Meeting the new generation of Western Grebes

Immature Western GrebeImmature Western Grebe – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

Two days ago we went to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge and saw that the water is still low, many of the birds are too far away to photograph and that the best place for seeing birds close up was the south side of the auto tour route.

There were some Western Grebes still in the area and some had young with them. The immature Western Grebe above was hatched this year and while it is beginning to look more like the adults there are still signs it hasn’t fully matured, the blacks aren’t nearly as black as on the adults, the eyes are nearly as red, the bill isn’t nearly as long and the plumage on the neck looks as curly as a Poodle that was just clipped. It won’t be long though before this youngster looks just like the adults heads south for the winter to return in the spring to find a territory to call its own.

I’m having a blast meeting and photographing the new generation of Western Grebes at the refuge.



  1. humming bird lover September 26, 2013 at 7:14 am


    love the color and bird in the photo! Looks almost like the pair on Teresa pond years ago! Hers had the red-orange head.
    have a great day

  2. Utahbooklover September 25, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I love the subtle blue streaks of the water, which nicely contrast the greens — a beautiful setting for this young grebe. Nice work Mia!

  3. Elephant's Child September 25, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Simply sublime. Thank you – a photo to make tensions disappear.

  4. Merrill Ann Gonzales September 25, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    What a marvelous photo. These last days have been so unnerving for me… and as I look at your photo… it just pulls me into the quiet lull of the water… the silent movement of the young bird gliding along. I love the color of the reflections in it’s wake… and the point of red in it’s eye. Just gorgeous. Wish I could move right in! Many thanks…

  5. Jane Chesebrough September 25, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I do not see the Western grebe often, but it is always a joy to see them, especially courting. Thanks for pointing out the details in this youngster.

  6. Bob Bushell September 25, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Nice Grebe.

  7. judy watson September 25, 2013 at 6:41 am

    Hi Mia!
    We were there on Sunday and saw lots of Grebes and young ones and tons of coots.
    And like you; they were too far out to photograph. Bummer.
    But like Wayne says….. you never know what you might see out there.

  8. Montanagirl September 25, 2013 at 6:24 am

    Lovely photo, Mia. We have toured the Bear River Refuge two different times. I really enjoyed the auto route through there. In fact, our last trip through was on May 24th of this year when we were returning from Utah. We have kids down in that country….Saint George as well as Layton. Maybe we can meet sometime whenever we get down there again.

  9. Sonja Ross September 25, 2013 at 4:30 am

    It’s always good to see some young birds successfully growing up.

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