05-04-01

While waiting for a presscheck in Campbell this afternoon I visited Los Gatos Creek County Park and followed the bike path for a mile or so. A few interesting birds such as Caspian Ternand Bullock's Oriole made an appearance.

But the most wonderful thing I encountered was a Pied-billed Grebe on a nest. In fact, I saw two active nests. The more easily observed nest was next to the bride near the picnic area close to Hwy 17 and Camden Avenue. I watched for 20 minutes as both adults loaded the nest with new green building material -- mostly aquatic grass and vines. They frequenly added this new material to the water-logged and blackening older material. Almost the entire time, the four pale green-gray eggs sat unattended and in plain view atop the floating nest. I wondered how long they could survive without being incubated. The adults had constructed the nest in the midst of floating vegetation and preferred accessing their raft from under water because the greenery made a surface approach difficult. At one time an adult dragged a vine that had to have been 4' long to the structure. Finally, I watched as one adult clambered up onto the nest and shuffled over the eggs. It was especially interesting because I've seen grebe feet only a few times and never at such close range. I had never seen a grebe on a nest before today.