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Grebe courtship

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  • vishnu
    This evening at around 5pm at the northwestern end of Lake Mendocino among a small mixed flock of ducks were 2 pair of - presumed Western as opposed to
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 9, 2003
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      This evening at around 5pm at the northwestern end of Lake Mendocino among
      a small mixed flock of ducks were 2 pair of - presumed Western as opposed to
      Clark's - Grebes performing their courtship rituals. This included a pair
      approaching each other from a distance of about 12-15 feet elaborately
      bowing forward and from side to side with long outstreched necks and both in
      unison. When the pair would then meet there was more bowing and the raising
      of their bodies rather high out of the water (how?) and with necks
      outstreched. Twice from this position and now "standing" side by side they
      raced across the top of the water for about 10 feet before settling back in,
      whereupon they more or less ignore each other for awhile.
      Although I've seen this behaviour at Clear Lake before I'd never seen it at
      Lake Mendocino.

      Also, although it was my impression last week that the Starling numbers at
      the Kyen Campgroundd roost were somewhat diminishing, a report by Kate
      Marienchild from last Friday and the experience of 5 observers today is that
      it is still as strong and fantastic as ever. The Starling arrival time this
      evening was 5:35pm.
      Vishnu
    • Kate Marianchild
      I would like to second Vishnu s report on the startling starling phantasmagoria ( a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined. )
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 12, 2003
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        I would like to second Vishnu's report on the startling starling phantasmagoria ("a constantly shifting complex succession of things seen or imagined.") Watching them whirl and swoop, transforming instantly from clouds of evenly spaced birds to dense undulating mobius strips to exploding fireworks is especially beautiful against the pink sky to the east. And sometimes a bit of sun touches them, adding golden magic to the show. Looking up through layers of birds, with one level going one way and the next going another direction and a higher level heading yet another way can be quite mesmerizing.

        I want to add that while the show started at 5:35 last night, it wasn't until almost 5:50 that two gigantic clouds of birds appeared in the east, swooping in from Lake County. So don't give up.

        (I thought I sent this a couple of days ago, but I sent it only to Vishnu because I only replied rather than replying to all).



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