My blog is mostly about wildlife, particularly birds, walking, days out, all growing things and anything else that comes to mind.
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Monday, 16 May 2011

Painshill Park Great Crested Grebes - 2nd pair have eggs!

It's been a while since I went local patch birding or visiting anywhere local even. So today, eventually I managed to get over to Painshill for a check-up on the Grebes.

But on my way around the lake, (and having been advised by a friend there) I came across the "other couple". This pair had never seemed to quite get the hang of the weed dancing or nest building but at some point they must have done, as they are now nesting. I say "they" but in the entire time I was watching, I only ever saw (whom I presume to be) the female.

She was sitting quietly when I arrived. The nest is completely out in the open with no protection whatsoever and is about 20 feet from the lake's bank.

Although she was sitting contentedly this soon changed as a couple of Mute Swans swam past. Although they took no interest in the Grebe she was immediately on the defensive.

Making an aggressive rasping noise she opened her beak threateningly in the direction of the nearest swan.

They were rather close!

Eventually they swam away and Mrs. Grebe got off her nest for a swim revealing 4 eggs.

She swam and dived and eventually came back to the nest - had a quick look - and swam off again.

In the meantime some Canada Geese arrived to take up their place on the lake.

and finally Mrs. Grebe returned and settled down to the task of incubation.
Where Mr. Grebe was I've no idea... I didn't see him at all despite looking further up and down the lake.

I then went over to the other side and found our original two youngsters - and my, have the grown. They were calling constantly which made finding them so much easier.

One parent found a "tiddler" which was promptly fed to a youngster.

At this point, Major gave chase to Minor - thrashing through the water like a power boat!

Over on the bank, serentity was personified by a grooming Mute Swan

acting like a contortionist.

More fishing ensued and this time I thought, wrongly as it turned out, it was a parent's turn for a meal. The fish seemed far too big for a little beak and throat but, it turned out, it was not too big at all!!

And with several gulps, the fish became a youngster's meal.

You can see the "lump" of the fish as it goes down!

So the little ones seem to be doing OK which is great! :D But the new nest - if Dad doesn't reappear - may not last. She spent a couple of few-minute sessions of the nest so the eggs were quite exposed and cooling. time will tell!


Simon Taylor said...

great story and great images. The nest is quite typical of GC Grebe, on my local patch there are two nests very similar to yours. One contains 3 eggs, the other was being built on Saturday. A few minutes off the nest now and again wont hurt but does leave the contents open to predation.

Roy said...

Amazing sequence of shots Tricia, the Great Cresties will defend their nest against anything including a nasty Mute.

holdingmoments said...

What a great sequence of pictures Tricia, telling the story.
I hope that Grebe is successful with her eggs; and that little one swallowing the fish.....amazing.

Kah-Wai Lin said...

Nice series of images!

ShySongbird said...

That nest does look very vulnerable Tricia and emphasised in the photo with the swan dwarfing it!

Lovely series of photos. Amazing that the little one could swallow that huge fish :)

Pete said...

superb set trish

Pete said...

superb set trish

Tricia said...

Simon - thank you. I'm more concerned about predation too but - the other pair had 4 eggs and successfully hatched 2.

Thanks Roy - and they've got quite a pointy beak to jab at marauders if needed eh.

Keith - thank you - I shall be keeping an eye on them; just hope Dad turns up!

Ka-Wai Lin - thank you :)

Jan - I really thought that Dad was going to have to fish himself - was fascinated watching junior swallow it down.... took a little while!

Pete - thank you, thank you :D
I was rather chuffed with the open beak shots.

oldcrow61 said...

The swan pictures are just gorgeous. Of course you do a marvelous job on all the photos.

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