Earlier this week I saw several Clark’s Grebes while on the auto tour route of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge in northern Utah along with numerous Western Grebes. The photos I am presenting this morning are not from this year but do represent what I will be seeing later on in the season. Clark’s and Western Grebe were considered the same species for quite some time but they are now considered separate species.
Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge is a wonderful location to see nesting Clark’s Grebes as well as a great place to see them rearing their young. There are many locations where the water in the impoundments is close to the auto tour route which can allow close up opportunities for observation and photography.
The photo above shows the moment after the adult Clark’s Grebe passed a small fish to the juvenile. The adult was going out of breeding plumage by this time and the immature grebe’s eyes were starting to turn the cherry red that I enjoy seeing so much.
Not long after the adult passed the prey to the juvenile Clark’s Grebe it paddled away from the adult and shook it’s prey several times, dropped it into the water and picked it back up before ingesting it.
Clark’s Grebes leave the nest soon after the last chick has hatched and from that point on will back brood their chicks until the chicks are two to four weeks of age. This image shows one of the Clark’s Grebe chicks resting on one of the adults while the other parent was searching for food nearby.
Before the chicks are hatched this year the adults will be courting, displaying and dancing on the water as they rush and I hope to spend time trying to photograph all of those behaviors to share with you. Clark’s Grebes and their young are fascinating subjects to watch and photograph.