|Lone grebe, fishing off the end of the wharf.|
I see few of these grebes around here; I used to notice them more often back on the mainland, near Richmond. Cornell says their populations may be declining.
Around 1900, Western Grebes were extensively hunted for their silky white breast and belly feathers, which were used in clothing and hats. This aquatic species is also sensitive to pesticides, to other causes of poor water quality, and entanglement in fishing line. Western Grebes nest in colonies and can be flushed by boaters that approach too closely, leaving their nests vulnerable to gulls and other predators. On their coastal wintering grounds they are vulnerable to oil spills and are caught in gill nets. According to NatureServe, their status is of particular concern near the edges of their range, in Kansas, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and British Columbia, Canada. (Cornell, western grebe) (my emphasis)
Update: This article was posted in a comment: Declines in marine birds trouble scientists. It adds lack of food sources to the causes of disappearance of the birds.