As regular visitors to and friends of my blog will know, I've been keeping an eye on two pairs of breeding Great Crested Grebes. I'm now aware of four pairs but two of them are in Hatfield Forest (where I visited yesterday) but this is too far away for me to keep an eye on. In this case though, both the mums-to-be are already sitting on their nests. I'll have to rely on Pete to keep me updated.
Unfortunately yet again, there was no sign of them at all today. I searched the whole pond scanning with binoculars but to no avail. I think I have to accept they've gone elsewhere. I shall monitor of course, but without a great deal of hope.
I went back today for the first time since I discovered the courting couple on 5 April. So nine days later and what did I see.
Firstly, this mallard had three young ducklings who followed her at great speed.
and, not as far as I know a breeding bird, but certainly a flying one and the only reasonable flight shot of the morning - an Egyptian Goose!
But, the Great Crested Grebes - YES - they were still there in more-or-less the same spot and very much a "pair". There is a possible nesting site but if it is, it's about 12 inches from a Coot's nest (the latter having 6 eggs but the nest unattended).
They were enjoying the calm day (sunny to start with but soon clouded over again!) with some swimming, preening, displays of bonding etc. I was there about 10 minutes after the Park opened and for at least 1.5 hours I just sat in the same spot enjoying watching and photographing such splendid birds.
Another attraction of Painshill Park is that, although it was the school holidays and many children were about, the size of the Park allows you to "get away from it all" and find quiet places. Where I was watching the Grebes was one of them! I enjoyed the quiet too.
(probably my favourite shot of the day)
Eventually I stood up and headed off for some lunch.
(I hadn't realised how damp the ground was!!)
From there (after a nip into the Supermarket for food supplies) I went on to Bushey Park to a) check the Grebes which, as you know weren't there, and also the pair of Egyptian Geese Goslings who look so different.
But that's a story for another day.......
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