Sunday, June 28, 2015

Young Eared Grebes on mother's back: near Herbert, SK

The Eared Grebe floats through the reeds at Francis Lake, near Herbert, Saskatchewan, and we count the young grebes on her back... Two, we think, until someone later looks at the images and says, "Three!" And yes, there are three tiny bird faces, three sets of dark eyes, and three red-striped beaks. She swam with the baby birds for a while, then wriggled her wings, and when that didn't move them, finally dove to set them free.

Eared Grebe with three young on her back. (The third is nestled low.) © SB

This shallow lake, a broad water-filled dip in the fields, is home to many of these oh-so-decorative birds, the "most abundant Grebe in the world." (All About Birds.) It also hosts a wide range of ducks, geese and other water-loving birds. 

A road leads straight across this lake — #612, over my map's unnamed blue that birders call Francis. We drove slowly and waited out the pick-up trucks and grain trucks that barrelled by. Our windows rolled up until dust dissipated, we watched the birds. (It was a great side trip from the TransCanada Highway.)

Eared Grebe rushes across the pond to feed its young birds. ©SB
Feeding time for the Eared Grebe.  ©SB

What are these?  Eared Grebes.
Location: Francis Lake, north of Herbert, Saskatchewan.
Photo date: June 25, 2015. 

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