Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Western Grebes at Clear Lake in Northern California
Tundra Swans that we saw near Williams. We were preparing to cross through the Coast Ranges to get to Highway 101, and Clear Lake offered the most interesting way, bird-wise and geology-wise. Clear Lake is partially dammed by lava flows, and the Mt. Konocti volcano looms over the waters. It's only a few thousand years old and magma chambers in the region are still simmering deep underground.
I always have to remind myself which grebe I'm looking at. The Western Grebe and the Clarke's Grebe were once thought to be the same species, but there were enough differences that they were officially separated. The main tell in the field is that a Clarke's Grebe has white around the striking red eye, while the Western Grebe has black.