Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Crested

A lovely, but still rather chilly walk this morning over to Osborne's Pond, revealed one of Britain's most beautiful birds.  Swimming about on the pond was a Great-crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus), now sporting the red and orange head-plumes which give it the name.
Even in the dull weather (before the sun came out this morning), the colours on the crest were almost glowing after the winter and it's more drab black, grey and white.  With a winter population of about 19,000 individuals and a breeding population of about 9,400 pairs, they have come back from the brink of extinction in the UK to become probably our most common Grebe.  Their destruction was caused by them being hunted and killed for their elaborate head plumes which would adorn the hats of 'ladies' in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  It was the plight of this bird which led to the foundation of the RSPB.
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