JOCASSEE WINTER BIRDS: HORNED GREBES.
Dancing Grebes would be a better name, really. We don’t often get a chance to see their ‘horns’, after all. It’s a part of their most alluring breeding plumage, an outfit designed for and worn in much warmer weather. Every now and then, though, if you’re persistent and downright lucky, you can see the ‘horns’ just as the grebes are preparing to leave us and head to their breeding lakes way the heck up north. I’ve seen a couple, and they are jaw-droppingly beautiful. But I digress. We are discussing water dancing here, after all. Horned grebes are shy birds, and usually depart quite quickly upon being approached. Actually, they prefer to dive down first, clearly daring you to figure out just where they will pop up, then pop up they do, and off to the races they go. Whoever said walking on water was not possible has clearly never tried to sneak up on one of these guys. It’s a wild and thrilling scatter to watch, and if you are ever so fortunate as to be coming in just at dusk from an outing on Lake Jocassee in winter, then the barely visible trail of dozens of horned grebes racing away in front of you is a nearly mystical thing to witness. It’s a wonder. ~B