"On July 24th, birder Paul van Ginkel, was out by the Limnology Building without his binoculars. He saw a large grebe diving and foraging close to shore. “It had a large yellow bill and red eye with black on top of the head going into the neck. The back was grayish black with whitish specks on it. The face and front/side of the neck where very white.” It was confirmed as a Western Grebe. “The Western Grebe is the largest Grebe in North America. It is 22-30 inches long and 31-40 inches across the wings.” Birds On Line, Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Roma Lenahan commented “Very unusual, at least on Lake Mendota. They are spotted every year or two in the fall on Lake Mendota – I have never heard a report in July here!”
My husband Jeff Koziol and I were able to watch the Western Grebe on Lake Mendota on three other occasions. On one occasion we had the opportunity to watch the Western Grebe actively dive and forage in high winds. We saw it in the same location swimming close to shore near the Limnology building. We saw it catch two perch. One fish was so large, it had to squeeze it hard in it’s bill for about five minutes before it could swallow it dead in one gulp. It was amazing the Grebe hold on to a thrashing fish in the strong winds and waves."
Below is a link to my pictures on Flicker.
A few of Arlene's splendid photos are reproduced here. Please see her Flicker site for the entire story. And, please let us know about YOUR sightings.