For the twitchers amongst us


I’m slowly learning all the different birds here in Wisconsin, and can now name several on sight, including the chickadee, dark-eyed junco and the bald eagle (saw one flying up our road!). But I was chuffed to see what looked very much like a grebe on Lake Michigan today.

Gull and Grebe

That’s it, that little brown blob on the right. What does forum wisdom say? Grebe or no grebe? It had a very long, slender beak, which you can’t really see in this photo at all. And it definitely wasn’t a duck!



It could be, though not knowing what other birdlife you have there I wouldn’t like to say for sure. But grebe is as good a guess as anything at the moment :smile:

I saw a pair of canada geese today, there’s a pair of swans who appear to be nesting and I’m still seeing (and hearing!) lapwings though not many. Spring is definitely here!



I don’t know my N. Am birds at at all, so i wouldn’t like to comment! However, I can reciprocate with a picture from my latest hols, just for the record - so pretty and green :smiley:



Ha ha ha. Yeah, it’s really not the best photo. I will have to go out with a better camera tomorrow and see if it’s still hanging about.

We get a lot of Canada geese here, unsurprisingly. I’ve also noticed that some of the bird life that’s been either hiding or absent for the winter is now back, so the blackbirds (which have red flashes on their wings) and the robins (not a robin) are out in force. It’s nice to see them!



Oh, Luehea, that’s a fabulous photo!! What a gorgeous bird!



Farne Islands - you can get so close to the birds, and they just don’t care!



That would be awesome! I do love birds. Always wanted to have one when I was little.

I really need to clean the kitchen window so that I can try to get some photos of the birds on our feeder. The northern cardinals - or ‘little red buggers’ as I call them - are really quite magnificent!



Have you given us the common and Latin names? I need to know! I find birds’ Latin names to be things of beauty in their own right.

This year I have seen Grebes dancing with each other in a little bonding ritual in Virginia Water, and am trying to listen as well as look. It’s surprising what is perching just above your head if you listen for birdsong carefully!

First for this year are long-tailed tits (3 seen) but my big goals are:

  1. Great Crested Grebe chicks (known as grebelets)
  2. Little Grebes
  3. Lapwings

All on my ‘never seen’ list!

Suw, there are many types of Grebe, all utterly enchanting. USA has seven. Shown here:



My first instinct is no, Suw, that bird may not be a grebe. The reason being that grebes are built for swimming and diving - their legs are set a long way back on their bodies. So walking is awkward. If it was not nesting or nest-building, I’d be expecting to see a grebe either on the water or under the water!



Papaver, accept my apologies :slight_smile: my photo is of Phalacrocorax aristotelis the European shag. The Latin name is wholly appropriate for such a majestically dinosaur-ish bird. The common name, not so much :smile:



You are right, that is a superb Latin name.

Did I ever tell you that a friend has given me a name in common Greek that means little poppy - Paparoula? I really like it, alongside my Latin name of Papaver Exultatum!



Another option might be the red throated loon in its winter plumage:

I will just have to get a better photo of it!!



Papa Roula sounds like an Italian bistro. :wink: Papaver Exultatum, however, fits you perfectly!




The loon, the size of a large duck or small goose, resembles these birds in shape when swimming. Like ducks and geese but unlike coots (which are Rallidae) and grebes (Podicipedidae), the loon’s toes are connected by webbing.

So all you have to do is up-end it and inspect its feet. Simple.

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If I remember right, the lions, or divers as we know them this side of the pond, have distinctive summer plumage and a dramatic call…



“Here, loonie, loonie, loonie! Here loon!! Come here and just… let… me… Oh, you don’t want me to look at your feet? Tsk.”



Just playing these to my cats, who are freaking out.

I shall have to listen very carefully when at the lake later!



Suw, a woman with your calm assertive manner I am sure will have no problems rotating a loon through 180 degrees, with aplomb!



genuinely guffaws



My birding goal for 2015 fulfilled. To see a Great Crested Grebelet. My dream came true on Monday whilst on a Thames-side walk. Luckily Mike was there with his camera. Note the tiny striped fuzzy humbug head of the chick peeking out from between mum/dad’s wings.

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