Bird #119 — Eared Grebe

podiceps (foot) nigricollis (from niger, black, and collum, neck)

Monday, March 31, 1980 — 5:00 pm

Evanston, Illinois — Northwestern University — Lake Michigan

I heard about the Eared Grebe on the Audubon hotline and dragged my friends out after work to look for it.  Northwestern University has constructed a campus on landfill that extends 200 yards or so into Lake Michigan for about half a mile along the shore.  A twisting lagoon separates the landfill from the buildings.

The grebe was floating in the lagoon.  I was able to get within 25 feet and get a good look.  It was alone at first, but as we watched, it swam over near four Buffleheads and drifted with them the remainder of the time we were there.  All five birds tucked their heads into the feathers on their backs and floated motionlessly in the center of the lagoon.  This made for real dull birding.  And as the grebe was in winter plumage, it wasn’t terribly exciting-looking even when its head was visible.

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