Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bronte Marina Grebes

I went into work really early one morning a couple weeks ago, with plan to go first to Bronte Marina hoping to use the first light for some pictures of the Red-necked Grebe chicks. I had seen on someone else's blog that that two chicks had hatched and wanted to see if the morning light would be better than the mid-day sun I had had last visit.

Red-necked Grebe in the early morning sunlight.

For the adult birds swimming around, the light turned out alright for a few angles, but the rising sun is still on the water side of the birds and there is no public access to the floating Marina docks where the lighting would be amazing.

I didn't get many pictures that I was really happy with, though the following one was hilarious with one of the two chicks resting under an adult's wing with its legs just dangling out.

Red-necked Grebe pair - one chick hanging out, tucked under mom's wing.

The water's edge was just teaming with little minnows, and the Grebes must continually be catching them to feed to their young.

Red-necked Grebe with minnow.

Red-necked Grebe preening.

Under the Marina eaves, a small colony of Cliff Swallows (life bird #129) make their nests and raise their young.  What a lot of mouth-fulls of mud it must take to slowly create these sturdy shapes that become little caves of mud to protect little clutches of eggs and young.

But my first glimpse was actually of these beaks and eyes, not of swallows but of sparrows.  Soon an adult arrived with food and the hungry mouths opened with eager anticipation.  I can't exactly figure out what type of sparrow this is.  I believe it is a female, but can't figure out which kind.  Any suggestion? 

UPDATE: House Sparrow - thanks Caleb S.

House Sparrow young

female House Sparrow feeding young.

The Cliff Swallows were noisily flying back and forth. I didn't see any young ones, and didn't see any birds arriving with food, but they arrived so quickly and darted in their small nest holes so quickly, it was hard to see.

Cliff Swallow

Cliff Swallow adding to nest - you can see the new
part it just applied and some mud still in its beak.

Cliff Swallow nests

Cliff Swallow

Till next time...
Keep enjoying His handiwork!


  1. Brian,
    Great shots of the Grebes! I have always been so envious of Hamilton/Toronto area birders... and the year-round Red necked Grebes in that area are one example of the avian bounty in your region! I liked the photography based reflection on morning vs afternoon light... Usually morning light is more diffused (better) but both sets were great.
    Good birding!

    1. Thanks Dwayne! Funny how we are so often jealous of what others have, and take for granted what they are jealous of that we enjoy. A lesson to be learned for life in general I guess!


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