Saturday, 6 February 2010

Grebe

Another short walk this morning as it is still so wet under foot. The peace was disturbed again this morning by people jogging, cycling and generally getting in the way. Do they not realise that Malcolm and I have sole right to the paths around this area...?
Trying to ignore everyone else, we strode along the side of the Manor Floods. Here the peace was also being shattered by the coots which were squabbling and fighting amongst themselves as usual. Among them all - and also trying to ignore all the fuss - was a lone Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus).
Shy and not too keen to have it's picture taken, it swam quickly away as I approached, but at least didn't dive to avoid me.
An expert swimmer and diver, it's main food is small fish and aquatic insects. Found almost everywhere in Britain, this is the most common and largest of the European Grebes. It is also the most 'showy'. In it's winter plumage, it is much bore drab-looking than it will be in a few weeks time when it will once again put on it's full, spring dress.
Numbers of these birds in Britain, are swelled during winter as European birds fly in to avoid the worst of the savage weather. The population regularly reaches about 20,000 individuals at this time of year.
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