(Written Sunday 12th May)
Lord, this no Internet access is killing me. Apart from a couple of hours in the library (which was spent checking my email – who knew that mail to my de-activated account would still be forwarded to my “temporary” gmail address?!) I haven’t been online for a week, and it’s driving me up the wall. Whatever did we do before T’Internet came along to waste countless hours of our lives on?
Of course it frees up time for other things, so I was going through some old images to clear a bit of space on my hard drive when I came across this shot from last September, which I had totally forgotten about:
Pretty nondescript don’t you think? At the time I wasn’t even sure what I was looking at, and something else (probably the heron, of which more another time) must’ve caught my eye – I can be very easily distracted sometimes – so never got round to checking. Of course I know now it was a young Great Crested Grebe
Nothing “great” to look at; not back then anyway. Fast forward a few months and have another look:
Quite a difference I’m sure you’ll agree! Done up in all his finery he’s a totally different prospect. (Of course I’m being a little presumptuous here; there’s no way to tell the sexes apart as they’re identical.) He looked a little lonely for a while, then out of nowhere a partner appeared on the scene:
With the dearth of wildfowl around the lake recently – the harsh winter, late spring, and a lack of cover near the water are a big part of the problem – it looked like we weren’t going to see any chicks at all being born this year, so I was delighted to see the Grebes nest building, as they only do that for one reason!
I made a point of going down to check on them every day, just to keep an eye on things, which is how I know they always mate around the same time every day (around 6.15 – 6.45 pm if you’re wondering,) so I was distraught last Friday to see that the nest looked deserted, and there was no sign of the Grebes anywhere.
I was worried that, whatever had caused them to desert a nest they’d taken such care in building together, they had gone for good.
However come Saturday I saw that, rather than flying off, they had decided to move home and set up on the raft in the middle of the lake instead:
They are nothing if not resourceful, and seem keen on recycling: on the Sunday morning (when I was up & out at 6 am) I saw that the male (sorry, being presumptuous again) was dismantling what was left of the old nest to build the new one.
On a side note, this yielded the following image:
Bold as brass, and around the size of a (smallish) dinner plate, 2 terrapins basking in the early morning sun! I (almost) got a great shot of one of them coming up for air the other evening, but I was a tad too slow & ended up with a very bitty image of it just below the surface. Still, something else to keep an eye out for.
My big worry now is that the raft may not be the safest place to try to raise chicks; it gets very busy on there, especially with Herring Gulls, and I’m afraid the young may be predated on by some of the other birds. As it is, mum’s already having to tell the neighbours to keep the noise down!
As far as I can tell she hasn’t been off the nest in the last few days (at least not while I’ve been there) so fingers crossed she’s laid already. I really hope it all goes well for them.
A quick postscript:
When I was over at the lake today I was surprised to see the 2 male Red-crested Pochards together (although one didn’t seem too happy at being followed around everywhere!) and no sign of the female. Is it too much to hope she’s nested up somewhere to lay? That would be so cool.