Clark’s Grebe(Aechmophorus clarkia) and Western Grebe (Aechmophorus occidentalis) nesting behaviors on a local lake, San Luis Obispo, CA. 08/10/2020
Civil Twilight welcomed the first photographers, sipping hot coffee, and quietly scoping out their locations. Would today bring just a few or would there be a line of tripods along the shore? Some would bring chairs and sit, others standing and handholding to allow more flexibility in their movement and compositions. A couple of photographers lay flush with the ground dug into their positions, soaking up the cool moisture from the mud. Each day brought a few more, some days brought a few less. Make no mistake about it, the show before them was a spectacle of nature that few get the privilege of watching and observing in their lifetime. It was well worth the time and effort. I myself only visited a couple of days while for some it was a daily vigil.
Seemingly later than most years, the marshes in the southwestern portion of the lake were bustling with active nesting Western and Clark’s Grebes in various stages of mating behavior. One nest’s day old grebette’s would be back-brooding on an adult, another with eggs still being turned and incubated under the brood patch, the background echoed the unmistakable sound of another couple in courtship display rushing across the far reaches of the lake, while another couple participates in a “Weed Dance”. The Kr-r-rick, Kr-r-ick of the Western Grebe, or the solitary Kree-eek of the Clark’s Grebe reverberated across the surface of the water amongst other vocalizations signaling breeding season was in full swing.