A water dance of grebes … that is what a group of grebes is called and Navajo State Park has its own water dance of western grebes.
Perhaps they earned their collective noun because they perform several elaborate dances while mating. In one dance, the two mating birds rapidly begin “running” across the water surface until both birds dive down into the water. In the second dance, the two birds raise their bellies out of the water and caress each other with vegetation held in their bills. Although no breeding dances of western grebes have been observed at Navajo, what visitors do enjoy seeing is the birds’ choreographed surface diving. This striking bird with its long white swan like neck and black capped head is truly a pleasure to observe.
In addition to all of the birds, flora and fauna at Navajo, there are also human activities. Approximately 55 first-graders from Ignacio Elementary, plus parents and teachers, enjoyed a day at the park last Friday. The students learned about the birds and animals at Navajo State Park, made pinecone birdfeeders, roasted hot dogs and s’mores, and watched a fire safety demonstration. With the help of a spotting scope, several students were able to see the American white pelicans that are currently making Navajo Lake their home. However, the highlight of the day for everyone was learning about boat safety with Park Rangers Dave Bell and Wayne Strauss.
In preparation for a busy season at Navajo Lake, volunteer orientation took place on Saturday. It is never too late to sign up as a volunteer at Navajo State Park. More drivers for the popular shuttle program are needed and there are other volunteer opportunities available as well. A free annual Colorado State Parks pass is offered after 48 hours of volunteer service. Call the park at 883-2208 if you are interested.