December 29th, 2011. Between Christmas and New Year we took an overnight trip down to the Savannah National Wildlife Refuge in search of some sun and warmer weather. The weather was a little cool due to a northwesterly wind but it was sunny. The Savannah NWR is located on the east side of the Savannah River in Jasper County, South Carolina, just across the Savannah River from Georgia. We visited Argyle Island that is accessed from Alligator Alley.
I’ve seen occasional Pied-billed Grebes (Podilymbus podiceps) on the lake at Fort Yargo State Park in the winter but have never had the opportunity to see them actively feeding. We saw this grebe feeding along the canal on the eastern margin of the refuge. This grebe was feeding from north to south and followed a very repetitive pattern.
It would dive. It would either feed in the same spot or swim south as it grazed on the plants on the bottom.
When it surfaced, it always faced north. It would sit for a minute or so, and then
circle around to face south again,
shake off the water from its previous dive, and then repeat the process over again, and again, and again.
We followed this grebe for 10 minutes and it invariably followed this routine. I wonder if this is a common practice among Pied-billed Grebes.
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Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology: Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)
- Savannah National Wildlife Refuge: The Evening Before
- Savannah National Wildlife Refuge: The Morning After
- Savannah National Wildlife Refuge: Alligator Alley
- Savannah National Wildlife Refuge: Perpetual Motion in Feathers