My Grebe Quest began three weeks ago after seeing my first for the year in Oshawa harbour and it's been an interesting journey to observe them transitioning into their beautiful breeding plumage, making them all gussied up for their elaborate courtship dances.
Beginning with the Horned Grebe, this pair in Oshawa got me hooked despite still wearing their dapper winter attire. Sexes are alike, so I'm unable to tell them apart:
This one was feeding on fish at Colonel Sam Smith Park in Etobicoke a few days later, there was still not much change in the colour:
I returned to Oshawa harbour a day later and finally began to see some colour changes:
...the golden ear tufts (or "horns") were beginning to show....
...as was a smidge of chestnut on the neck:
A day later in Oshawa:
A week later I returned to Colonel Sam with Ann to see this:
The Horned Grebes were all at different stages of their breeding plumage, but this one by far was the most beautiful one, look at that mug as the feathers on its back are all ruffled up!
We heard the distant sounds of their display calls out on the lake, what an absolute thrill to hear and see them as they danced across the water:
My second Grebe for that day at Colonel Sam was a Western Grebe, the
nerding birding community was all in a dither about it, which was a very good thing for both Ann and I, as otherwise we wouldn't have had a prayer of finding the sucker out on the lake. It was not a Lifer for me as I'd seen them before in British Columbia, but it was for Ann, so she was very pleased to get some scope views of it. But this was an Ontario first for me, hence this garbage record shot of it way, way, way, way, way, way, way out on the lake:
A snoozing Eared Grebe was my third for the day, thanks to a fellow birder pointing it out to me off in the distance amongst hundreds of Red-necked Grebes.
My fourth Grebe in my quest was the Red-necked Grebe, first seen a few weeks ago from a nasty distance at Colonel Sam:
I wanted more.
They were too far away.
I went to Bronte Harbour a few days later to observe this pair:
I still wanted more.
...so back to Colonel Sam in the fog:
Mission accomplished for the time being, as Pied-billed Grebes still await me!