Western Grebes And Their Young At Bear River National Wildlife Refuge

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A juvenile Western Grebe and golden reflectionsA juvenile Western Grebe and golden reflections – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

There were plenty of Western Grebes to be seen and photographed yesterday morning at Bear River National Wildlife Refuge and I took tons of images of them. Nine hundred and fifty images to be exact. The young bird above was close to its parents but I was able to get just it in a few frames. The light tip on its bill will fade as the bill grows.

An adult Western Grebe with two of its youngAn adult Western Grebe with two of its young – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2000, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Juvenile Western Grebes are back-brooded by the adults until about 8 weeks or age or slightly longer. This frame shows one chick on the back of the adult and one swimming up to try to join its sibling.

A young Western Grebe riding on an adultA young Western Grebe riding on an adult – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1600, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

The young Western Grebes have path on their crowns that can change from a yellowish color to reddish with red meaning they are excited about food or from being separated from its parents.

Western Grebe chicks about to get dumped into the waterWestern Grebe chicks about to get dumped into the water – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1600, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Adult Western Grebes will wing flap while the chicks are riding on it to take a break from back-brooding. The adult will raise its body up…

Adult Western Grebe wing flap with chicks still on its backAdult Western Grebe wing flap with chicks still on its back – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2000, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Then flap its wings and the young will slide down the parent’s back into the water. It is a little hard to see but in this frame one chicks eyes and bill is visible where the wing of the adult joins its body.

Western Grebe chicks after being dumped into the waterWestern Grebe chicks after being dumped into the water – Nikon D810, f8, 1/1600, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Water seems to stimulate the young to defecate and then they try to climb right back onto the adults back or the back of the other adult. I had hoped to see the adults feed these chicks yesterday to capture that behavior but they didn’t feed them at all while I photographed this family of grebes.

I had a great time with these grebes yesterday morning. I also photographed more Virginia Rails, herons, gulls, egrets, wrens and one Long-tailed Weasel.

Life is good.

Mia

9 Comments

  1. Deborah August 25, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    Fantastic set Mia.
    Really beautiful.

  2. Elephant's Child August 24, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Wonderful.
    And the second shot says loudly ‘wait for meeee.’
    Thanks Mia.

  3. Kei August 24, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    oooh! great shots and I’d love to see your shots of the long-tailed weasel!

  4. Susan Stone August 24, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Great post! Love this series of photos.

  5. Cindy Bogatko August 24, 2015 at 6:55 am

    Exquisite, as always, Mia. The juvenile Grebe floating on golden pond. Thank you.

  6. Liz Cormack August 24, 2015 at 6:41 am

    These are wonderful….what a way to brighten an overcast morning!

  7. Sarah Mayhew August 24, 2015 at 6:34 am

    Adorable!

  8. Bev August 24, 2015 at 6:16 am

    These are wonderful!!!!

  9. Bob Mcpherson August 24, 2015 at 5:54 am

    Fantatstic shots and series, Mia.

Comments are closed.