[TN-Bird] Western Grebes at Britton Ford

12/23/05
Britton Ford Unit, TNWR
Henry Co.

After doing some shopping in Paris, I decided to make a quick run up to KY 
Lake. There were thousands of birds in the bay out from the observation 
platform, including two Western-type Grebes in the distance. These birds 
were at least 3/4 of a mile away, but everything I could make out on the 
birds points to the more expected Western rather than Clark's. Obviously the 
facial pattern couldn't be seen, but the bills flashed a dull yellow, never 
bright, and the dark of the hindneck was broad when the birds were facing 
away from me.

I watched these birds for about an hour and a half, and a good bit of the 
time they were sleeping. Even at this distance though, they are fairly easy 
to pick out when they are sleeping. Sibley, of course, illustrates the 
sleeping Aechmophorus Grebe very well. These birds stayed out from the bay, 
where most of the divers are rafted up. They stayed with the rafts of 
divers, which are largely Canvasbacks. If you don't initially see the 
long-neck profile of a Western, check for sleepers. There are so many birds 
to go through, it could take a little patience.

I was pressed for time today, and didn't run across much else of note. Loon 
numbers seemed way down, but I never got down to Trailer Rd, so they may 
have been stacked up down there. Gulls are stacked up everywhere, no telling 
what is in that mix.

Jeff needs Western for his year list, so hopefully they'll still be there 
for him tomorrow, hopefully for a better look than I had. I tried to get 
photos, but these birds were beyond my reach. Jeff's setup allows him more 
reach, hopefully he'll get a shot or two.

Good Birding!!

Mike Todd
McKenzie, TN
birder1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
www.pbase.com/mctodd



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