Too many Eared Grebes to Count

/, Brine Flies, Eared Grebes, Great Salt Lake, Utah/Too many Eared Grebes to Count

During spring and fall migration there can be so many Eared Grebes (Podiceps nigricollis) on the Great Salt Lake that they are impossible to count.

Eared Grebes on the Great Salt LakeEared Grebes on the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D200, handheld, f9, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 18-200mm VR at 130mm, natural light

The diet of Eared Grebes include brine shrimp and alkali flies that are found in hyper saline environments such as Mono Lake in California and the Great Salt Lake in Utah. For most of the year Eared Grebes and Wilson’s Phalaropes are the two bird species that spend the most time in highly saline environments.

It is amazing to stop on the causeway to Antelope Island State Park and see thousands upon thousands of Eared Grebes. Yesterday day most of the grebes were north of the causeway and even with my high-powered lens I couldn’t see where the birds stopped.

Eared Grebe in breeding plumageEared Grebe in breeding plumage – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I think that Eared Grebes are gorgeous in breeding plumage with their primarily dark body and neck combined with the dark head in contrast to the wispy yellow plumes and cherry red eye. I like that crest too!

My portfolio is seriously lacking in Eared Grebe images, something I should remedy.



  1. Stu August 5, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Great photo Mia.. I wonder what it must be like to be an Eared Grebe and find oneself surrounded by like-minded is the word that comes to mind.

  2. Larry Jordan May 11, 2012 at 9:43 am

    They are gorgeous birds Mia and you have captured them very well. I feel like I’ve been given a treat when I get to see one here in Northern California. Love the color contrast.

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

      Larry, I agree, they are gorgeous birds. I feel so lucky to get to see so many of them in one place. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Julie Brown May 10, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    What a gorgeous little bird!

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Julie, they are gorgeous birds. Thank you!

  4. Linda Rockwell May 10, 2012 at 4:35 am

    That’s a lot of grebes! 🙂 Stunning photos as usual Mia. Love that red eye!!

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:27 pm

      Thank you Linda, it is a wonderful sight!

  5. judy watson May 9, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    It’s amazing how many are out there!

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm

      Judy, it really is amazing to see how many Eared Grebes there are on the Great Salt Lake at certain seasons. Takes my breath away at times.

  6. Nicole MacP May 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Wow!! Just… Wow!

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Thank you Nicole, good to “see” you again!

  7. Beverly Everson May 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Wow!!! What a sight! Beautiful birds and excellent work as always, Mia!

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm

      Thanks for your very kind comment Beverly!

  8. Julie G. May 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful sight that is! They are especially stunning in their breeding plumage. Super photographs!

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      Thank you Julie, Eared Grebes are very stunning in breeding plumage!

  9. Carol Mattingly May 9, 2012 at 8:26 am

    I love that red too. Carol

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks Carol, that red reminds me of Marashino Cherries and I love them!

  10. Laurence Butler May 9, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Good grief! That’s too cool. Maybe with birds it isn’t possible to have too much of a good thing.

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      Laurence, I don’t think it is possible to have too many birds unless they are pooping on your car! Thanks for your comment.

  11. Dave Sparks May 9, 2012 at 7:42 am

    I’m green with envy. We don’t see these in their beautiful breeding plumage here in Pensacola. I chased a single bird in breeding plumage around a pond in Arizona for two days but never got close enough for a good shot. I enjoyed seeing your photos AND reading the associated text.

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:10 pm

      Dave, you will have to visit some time during the spring or fall and see the millions of Eared Grebes, it is almost unbelievable how many there can be. Thanks so much for commenting!

  12. zephyr May 9, 2012 at 6:49 am

    nature never ceases to amaze.
    And, i agree: very handsome birds

    • Mia McPherson May 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Zephyr, I still can’t get a grasp on how many Eared Grebes there can be on the Great Salt Lake, it is breathtaking. Thanks for commenting!

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