Western Grebe with chick – Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge; Brigham, Utah: When I arrived at Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge I was quite shocked. I had called the week before and was informed that the water levels were not as high as last year at this same time. I was expecting low water, but not what I found. Last year held extremely high water, and the birds were everywhere, nesting right-up to the road. This year the water is extremely low. Areas that held nesting stilts and avocets last year are dried and cracked. However, Impoundment 2 holds lots of water and lots of birds, so shooting is very good. Also, birds are more advanced in nesting and age of young this year. Last year I saw no fledgling grebes, but this year they are everywhere.
I shot this image of a western grebe chick hitching a ride on mom’s back this morning. Birds are not as quite as close as I like, but with a little patience the birds will eventually come quite close. I will work here another day or two and then head toward Nevada.
Nikon D7000, Nikkor 500mm f4, 1/1,600 second @ f6.3, ISO 400