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This morning, 12/03, I was scanning the Inlet and ocean for birds when I found a Red-necked Grebe out about 300 yards from the end of the walkway on top of the north jetty at Ponce de Leon Inlet, Volusia County. The bird was floating at the surface and occasionally diving. It was very hard to follow in the swells, but it would give me some decent looks for a few seconds before disappearing in the waves. It would dive and then be difficult to relocate. Eventually, I could not find the bird again. 

The bird was much larger than a Horned Grebe, but smaller than the Double-crested Cormorants that were in the general area. The bird was dingy gray/brown on the body and back and wings, but paler towards the rear of the bird. The neck was fairly long and dark gray. It held its neck upright and the profile was longer-necked than a loon, but not extra long and attenuated like a Western Grebe. The head showed a distinct whitish patch extending from the bill back towards the back of the head, covering the cheek area and throat. This area was whiter than on the bird in Tallahassee that I saw a couple of weeks ago, but not stark black and white like in a Horned Grebe. The crown was dark gray and the dark area extended down below the eye and down the nape of the neck. The bill was stout and long - more like a loon than the short bill of a Horned Grebe and seemed dark above and yellowish below, but that was hard to discern at this distance. 

I am going to try to relocate the bird at lunch today.

There were also quite a few jaegers at the Inlet. I counted 11, mostly Parasitic Jaegers and two Pomarine Jaegers and a few too far out to determine. There was a flock of 35 Black Scoters that flew by heading south. There were lots of Northen Gannets and the Purple Sandpiper is also still here.

Michael

Michael Brothers
Marine Science Center
Ponce Inlet, FL

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