Western Grebes were the first *western* birds found on the adventure that was getting to North Dakota. A makeshift dinner beside a lake somewhere in Minnesota was accompanied by their whistling between dives for fish. They're really striking birds - click on the pic for a better look at those red eyes!
Try as we might, we never picked out a Clark's among the Western's that populated the larger lakes and potholes. Nor was there much of their famous courtship display; they're said to rise up and run across the water's surface - might've been nice to see that! I like the suggestion of a heart in the space between their graceful long necks in this pic; maybe they were just beginning to think of love in that moment.
The breeding ducks were the biggest draw to the region, I think. There'd been more than a cold winter's day or two spent searching the small local ponds and inlets in NJ for wintering ducks - to see Ruddies again; now with their ridiculously bright blue bills or a pair of Blue-winged Teal in every puddle and Canvasbacks and Shovelers and more Redheads than I'd really imagined possible - I'd felt lucky to find a single pair this winter - and now here they were, again, for our finding. The only real miss, in the breeding duck department, were Hoodies. I'm sure they were out there, we just didn't find the right pothole.
a return Visit
8 months ago