Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena)

Above: This Red-necked Grebe was a pleasant surprise in Ocean City, Maryland (2/24/2007). Winter (basic) plumage.
Below: A Red-necked Grebe at Centennial Park in Howard County, Maryland (4/5/2005). Summer (alternate) plumage.

Below: A documentation shot of a distant Red-necked Grebe (and Wilson's Snipe) in Somerset Co., Maryland (3/5/2007).

Comments:  This large grebe nests in marshy areas in parts of the northern U.S., much of central and northwestern Canada, and Alaska. It winters on open water along the Pacific coast, the Great Lakes, and the coast of northeastern U.S. and Canada. It is an uncommon winter visitor to the Mid-Atlantic, where it can be distinguished from the Horned Grebe by its larger size and larger, yellow bill. In winter plumage, it has a dull brown neck and a pale "ear patch." In breeding plumage, which this bird is coming into, the reddish neck and white cheek are distinctive. It is the only grebe that shows white leading and trailing edges of the wing. It feeds by diving to 25-30' for small fish and crustaceans.

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