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Western and Clark’s Grebes are common on lakes and ponds in the American West. Clark's have their fire-engine red eyes surrounded by white, Westerns by black. Even though they are distinct species, their courtship rituals can be mixed, as seen in this video. Grebes were always considered to be related to loons, the other master divers in the bird world. Recent DNA evidence shows however that the closest relatives of grebes are flamingos. Hard to believe, but fossil and anatomic evidence supports it. And the head-bending, neck-stretching communal marches performed by grebes are also done by flamingos, albeit in huge assemblies, not in twos and threes.
Filmed in mid May at the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge, about 30 miles north and west of Ogden, Utah. The wildlife drive is 13 miles long, gravel and one way. Good grebe sites may vary with water levels, but at this time they were on the western edge.
Sony PMW 300 with a Nikon 80-400 mm lens. Rode NTG-1 shotgun mike. 1080 p30 with slow motion at 720 p60.
For anyone interested, I tried not to fapitz up the video with writing, so here are the names of the birds in order of appearance: Canada Goose, Marsh Wren, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Sora, Canada Goose, Clark's Grebe, Western Grebe, variously Clark's and Westerns, Cliff and Tree Swallows, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Redhead (duck).
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