While on a trip to Fountain Hills a few weeks ago I obtained my first presentable photos of Eared Grebes. We do fairly well with Grebe species in Phoenix, and there are usually four of five species present, if in small numbers, throughout the area. Arizona itself can host all seven North American species, and last year I managed to see all seven within a month of each other.
Behind the Pied-billed Grebe, which can be found in small quantities on just about every gold course pond, city park pond, and water treatment/reclamation area in Maricopa, the Eared Grebe is the second most common. But like the Western Grebe, these birds seem to stay in very specific areas throughout autumn and winter, earning them the very nebulous and dreaded notation of "locally common."
They can be found at the Tempe Town Lake, Fountain Hills, and some other areas in west and east Phoenix, such as the Glendale and Avondale Recharge Ponds and Granite Reef Salt River sites. But there are other areas, seemingly just as large and deep, when I never see them nor have seen them reported. As such. they're not an uncommon bird, but it's always a treat to see them, even though they seldom come close enough to shore for photos.