#367: Red-Necked Grebe

Prospect Lake attracts a lot of interesting waterfowl in the winter, including two recent Northern Pintails, so I thought I’d take a quick spin around the lake today after lunch and see what I could see. I thought maybe I’d get a Scaup, Redhead, Canvasback, or even a Eurasian Wigeon; but I was not expecting a life bird. However, there it was. A Red-necked Grebe. I’ve managed to miss this bird on multiple trips where either it was expected or other people saw it but not me, so it was especially nice to pick it up in my backyard. It’s my first Prospect Park lifer for the year.

I think I saw it first, but MaryJo Eyster identified it. It looks a lot like the much more common Horned Grebe (though that’s still pretty uncommon in the Park.) However it’s quite a bit larger, about Mallard sized or a tad bigger. It kept swimming up and down across the unfrozen part of the lake. It dove periodically or went out of view behind Three Sisters Island, but it kept coming back and we got multiple good looks.

MaryJo called Peter Dorosh on her cell phone, and he drove over and confirmed the ID. Sadly I did not have my camera with me. This is the first report of this species in Prospect Park since 2003 and only the sixth record ever. (Others were March 2, 2003, February 28 to March 9, 1996, March 1991, April 1940, March 3, 1921, and March 16, 1918.) Possibly it’s being pushed in by the cold front advancing from the north. Other birds on the lake included:

  • Pied-billed Grebe
  • Canada Goose
  • American Black Duck
  • Mallard
  • Northern Shoveler
  • Northern Pintail (2 M)
  • Bufflehead
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Common Merganser
  • Ruddy Duck
  • American Coot
  • Ring-billed Gull
  • Herring Gull
  • Great Black-backed Gull
  • Red-necked Grebe

The usual sparrows, chickadees, titmice and other winter passerines were scattered around the park, and upped the day total to 33 species. I also found my first Red-breasted Nuthatch of the year and the winter. They’ve been quite uncommon this winter, but one stopped by the Breeze Hill feeders while I was watching them. With these two additions, my year list is up to 78 species plus one uncountable European Goldfinch.

One Response to “#367: Red-Necked Grebe”

  1. Mokka mit Schlag » Birding at SD 2007 Says:

    […] So far this year I’ve had little time to bird anywhere other than Prospect Park, which, while pretty, gets a little repetitive. (I did get a life bird there a couple of weeks ago though.) Thus I’m really looking forward to getting out and doing some California birding in the upcoming week while I’m in Santa Clara for Software Development 2007 West. Looking at my schedule I have three full days open, and maybe a little extra time here and there. […]

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