Readers’ wildlife photos

I again implore readers to send me their good wildlife photos, as the tank is dropping. (I still have a reserve). Today we’re featuring some of our favorite birds–GREBES! The photographer is John Riegsecker, and his notes and IDs for these lovely photos are indented:

Keeping with your recent posts about grebes, here are some more.  The Horned Grebe and Pied-billed Grebe photos were taken in Western Washington, the Clark’s and Western Grebe photos were taken at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in Utah, a place I urge everyone to visit if they have the chance.

Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus) in non-breeding plumage:

Horned Grebe in breeding plumage [JAC: This is a striking difference!]

 Juvenile Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) swallowing a fish:

Pied-billed Grebe have the ability to squeeze the air out of theirfeathers and slowly sink out of sight, which is what this one is doing.

Clark’s Grebe (Aechmophorus clarkii). The sensor on my camera is not dirty: those specks are flies. In the spring there are huge clouds of midges that make it almost impossible to take a breath without inhaling some. [JAC: note the chicks riding on its back!]

A Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis)feeding a Clark’s Grebe chick.  This Western Grebe (I think it is a male) was hanging around a family of Clark’s Grebe. The male Clark’s would chase it off, but at one point as it came towards the family, this Clark’s Grebe chick swam out to take the fish.  I also have photos of the Western Grebe offering a feather to the chicks.



  1. Randy schenck
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Some very fine Photos. The Grebes in the Midwest just don’t present such great photos.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I’m liking these grebes that have been coming through

  3. Posted August 13, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Lovely photos and stories. Much appreciated.

  4. rickflick
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Very tight shots full of evidence of interesting behavior. My favorite kind of shots. Takes a lot of patience.

    What camera equipment did you use? Were you in a kayak or blind?

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      My favorite kinds of photos too. Various cameras and lenses, but currently I am using a Nikon D500 & 200-500mm lens. You are correct, patience is the key. I will often wait for an hour for something to happen. If you are quiet, the birds will often forget you are there. Also, the Horned Grebe shots were taken in a Marina, so they were accustomed to people. The Grebe shots at Bear River were made from my car. The birds become accustomed to cars, and as long as you stay in the car they are not spooked.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:04 pm | Permalink


    • ploubere
      Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes, it takes lots of patience to get shots of this quality. Much admiration, John.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Grebes’ red eyes freak me out.

  6. Heather Hastie
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful pics! Thanks for sharing.

  7. tjeales
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    What a great series and nice to see behaviour shots. Thanks

  8. Mark R.
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    What a fantastic collection of one of my favorite species of water fowl.

  9. Mary L
    Posted August 13, 2017 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    The little grebe is also known as a dabchick. A delightful word because it has “abc” in sequence.

    • Posted August 13, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

      They are also called hell-divers, which I always thought was more applicable to the Horned Grebes with their red eyes.

  10. Cruzrad
    Posted August 14, 2017 at 12:26 am | Permalink

    Lovely photos. Thanks!

  11. Posted August 14, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Take in more of John’s wonderful photographs at

  12. Posted August 19, 2017 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    “This Western Grebe (I think it is a male) was hanging around a family of Clark’s Grebe.”
    interesting slightly bemused and wondering why… nice neighbour?
    Thanks for the post.

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