around in the pond right in front of me! Doug had pointed them out earlier and I was hoping to be able to get some better views once the American Avocets were found. Like a kid in a candy store, I had fun switching my camera and binoculars from the grebes to the avocets every few minutes!

I never got to see the avocets feeding. Apparently, they sweep their bills from side-to-side near the water's surface gathering crustaceans, insects or floating seeds. I would've liked to have seen that. However, according to Audubon's range map, these guys are quite out of their usual territory, so just the opportunity to see them here in WNY was quite a rare treat!

Celeste and Betsy showed me a Ruddy Duck amongst the grebes, but I never got to see his blue bill since he had his head tucked-in in defense against the bitter cold winds.

Doug, Celeste, and I eventually left, all chilled to the bone - but the thought of the 2 new life list additions did lots to warm me up...
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American Avocets in breeding plumage
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American Avocets
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Horned Grebe - I love these guys!
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Horned Grebe
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Horned Grebe
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Horned Grebe