After reading Ken's report of four Horned Grebes at Virginia Lake, I
decided to drive down to Reno and have a look around. Not only did I
see the four Horned Grebes at Virginia Lake, I also saw a group of NINE
at Lemmon Valley (on the playa, visible from the end of the sewer
ponds.) Of course, Horned Grebes are not rarities in Nevada, but
thirteen in one day is a pretty good total. Mid to late April seems to
be a particularly good time to find this species around Reno, although
there are usually a few around northern Nevada all winter and spring.
My highest one day count ever was 21 at Incline Village (Lake Tahoe) on
4/21/98. And, of course, in April, you get the added benefit of seeing
them in their spectacular breeding plumage. One of the Virginia Lake
birds was very cooperative today, photo-wise.
I also saw the breeding-plumage Common Loon at Virginia Lake, reported
by Fred. There are still a handful of Hooded Mergansers at Virginia
Lake, plus one Lesser Scaup, three Cinnamon Teal, three female Common
Goldeneyes, five American Wigeons, and the expected Ruddy Ducks,
Shovelers, Mallards, Coots, and Pied-billed and Eared Grebes. One pair
of Canada Geese had a bunch of very small downy young with them. And
the Double-crested Cormorants on the island were fun to watch (and
listen to -- a vocalization described by Sibley as a "Low, droning,
guttural croak.") Only gulls were California and Ring-billed.
The only unusual sighting at Sparks Marina was a pair of Willets sitting
on the floats at the north end.
Joining the nine Horned Grebes at Lemmon Valley were all of the expected
ducks, lots of American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts, and more
email: Martin (...AT...) SierraBirdbum.com
Photo website: http://SierraBirdbum.com