Saturday, June 15, 2013

Red-Necked Grebes in Bronte Marina

This has been a "grebey"summer so far. I've seen all three of the different grebe species  which are normal for this area within a month including Pied-Billed Grebe at Valley Inn Road, then Horned Grebes in Grimsby, and now a beautiful pair of Red-Necked Grebes in Oakville. 

Red-Necked Grebe attending the nest.

I don't typically get much further than LaSalle Park in Burlington, but I had a meeting in Richmond Hill and decided to use my lunch hour to stop by the Bronte Marina where a pair have been nesting for years on tire in the boat marina.  This year, the tire seems to be sitting lower in the water, and was not even visible, vegetation covering it nicely.  Nice for pictures, but must be a bit nerve wracking for the birds with any rougher water cooling the eggs down.

For the first while of my visit, the one bird (male and female have similar markings and size is the only real way to tell the difference - since they were never side by side, I could never make out which was which) decided to preen for quite a while.  I had hoped to see some interaction but that didn't seem likely at first.

Red-Necked Grebe preening

Red-Necked Grebe showing off "ear tufts" or "horns".

Post preen fluff.

After all the preening, the bird gave a nice stretch and I felt like I was at Marineland with a trained Grebe doing a polite wave to the crowd.

You can see here how Grebes have partially webbed toes and their legs
are located way back on their bodies.

And then, it decided to try for a snooze.  They will often put one leg up on their back, and then use the other leg to manoeuvre against the wind to hold their desired location.

Snoozing Red-Necked Grebe

But, patience paid off and soon nap time switched to nest reinforcement.  The one bird kept diving down and coming up with green algae which was strategically placed on the nest with cooperation from the two of them.

Red-Necked Grebes reinforcing their nest.

Red-necked Grebe pair.

Just as I was about to head out, the nest sitting bird must have needed to stretch its legs, or more likely, wanted to make sure it was keeping all the eggs warm with a new position.  A nice view of at least seven eggs became mine before they were covered by the hopeful parent.  That was a rewarding end to sitting with your butt on the corners of rip-rap!

Seven Red-Necked Grebe eggs.

Now, if only a meeting out east would come up again... I'd love to see the young ones.
If you'd like to find and see them for yourself, the pair is here and they are nice and close to the edge of the water giving great views. With a well used public walkway, they seem to be quite comfortable with onlookers, so their doesn't seem to be any risk of scaring them off their nest.

Keep enjoying His handiwork!

1 comment:

  1. Brian, nice Grebes! Hopefully the eggs will hatch soon and those cute, fuzzy baby grebes will start swimming around with the mommy grebe. Great pics, and may the rest of your summer be 'grebey'!


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