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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Eyes not ears

I made a quick stop at the Spud Point Marina after work and took a few photos of Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) swimming and diving near the docks.

Eared Grebes are named for the golden feathers that fan out behind their eyes in breeding plumage.  At this time of year, they're still in non-breeding plumage, so the golden "ear tufts" aren't visible yet, but their brilliant red eyes really stand out, especially in the right light.

For comparison, here's an image of a Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) that I took on 3 April 2012 (also at Spud Point).

Watch for rafts of Eared Grebes off of Bodega Head during the spring.  And for examples of these large concentrations, see posts from last March and last April (in breeding plumage).

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