Clark’s and Western Grebes Return to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

/, Birds, Box Elder County, Clark's Grebes, Utah, Western Grebes/Clark’s and Western Grebes Return to Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge

Adult Clark's Grebe with a fishAdult Clark’s Grebe with a fish – Nikon D810, f8, 1/2500, ISO 500, -1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

Yesterday in my post about the pair of Sandhill Cranes and the flooded marshes at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge I mentioned that I had seen some first of the year grebes and swallows that excited me. I’m happy that the Clark’s and Western Grebes have returned for their breeding season at the refuge and I look forward to photographing them while they are here. I’m excited about the swallows too of course.

I did take a few photos of the grebes yesterday but they were from a distance and the lighting conditions were not the best so I thought I’d share a few older images of both grebe species that I have taken in the past at the refuge.

The Clark’s Grebe above was taken in 2015 and I took a few hundred images of it as it swam around with a fish in its bill for several minutes.  I never did see the grebe consume the fish because it swam west and I lost sight of it.

Western Grebe in a goofy poseWestern Grebe in a goofy pose – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 500, -1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

This Western Grebe image was also taken in 2015 about a week later than the Clark’s Grebe above. The Western Grebe was busy preening when I first started photographing it and one loose feather floated away while the grebe struck this pose, I thought the pose looked rather goofy myself and that is why I kept this photo. I like catching birds in goofy poses or when their expressions look funny.

Wet-headed Western Grebe PortraitWet-headed Western Grebe Portrait – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

I also like catching the birds I photograph looking slightly less than perfect and while some photographers might delete those files I like to keep and share them like this wet-headed Western Grebe photographed in 2016 which had been under the water and when it came back up the feathers on its head looked spiky which in turn made me laugh. None of us are perfect and I don’t expect the birds I photograph to be perfect either.

It is wonderful to have these grebes back at the refuge.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child March 17, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Goofy is fine. Is better than fine.
    Thank you for an early morning smile.

  2. Utahbooklover March 17, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Great portrait image. It’s good to have a sense of humor about sometimes looking goofy, humans included.

  3. Patty Chadwick March 17, 2017 at 9:26 am

    I wonder what kind of gel that grebe uses…might want to try it myself…nothing else works very well on this stuff! It looks like the bird in the first shot may be eating a loach….HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!!!

  4. Liz Cormack March 17, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I keep all my “goofy poses” as well. I even have a separate file for goofy poses… go-to for a smile. Western Grebes are so beautiful.

  5. Kathie Brown March 17, 2017 at 8:38 am

    Mia, I so love that place and these birds! It has been too many years since I have been there. Thanks for the great pictures, as always.

  6. Roger Burnard March 17, 2017 at 7:07 am

    Great images as always Mia… I’ve never been able to photograph Western
    Grebe’s up close, so these beautiful images of yours are a real treat for me.
    Thanks for starting my morning off with a big smile… ;-)))

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