Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Horned Grebe

I spent some time yesterday afternoon scoping Lake Mendota for loons, grebes, and other waterfowl. There was a large raft of American Coots just off the pier near Captain Bill's Restaurant. Mixed in were Pied-billed Grebes and Horned Grebes, plus Buffleheads, Mallards, and a couple of Northern Shovelers. There were a few Common Loons, but they were further out on the water.

Horned Grebe

After posting one of the Horned Grebe images on the Wisconsin Birding Facebook group, Laura Erickson reminded us that this is the plumage when some birders mistake them for Red-necked Grebes. Only hours later, a Madison birder retracted a sighting of a Red-necked Grebe on Lake Waubesa saying after review it was probably a first-winter Horned Grebe. Actually, I know of a few instances of these birds being mistaken for Western Grebes. No matter the name, they are still beautiful birds to admire through a spotting scope!

A pair of Horned Grebes

Pied-billed Grebe

Pied-billed Grebe

American Coots!

Common Loon

And that's all for October!

All images © 2012 Mike McDowell

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