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5148grebes, ruddy ducks

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  • Kate Marianchild
    Aug 2, 2012
      Michael Charnes and I went out in the kayak yesterday, August 1, to see the nesting grebes SE of Rodman Slough. A beautiful, heartening sight and sound. They are nesting in open water, not in the tules, on nests made of lake vegetation that they pile up on patches of pondweed (spp?) floating on the surface but anchored to the lake floor. I imagine open-water nesting is safer than nesting in the tules along the shore, as they are less vulnerable to mammalian predators. (On Long Tule Point on the south shore it's different, I think, because the tules extend so far into the water. I don't know the other nest sites on the lake.)

      Some eggs were white, some brown, and one was bright blue. Some rushing was still happening, and quite a lot of chasing other grebes away from nests. Some nests had 3-4 eggs but more had only 1 or 2. Some eggs were on the edges of nests about to fall in the water, possibly from wakes created by boats. Once I saw a coot standing on the edge of an occupied grebe nest with no apparent tension between the two birds.

      I also saw one male ruddy duck in glorious colors, and one female.

      On Rodman Slough I saw one snowy egret and one white pelican overhead along with numerous great egrets and several black-crowned night herons. I've never seen Rodman so choked with Ludwigia and algae, but maybe I've never been there in August.

      Didn't have time for the pond by the green gate as we didn't get off the water until 8 p.m.

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