Reflections and a Western Grebe

A Western Grebe head on with a wiggly reflectionA Western Grebe head on with a wiggly reflection – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

The water impoundments at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge are alive with the sounds of calling Western Grebes once again. I have missed their calls all winter long plus their flashy red eyes and dashing black and white plumage. The numbers of Western and Clark’s Grebes are still low but that will change rapidly because the days are getting longer and warmer.

Yesterday I photographed this Western Grebe on the south side of the auto tour route and I loved the head on pose which gave me a great view of both cherry red eyes, the bill with water dripping from it and a wiggly reflection which elongates the reflection of the head and shows three pairs of eyes.

Western Grebe drinking and a squiggly reflectionWestern Grebe drinking and a squiggly reflection – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/3200, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

This photo was taken one frame after my first image where the Western Grebe has raised and tilted its head to drink the water it had caught in its bill and the reflection was squiggly; or in more grown up terms, serpentine-like. The Western Grebe is beautiful enough on its own but I feel that these reflections add even more interest.

I am looking forward to photographing Clark’s and Western Grebes through the spring, summer and fall at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge as the adults court, mate and rear their young.


P.S. Yesterday I also saw my first of the year Caspian Terns, Franklin’s Gulls and Swainson’s Hawks! Yay!

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. You make me miss Utah! Great captures!

  2. Beautiful, Mia! Love the elegant simplicity of the second shot with its wonderful reflection and graceful head position…Nice, nice nice!!!

  3. Serene magic. Calming magic.

  4. Love the reflections on the water and the red eyes — beautiful. Also enjoyed hearing the four sound-recordings at the link provided above. Thanks!

  5. Don’t they have the most beautiful eyes?

  6. Mia, you’re right, those “disturbed” reflection shots really add a unique appeal to an already superb image!

  7. Beautiful reflections!

  8. These are really nice – and the water really does produce some crazy looking reflections. I like the three pairs of eyes in that first one.

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