This record reached the second round but was ultimately not accepted. Members thought that it was likely this species, but Clark’s Grebe was not ruled out and so it could not be accepted as a Western Grebe. This record was accepted at Class III as an Western/Clark’s Grebe (Aechmophorus sp.).

Species: Submitted as Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis.

Date of Sighting:   30 November 2011 to 30 November 2011

Observer(s): Barbara Ritzheimer
Date of Submission: 2011
Submitted by: Barbara Ritzheimer

Written Description: Yes          Photo: No       Specimen: No         Recording: No



Below are the comments submitted during the first round of voting. We have opened the comments so you can discuss your thoughts with the other committee members before your second round of voting.

1st Round Votes (4 III/3 IV-A)

  1. Al Guarente – Class III -Comments:   Description was right on. I have to accept this sighting.
  2. Dave DeReamus – Class III – Comments:  I believe the description is good enough to accept this identification.
  3.  Tom Johnson – Class  III – Comments:  This seems like a very good description of Western Grebe despite its rarity in Pennsylvania.  This is an accept vote based on the documentation – I’m not familiar with the observer – if anyone has reservations, I’d be happy to discuss the record.
  4. Geoff Malosh – Class  III – Comments:  I am willing to accept this as Aechmophorus sp., as the description touches on all of the key points for this group, including an indication of the bird’s size. However there is not enough detail/discussion to eliminate Clark’s Grebe. The key point on the coloration around the eye is stated simply as “the black on top of the head went down just past the eye”. For an Aechmophorus in non-breeding plumage I believe a more critical examination of the lores is key, and this is absent from the discussion.
  5. Ramsay Koury – Vote:  Class IV-A – Discussion:   This is an interesting sighting.  I feel the observer likely had a Western Grebe, but I am not sure she completely ruled out a Clark’s Grebe.
  6. Ben Coulter – Class  IV-A – Comments:  Based on the description, I cannot conclusively rule out Clark’s Grebe.  The description (which could have been lifted from a field guide) is suggestive of Aechmophorus sp.  I am troubled by the observer’s admission that she was looking through the book instead of watching the bird.
  7. Drew Weber – Class IV-A – Comments: This may be a good record but I feel that there should be mention of Double-crested Cormorant, with a juvenile cormorant possibly being the bird most people would mistake for an Aechmophorus grebe.