Small black bill, often with pale tip
Summer: (not photographed)
Buffy-gold tufts along sides of face
Reddish neck and flanks
Black cap, hindneck, and back
White cheeks, foreneck, flanks, and belly
Listen to its call.
To anyone who read the above description and thought, "but what the heck is a grebe?", you are not alone. When I initially read this definition on a number of websites, I was perplexed. I didn't know what a grebe was in the first place so ... Yet, it is surprising how often people will define a word using the same term. Very annoying! Anyway, for those of you, like me, who don't already know, a grebe is a diving waterbird with a long neck, lobed toes and almost no tail. It is a small, compact-bodied, almost completely aquatic bird that builds floating nests. Who knew?
Learn more about the Horned Grebe.
There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.