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Subject:Outstanding morning at Wisconsin Point, plus questions/photos on a distant greb
From:Erik Bruhnke <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Erik Bruhnke <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 7 Nov 2011 16:08:17 -0600

I just posted this to the Wisconsin birding listserv, and wanted to copy it
here since the sightings were in the twin ports. Towards the bottom of this
email I have a question about a distant grebe I saw this morning.

This morning my friend Aldo and I did some birdwatching at sunrise along
the Superior Entry (Wisconsin Point, Superior, WI). We found three Snow
Buntings bathing & splashing along the rock piling (near shore), in
addition to observing five White-winged Crossbills flying overhead. Aldo
was only able to stay about half an hour. After he left, I headed to Lot 1,
and had some awesome finds this morning! Bird list is below...

American Black Duck
Northern Pintail
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
WHITE-WINGED SCOTER - five of them!
Common Goldeneye - 6
Bufflehead - 4
Bald Eagle
Bonaparte's Gull - 3
FRANKLIN'S GULL - 1 non-breeding adult
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
THAYER'S GULL - 1 Juvenile at the entry
ICELAND GULL (Kumlien's Gull) - 1 adult at the landfill
GLAUCOUS GULL (not alive, in the talons of a Bald Eagle flying overhead,
while I viewed gulls at the landfill!!)
Blue Jay
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee
American Tree Sparrow
Snow Bunting
White-winged Crossbill

Many pictures to come later on (that I took through my SLR). Below is a
description/set of pictures that I digiscoped on my smaller camera of a
weird bird. Right now I'm at a friend's house in Ashland, and will be able
to post good pictures later on when I am home.

These first three pictures are of a very distant grebe (digiscoped at ~45x,
and zoomed-in slightly with the camera). The bird was very distant. I
called this bird a Western Grebe upon initially observing it, however upon
looking at it through the camera now being near a computer, the extra large
white face (lacking a well-defined droop in the black cap that goes through
the eye) confuses me about this bird. Clark's Grebes will show a white area
that surrounds the eye, and their bills tend to be a vibrant, bright
yellow. Western Grebes have a dark cap on top of their head that extends
through and just-slightly below the eye. The Western Grebe's bill tends to
be an olive-yellow color from the individuals I have observed.
Comments/feedback on the bird below are welcome as always! *Note that in
photography (especially like the poor-quality photos below), white areas
tend to "fade" into the dark areas throughout an image, sometimes making
the white areas larger than they are and darker areas smaller than they
really are.

This could possibly be a different grebe, but it could also be the same
individual as the grebe above. All of the grebe photos were taken in the
same vicinity, however due to the distant waves, it was hard at times to
consistently see the grebe. This grebe in the photos below has the usual
traits of Western Grebes. Throughout North Dakota as well as Oregon, I have
seen many Western Grebes, and have confirmed and documented Clark's Grebes
on several occasions too.

Here in Ashland, WI I scanned Long Bridge as well as Maslowski Beach.
Ring-billed Gulls at Long Bridge, and at Maslowski Beach, I had Ring-billed
Gulls, Herring Gulls and Canada Goose (including one well-photographed
LEUCISTIC Canada Goose)!

Good birding,
Erik Bruhnke
Duluth, MN

*NATURALLY AVIAN* - Guided Birdwatching Trips and Bird photography

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