Monday, December 12, 2011

Shoot Me Monday

This adult and immature Horned Grebe were found at a pond between a police station and the Randolph Golf Course in Tucson, AZ.  They are considered "casual" in Southeast Arizona in December (Tucson Audubon 2011).  Isn't it a little late in the season for an immature bird?

This was my 28th lifer this year and my 400th species in the ABA area.  This includes 349 species in Arizona and 51 in California.  Geez, I need to get out of the state more!  Texas, you're next.

I read that Horned Grebes regularly eat their own feathers, creating a plug of feathers in their stomach.  Ew!  This may act as a filter and hold fish bones until they can be digested.  The parents apparently feed feathers to their young to get the plug started.  However, I did not see any interaction whatsoever between these two birds. 

I was pleasantly surprised how nice the photos came out considering I was shooting down through a chain-link fence.  Putting slight pressure on the lens hood against the fence actually gave me good stability.

adult Horned Grebe

immature Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe Range Map 


  1. Congrats on the lifer- awesome photos!

    The map confuses me a bit... I see Horned Grebes rather frequently, though I suppose maybe not in the summer. Even still it seems there should be way more blue on the Oregon/Washington coast and a bit inland... Ah well, I certainly won't argue with Cornell!!

  2. Hurray for Shoot Me Mondays!!!
    I think it is really interesting about the feather eating! This is why I am becoming interested in birds...they are do different and weird things that make each of them awesome in their own special way!
    Congrats on reaching 400!!

  3. Thanks Dan and Geniece!

    Jen- You're right about the map. Question everything says I! I prefer the NatGeo 6 maps. But I would have to take a photo of my book and the maps come out small without a legend. That's a pain. Good observation!

  4. Nice sighting! The photos really did come out great.

  5. The top photo is unequivocally not the Eared Grebe because of the marked contrast between the blackish part of the head and the white. In the other photo, the white seems to extend further up the nape, so this too would make it the Horned Grebe. The beaks are different as well.

    It is interesting that you refer to the "ABA area." The southern limits of the Nearctic faunal region certainly includes Mexico, but it is not simple to characterize which parts of the country distinguish the Nearctic from the Neotropical. In the link I provided, this boundary would be the areas not in red ("tropical"), but it may be debatable whether the areas in orange in c. Mexico should be excluded. The island of Guadalupe, near B. California, in which a number of extinct sp. occurred, would thus be Nearctic, and interestinly, part of Florida is Neotropical. The limits of the Pribilof and Aleutian Islands in Alaska may also, in fact, possibly be Siberian/Eastern Palaearctic.