A week ago I went Geist Reservoir to view the EARED GREBE that had been reported. In late November I had distant views of one at Eagle Creek. So it seemed odd to me to have two reported locally in such a short period of time since Eared Grebes are a Western NA grebe and only a few are reported in Indiana per year.
The Eared Grebe had first been reported by Nick Kiehl on 12/30/15 and was subsequently reported by several people on eBird. When I went with Don Gorney to Gibson County on Jan. 2 he told that he had seen the bird the day before on the spillway side of the dam. Don said Kirk Roth speculated that the bird had been washed over the spillway by the heavy rains and now couldn’t get out.
Grebes can’t erupt to take flight but need a length of water to fly. So if this bird didn’t get out of the spillway it probably wouldn’t ever be able to take off.
I arrived at 12:40 and at 1:40 I still hadn’t found the grebe. I briefly checked the spillway, and the water down stream thinking that was where it would be. I finally texted Andy Belt since he had seen it the day before. He said it was in the spillway RIGHT NEXT TO THE DAM. I guess I couldn’t comprehend the reports meant that close to the dam. I assumed it had floated downstream a little ways.
I discussed the situation with my wife but there really wasn’t much one could do. My only hope was that it would finally tire a bit and drift down the creek. There would be ample room for it to take off flying from there.
I later saw on Facebook that it was reported gone by mid-week. And it wasn’t present this past Saturday.
One can only hope it got enough strength to fly away. And this really didn’t end up being a Sad Story.