Date: 1/9/18 8:21 am From: david shoch via va-bird <va-bird...> Subject: [Va-bird] Pied-billed Grebes?
Itís been interesting seeing the response of birds to the severe cold weather this past week, particularly the steady concentration of waterfowl, and their behavior, in the diminishing ice-free waterbodies. In Albemarle County, Iíve also been struck by the absence of a species over the past week, a species that is usually a fairly reliable winter resident on county lakes and ponds, namely Pied-billed Grebe. Iím fairly confident theyíre absent now at Chris Green Lake, Ragged Mt. Reservoir and Monticello HS Lake, all places theyíre generally regular. The last eBird report for the county I see is for Ragged Mt. Reservoir on January 3rd, despite good coverage lately. My impression is that they disappeared rather suddenly, thus I donít think itís a question of mortality (where you would expect to see steadily diminishing numbers through the period of the cold snap). Thereís been discussions on other fora of facultative migrations in response to climatic conditions, and I wonder if thatís not whatís taken place. (recall the influxes of Red-necked Grebes in 2003 and 2014 following prolonged and extensive ice conditions on the Great Lakes)
It would be interesting to hear if Pied-billed Grebes are also being noted as absent from other sites in central Virginia, and if others are seeing influxes of this species to the south (e.g. Kerr Lake) or on the Coastal Plain.