|Horned Grebe is a regular winter visitor in Monterey County (MTY).
It is almost always found on salt water bays and harbors, particularly
around the edges of Monterey Bay. Birds in basic plumage (right)
in winter are small, short-billed, but stocky gray-and-white grebes with
very crisply demarcated white face.
Photo 15 Nov 2004 Monterey harbor © D. Roberson
|Horned Grebes are present from November through March. In some winters a few appear by mid-October but in other winters none seem to be around until mid-November. In most years a few will linger in April and occasionally into May. Summer records are very few. Recent averages* for the Monterey Peninsula Christmas Bird Count are 90 Horned Grebes each winter, and 33 on the Moss Landing count (but some of those are in adjacent Santa Cruz County).|
||During their winter stay in Monterey, some Horned Grebes molt from
their basic plumage (left) through a transitional plumage (lower
left) to full alternate (=breeding) plumage (below). The prealternate
molt begins in March. Note that the blocky head shape and rather thick
neck remain useful characters in all these plumages, and that the small
but distinct white tip to the bill is present in any plumage. Beware of
'white-cheeked' Eared Grebes in Sep-Oct than can be confused with Horned
Grebes; please see a more detailed
page on this identification problem.
Photos 18 Jan 1990 Monterey © R.F. Tintle (left), 8 Apr 1982 Monterey © D. Roberson (below left), 2 Apr 1983 Monterey © R.F. Tintle (below).
|Where to find a Horned Grebe in MTY: This small grebe is very
much a winter bird of inshore salt water. In fact, there are only two acceptable
records on fresh water anywhere in the county. Favored locales are:
* = "recent averages" for Christmas Bird Counts are found by compiling the totals reported for last dozen counts, throwing out the high and low counts that may be biased by observer error or bad weather, and averaging the remaining ten counts.
GREBE IN SEQUENCE
Use the following links to other portions of the MTY checklist:
Part 1: Waterfowl through GrebesReaders may use this material for their own private enjoyment, study, or research but none of the photos or text herein may be used commercially nor may they be reposted on other web sites without written permission. All material is copyrighted. The posting of photos and text on this private web site is not a submission to review organizations.
Part 2: Albatrosses through Frigatebirds
Part 3: Herons through Cranes
Part 4: Plovers through Sandpipers
Part 5: Jaegers through Alcids
Part 6: Doves through Woodpeckers
Part 7: Flycatchers through Larks
Part 8: Swallows through Pipits
Part 9: Waxwings through Warblers
Part 10: Tanagers through Sparrows
Part 11: Grosbeaks through Finches
or just the plain Checklist (no annotations)
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