BY MICHAEL J. WILLIAMS
January 20, 2014; 01:09 PM
Lake Elsinore apparently has lost its luster as a winter retreat for grebes and several other bird species, possibly due to drought conditions.
An annual count conducted by the local chapter of the Audubon Society in late December tallied a total of 9,388 birds, a 62 percent drop from the year before.
The receding numbers were due in large part to the exodus by the thousands of both western and Clark’s grebes – known for their diving and swimming. The birds had established Lake Elsinore as a popular nesting spot several years ago. Only 107 of the western variety and 11 of the Clark’s birds were found, according to the society’s report released this week.
“We saw hardly any western and Clark’s grebes,” said Wildomar resident Julie Szabo, who organizes the yearly count. “We had 10,000 grebes last year and they’re not here.”