Sunday, 21 February 2016

Post 391 - Rare new guest - Red Necked Grebe at Nosterfield

Red Necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) at Nosterfield
the best shot I could get with my camera. It was a
'grand' Yorkshire day and the water really was that blue! 
Hey everyone, Post 391 today and another find at a half term excursion to tell you about today. It was last Thursday and it was a 'Grand day' as they say in Yorkshire. I just had to get out so Mum, Dad, Esme and I headed to my local nature reserve, Nosterfield! You'll know if you read much of my blog that this is one of my favourite places and I love volunteering here as well as visiting. When we got to the reserve we bumped into the volunteers on a work day! We'd not put this one in the diary as it was half term and we didn't know what our plans would be but it was really nice saying hi to everyone and very handy too as they tipped me off that a special bird had been seen on one of the lakes there. So I set off to have a look. It's not one of the lakes I go to every time so it was good to have a different walk too.

It was at the far side of this lake
Well I got there and set up my new telescope and I had the chance to try out my new digi-scoping kit. It was a good job I had it as you will see from the photos as my camera didn't get very good shots. I'm still working out the digi-scope kit too but I hope you can tell from the shots that the bird is a beautiful Red Necked Grebe! Another lifer for me!

Well as this is a new species I had to do a bit of research and here's what I found:

  • The first thing I found out is that it is another Red List species as numbers are declining in summer and winter in the UK.
  • It is the rarest of the 5 species of Grebe found in the UK which are Red Necked Grebe, Little Grebe, Great Created Grebe, Slavonian Grebe and Black Necked Grebe.
  • There aren't many in the UK, a few (around 20) stay in the summer and might breed. They are joined by a few more in the winter when there are around 55 in the UK.
One digi-scoped image - it's harder than it looks!
  • Mostly they seem to hang around the south and east coasts so it seems I was really lucky to see one at Nosterfield.
  • Globally there are estimated to be over 190,000 and they mainly live and breed in Europe and Asia.
  • They are similar sized to Great Crested Grebes, just a little bit smaller with shorter necks.
  • They change plumage from summer to winter and this one was starting to change to its summer plumage where it develops its red neck that gives it its name.
  • In the UK at least they like to live on ponds, lakes and at the coast.
  • To eat they like insects, fish and crustaceans which they dive for and sometimes they bring them to the surface and shake the prey to kill it before eating it.
  • They weigh between 0.8kg - 1.6kg and are around 43-56cm long.
And a second - have to get the focus sorted! 
  • When breeding both male and female help to build a nest of floating vegetation anchored to some aquatic vegetation. Both parents also help with incubation of the eggs. 
  • One of my favourite Grebe facts is about their young - this one and the Great Crested Grebe at least - once the young hatch they climb on the parent's back and are carried around until they get too big. I've seen photos of this but not yet seen that in  the wild - I will be on the look out this Spring so I can hopefully get a picture!
Here's a few links to more information - check out the great photos at Arkive so you can see just how pretty these birds are. I will figure out my digi-scoping soon I hope!

Hope you enjoyed,


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