Thursday, November 20, 2008

Western Grebe at Fellows Lake?

Ok, I know very well the role that anticipation plays in birding...... Once I was sure that a stick was a Belted Kingfisher at Fellows Lake on a pre-dawn CBC morning..... And, the thought of a life bird (or an Ivory-billed :) ........) literally changes what you "see" in the field. But I confess here. I'm second guessing this bird. I know the default is a Western, but this black cap seems to run very high, above the eye even, and that bill..... it sure is yellow.

I thought I had the Clark's Grebe, and from what I've read, some individuals are indistinguishable from Western. Better safe than sorry, I conclude. But why is this a distinguishable Western Grebe? I'd really like to know for some reason other than the 90% Redtail Rule in the Ozarks. And, I may just have to go back to try for a closer look. But here's 4 crummy pictures of a bird waaaaaayyyyyyyyy out there, two from Charley and 2 from me.

Any insight would be great!

Charley's photo: To me, the verdict is out. Just what is it: Clark's or Western?
My photo: The black cap seems to intersect with the bill at the top of the culmen

Charley's photo: Most convincing evidence of Western, thick black on back of neck. But still, note the pale plumage on the back.

Ok, I know that white "bleeds" in photos, but again the black cap intersects at the culmen.

And so, I make my case, tenuous as it is. But, I'd like to learn......... And, I hope the bird sticks around a while, and decides to come closer to shore when I am there.....


troutbirder said...

Enjoying all your birding pictures. Yes retirement is a great help in that field!

Greg said...

Thanks troutbirder
Good to know someone wanders by here now and then!