Sunday, March 09, 2014

Unusual Birds

Red-necked Grebe
This winter is setting a record, for me at least, when it comes to unusual birds in Kentucky. I've found five life birds (including the Long-tail Duck Ta-Da!) in all this cold weather. Normally I have to travel someplace warm and far away to find new life birds in January and February, but this year they have all been close to home. Today I added the Red-necked Grebe to my list. Birders have been finding them all over Kentucky in the last week or two, and I've never even heard of them before.
Red-necked Grebe and Canada Goose
They are large, compared to other grebes, and here is one posing next to a Canada Goose for comparison. Most of them seem to be in non-breeding plumage, just gray with a little white on the cheek.
Grebe Diving
At least today I didn't have to risk my safety on icy roads. As much as I love my Prius, I found that it does not do well on icy, slippery roads. Today's challenge was simply finding the bird each time it emerge from a dive, and trying no to cuss every time it dove out of sight just as I focused on it. Sigh
Red Necked Phalarope
 Somehow the Ohio River is a magnet for lost birds. We have a nice normally unfrozen river easily viewed from any altitude. Last year we had a Red Necked Phalarope...
Western Grebe
...and a Western Grebe show up. When hurricanes blow on the east coast, we keep an eye out for unusual birds, such as a pair of young Black Baked Gulls who landed at the Falls of the Ohio, and refused to move unless a fisherman got within about 3 feet. American Pelicans don't belong here, but several have started stopping in at the Falls each spring and fall. When the river isn't in flood, the Falls provide a safe dry place to land and recuperate from long perilous flights. It's certainly easier and cheaper to just drive to Indiana to see rare birds than to go to the other end of the country!

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