Merced Red-necked Grebe


Jim Rowoth
 

Kurt Mize and I co-led a field trip today to Merced Co locations for this year’s Central Valley Birding Symposium,  As you can imagine, conditions were quite dry and the air hazy/smoky (but not as bad as San Joaquin Co).  Waterfowl numbers overall were down from previous visits at this time of the year.   Not having any reports of Merced celebrity birds (i.e., Vermilion Flycatcher, Rusty Blackbird) that we have had in years past, we did not check out Gun Club Road.  We had very large numbers of white geese at Merced NWR, but due to low water conditions, the birds were gathered at the center of the refuge, making it difficult to pull out any definitive Ross’ Geese.  We had a couple of Blue-winged Teals in the SE corner, but only two American Wigeons (M & F).  There were two Burrowing Owls on the E side of the loop.  

We split into two groups at this point, most returning to Stockton for the afternoon program, but Jim Thomas, Jim Joye, Kurt, and I decided to head over to O’Neill Forebay to see if we could find the Red-necked Grebe reported in eBird by Dale Swanberg on Nov 13.  His directions were superb, and we located the bird within a few minutes of arriving at the N end of the W perimeter road.  It remained in the vicinity of the line of red and white buoys at the inflow of the California Aqueduct into the forebay, along with multiple Pied-billeds and coots.  All we had were cell phones, but anyone with a real camera would have gotten great photos. 

Dale’s eBird report can viewed at https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49925278.  

Jim Rowoth
Stockton


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