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Sue's Bird Blog Archives

Eared Grebe in Breeding Plumage

Published July 23, 2013
Tags: General Observations, Eared Grebe, Ruddy Duck, Mallard, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Green Heron, Brown Thrasher, Willow Flycatcher, Eastern Kingbird, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, Marsh Wren, BWWTP, Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, Sinking Ponds, East Aurora

Looking ahead at the weather, I saw we have a few days of rain in the forecast again, so I decided to take a long lunch yesterday and check out Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant. I wanted to see if the Tundra Swan was still there and also find the Eared Grebe that has been eluding me. No swan today, but the Eared Grebe finally appeared amongst the Ruddy Ducks, giving me marvelous views. Fourth time is a charm??

This beautiful male has been here for quite awhile now and he's still in his breeding plumage. I was quite excited to see him as the only other Eared Grebe I've seen was last fall and he was much more "plain" looking (Five Lifers at Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant).

Peterson's field guide says the Eared Grebe is gregarious.  I don't know if that means with other birds or if that means with humans, but he didn't seem too afraid to come relatively close to where I was.  I also read that the Eared Grebe is the most abundant grebe in the world. It's also the bird that holds the record for being the longest flightless bird in the world - not just grebe, but BIRD. Apparently, this guy spends 9 to 10 months without ever flying anywhere!  That's longer than any other bird that is able to fly in the world!

On my way in to the plant, I saw a Brown Thrasher.  That was a real nice treat as I hadn't seen one in a couple of months. Not much later, I heard - then saw - a Willow Flycatcher in the same tree as 3 Cedar Waxwings. Later, I saw and watched a young Willow catching insects. Other birds seen today were: 1 Eastern Kingbird, 2 Marsh Wrens, a Swamp Sparrow, 11 Ruddy Ducks (love their blue bills!), many Great Blue Herons, 5 Green Herons, 1 Great Egret, 3 Double-crested Cormorants, a number of Mallards and their young, Canada Geese, Spotted Sandpipers, and some very odd looking ducks at Sinking Ponds on my way home.  I'm guessing they're domestic... SOMEthing... There were a couple of young Wood Ducks there too but I didn't see any adults.
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Eared Grebe
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Eared Grebe
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Eared Grebe
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Green Heron
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Ruddy Duck
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Ruddy Duck
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Brown Thrasher
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Eastern Kingbird
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What, in the world?! Mystery solved (thanks, Gale!): the odd duck on the left is a Domestic Muscovy.
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There were 3 of these guys at Sinking Ponds
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Male Wood Duck in eclipse plumage (thanks, Willie!)
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Mallard hen
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Young Wood Duck
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Black Swallowtail (thanks, Willie!)
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Halloween Pennant
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Halloween Pennant
Reply from: Gale VerHague on 7/23/2013 6:45 AM
 Beautiful shots! The goofy looking duck is some type of domestic Muscovy.
Reply from: Sue on 7/23/2013 7:18 AM
 Ah, thanks, Gale! I couldn't find them in my field guides, so I figured they had to be domestic somethings! I just looked them up online; they seem well out of their range, but I imagine domestics can be anywhere. Very odd looking creatures! Thanks for solving the mystery for me.