Two Grebe Chicks Hatched

We went back, last week, to see how the Grebes were doing and to check on the eggs. To our surprise and delight two of the four eggs had hatched and the young were already quite active. You will notice that the parent feeds the chicks with soft, downy, feathers; a quick look in the RSPB Handbook revealed that this may help in the formation of pellets.

Click on the image and you will be able to see the chicks.

There is another batch of images of the parents swapping over at the nest which I will post later.

Nesting-Grebe-1-2 Nesting-Grebe-4Nesting-Grebe-3Nesting-Grebe-2

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Nesting-Grebe-14

 

Early Morning at Cheddar Reservoir

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This beautiful Great Crested Grebe was hunting very early on Sunday morning. The reservoir, and much of the Somerset Levels, was covered in a thick blanket of mist which muted sound and reduced the light to an almost monochrome state. We sat as close as possible to the waters edge and watched this one diving for breakfast, hoping that it might surface with another pike. Sadly the best it could find was a couple of minnows.

Great Crested Grebe at Cheddar Reservoir

Because of the heavy and continuous rain we didn’t take our dogs up onto the peak this morning, deciding instead to walk them at Cheddar reservoir in the afternoon when the rain had cleared. Fortunately I took the camera and a telephoto lens; never, never, ever leave your camera at home. The reservoir is home to a healthy population of these delightfully elegant waterbirds. Sadly, as with the Little Egrets, they were hunted for their feathers (and ornate head plumes), leading to their virtual extermination in the UK in the 19th century. What we didn’t realise was how ambitious they could be when it came to prey fish. This one has an immature pike in its beak. They dive to feed and also to escape, preferring this to flying. But this one has chosen to paddle madly to avoid having its prize stolen by another Grebe. The 4th, 5th, 10th and 11th images show just how determined the would-be thief was to steal the pike.

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