Quite the Earie Sight

What to do what to do.  It’s already a new month which means the quota counter has reset once again.  Should I go with a new bird from Henderson, or maybe a new bird from Henderson, perhaps a new bird from Henderson oh hell, why not a new bird from Henderson.  That would be a good first post for the month then maybe follow it with at least three other new birds from Henderson.  I hope you are getting the impression that the Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve was the Honey Pot for me when it comes to the Bird List.  We are literally still on the FIRST day’s worth of shots  and I’ve already filled up multiple months worth of posts and if the comments above didn’t already give it away.. there are plenty more birds queued up and ready to go.  But let’s live in the moment shall we.  Today we grace the pages here at LifeIntrigued with…

Ever seen one of these while wandering around the local ponds?   Obviously, this is the first I’ve actually been able to photograph one and quite frankly probably the first time I’ve ever seen one.   If you haven’t already cheated by hovering over the picture, take a long look at it as if you were the first human that got to lay eyes on it.  Being the first, you get the high honor of bestowing a strong yet distinctive name that all others that follow will use to proclaim their sighting.  Maybe you went with Red Eye Flighter (the eye is actually more red than what shows on the shot above – the sunlight was amping up the orange tints),  maybe Chimney Sweeper (cause of the soot look) or in a moment of stunted imagination, the Fluffy Floater.  Well, it turns out whoever named this particular bird decided it should be called the Eared Grebe.  If you are like me you probably rushed to Wikipedia or your closest bird reference book with an unquenchable thirst for the origins of this name.  Of course, you could take the easy way out and just wait for me to tell you (ha).

Hit the jump for the reveal

Turns out that this particular bird differs significantly from it’s non-breeding and breeding plumage.  What you see in this shot (and unfortunately, all the shots that day) is the non-breeding look.  The breeding plumage is more lady fetching with brown/red highlights on the feathers and golden plumes coming out of .. you guessed it .. the ear area.  Obviously it was discovered in breeding mode or I’m sure they would have gone with Chimney Sweeper.  Maybe someday I’ll stumble on the breeding plumage and be able to update this post.  Thanks to our friends over at Wikipedia, I now know this particular bird goes by two names – other being Fluffy Floater?  Nope – Black Necked Grebe.  Again, thanks to the breeding plumage feature.

How about some interesting facts for the Eared Grebe.  Again, according to Wikipedia, they’re Podiceps because their legs are attached so far back on their body – actually to their ass per the Latin name.  Now that is a literal name for you.  They can be found in all continents except Antarctica and Australia.  Surprisingly, they are flightless for 9 to 10 months of the year (longest of any flight capable bird) and probably not so surprising are pretty poor walkers … because their legs are attached to their anus (hehehe).  They are efficient migrators although once again we have a BIRD that prefers to float – a true waste from the perspective of a species that has been trying every means possible to fly throughout history.  I also noticed they make an excellent impression of one of those bar birds – the ones filled with red liquid on a pivot… as in:

just grey instead of red.  I hope it has a good chiropractor — wait for it .. or rather a “quack” doctor (for the record I’m heading to my chiro this week thanks to a nasty wrench in the back while working on the mower).    I had to laugh, the very next picture looked like our Grebe was imitating what happens to you when you go to the chiro cccrrraaacccckkkk – too funny.

Life is definitely better when you are in the Least Concern conservation status – you don’t see pictures of Dodo birds clowning around like this.  For the curious, these are diving birds preferring to feast on aquatic invertebrates and that my friends sums up everything I know about this fluffy waterfowl.  Oh wait, did notice that a group of these Eared Grebes are called a Water Dance which must be witnessed a lot since they are actually the most abundant Grebe in the world – odd being this is my first sighting.

Hope you enjoyed checking out this new entry on the Bird List.  Let’s hope so.. ’cause there are plenty more coming at you

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