Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2013-77a

Common name:

Red-necked Grebe

Scientific name: Podiceps grisegena
Date: Nov 2, 2013
Time: 1300
Length of time observed: 1 hr, over two visits
Number: 1
Age: 1st winter
Sex: Unknown
Location: Pineview Reservoir
County: Weber
Latilong: 41 deg 15 min 24.00 111 deg 50 min 00.75
Elevation: 4885
Distance to bird: 35-150 yards
Optical equipment: 85 mm scope w/ 20-60 x zoom eyepiece, 8 x 42 binos
Weather: Idyllic fall day; clear, 40 deg
Light Conditions: Sunny, blue sky, light behind observers
Description:        Size of bird: About 2/3 nearby Common Loon
(Description:)       Basic Shape: Pointed crest, long neck, flattened oval body
(Description:)  Overall Pattern: Varying dark upper parts, white under parts
(Description:)            Bill Type:  
Field Marks and
Identifying Characteristics:
Bill_Type: Spear-like

Bird_Description: Bare parts:
Bill: Likely about 3 inches; as long as head from front-to-back of head. Dark grayish-black on upper mandible with bright yellow edge along culmen and at proximal end. Lower mandible bright yellow.
Eye: Dark and blended with dark crown.
Feet: Dark and mounted so far back on bird's body that heels were visible above water as bird paddled away from observers.
Crown blackish and pointed at rear. Short black line under eye extending into white cheek. Longer black line from top of eye extending backward through white cheek to join blackish-brownish rear of neck. Chin: white. Neck: Whitish, becoming murky rust at sides and blending into brownish back of neck. Belly: apparently white, but rarely visible.
Upper parts: Back of neck becoming brownish below crown. Dorsal surface of body mottled gray, no markings. Sides: Fluffy mottled paler gray above bird's water line. Wingtips met at tail and did not extend beyond bird's body over water.
(see drawings)
Song or call & method of delivery: None heard.
Behavior: Swimming and preening placidly at deepest and most narrow portion of the reservoir near Pineview Dam. Often picked at objects on water's surface. Jump-dived occasionally, catching big air before submerging. Unwary toward fisherman in a boat, passing as close as 20 feet. Turned eye skyward multiple times to watch a Bald Eagle pass overhead.
Habitat: Deep, freshwater mountain reservoir.
Similar species and how
were they eliminated:
From Clark's and Western Grebes: More compact body size/shape, developing brownish on neck, facial stripes not a feature of juvenile Clark's/Western.

From Horned Grebe: Yellow bill, black eye instead of red, size in comparison to nearby loon.

Red-throated Loon: Facial stripes, pointed crest.
Previous experience with
this & similar species:
Two previous RN Grebes, records 2004-37 and 2006-19. Extensive experience with Clark's, Western, Horned. RT Loon: Can't remember; sorry.
References consulted:  
Description from: Notes taken at the time of the sighting
Observer: Kristin Purdy, Stephanie Burninsh
Observer's address: Ogden, UT
Observer's e-mail address: **
Other observers who independently identified this bird: Found and reported by Mike Hearell and Taylor Abbott at 11 a.m. Also, later with Jack Rensel
Date prepared: Nov 3, 2013
Additional material: Drawing
Additional_Comments: Field sketch by Stephanie Burnish while on the scope; labeled by Kristin Purdy