Water, Earth, Sky

Scott Shenk writes about the environment.

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Lake Anna bird sighting rare in East

Bird watchers from Tidewater are among those who have sighted a pair of Western grebes over the past couple weeks on the Spotsylvania County side of the lake in the vicinity of Lake Anna State Park. It’s a rare privilege to see one in Virginia because their native range is along the West Coast.  John Adair and Dave Youker, both from Yorktown, and Adair’s wife, Marilyn, stopped by Lake Anna late last month after seeing a post about a Western grebe sighting on a birding website. My colleague, Bob Martin, a  Free Lance-Star photographer, stopped to talk with them and snapped this photo. Youker, president of the Hampton Roads Bird Club, says the grebes  probably lost their bearings and migrated east. Youker said  in an email: “The Western grebe was observed on Lake Anna a few weeks ago and reported on the Virginia Birding  Listserv. It was flagged as a rare species for this area and drew immediate attention for the birding community. People from all over Virginia and beyond have come to see this bird, and more are expected as these two birds continue to remain at Lake Anna.” Sightings have been posted as recent as Tuesday. Sightings of the diving, fish-eating birds with striking black and white feathers and blood-red eyes, began in mid-December and began showing up on the list serve hosted by the Virginia Society of Ornithology. There have been other reports of Western grebes visiting Lake Anna in recent years, including one in 2005. For more, see my story on Saturday.

A stock photo of a pair of Western grebes.