Grebes are intriguing birds. They seem to have a mystery about them. Maybe because we see
them as explorers of the deep, as if plunging into our subconscious. Garbed in
cryptic winter plumage, their piercing eyes spy back at us.
Grebes have been an
interesting family of birds for us. My family and I found a WESTERN GREBE in
in 1979. I remember it clearly and because of that bird I am probably still looking
for rare birds today. Interestingly, that bird would represent the only live
sighting of a Western Grebe in Georgia. And "yes", we
were able to separate it from the somewhat similar Clarke's Grebe.
RED-NECKED GREBES are very rare in Georgia.
Michael and I have only found four or five.
However, GA now gets I guess on average one report, usually unconfirmed, a year. Like a floating alien,
neck telescoping, there is just something about a Red-necked Grebe.
Also in 1979 we found
our first EARED GREBE in Georgia. This may represent the first record of Eared Grebe for Georgia. For a long time after that, they were frustratingly hard to find in Georgia.
Recently I have been
able to find them more reliably. Years ago Michael and I would find one or two
on Lake Juliette. Then we found over ten. A few years ago I periodically reported
the status of the grebes there. My high count from there is 40.
For what it’s
worth, the Annotated Checklist of Georgia Birds (2003) lists the high count for Eared Grebe in Georgia
as 11 in 1995. Fun to see whatever the number!
Eric Beohm 2005