Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Love On The Water.

Since the beginning of April I have visited Bretton Country Park, West Yorks, every 10 days, to observe the resident Great Crested Grebes. 

Walking down to the hide on the Upper Lake I always experience a terrific feeling of expectation.You enter the hide from a pathway at the back of the hide. Once inside you have full lake frontage.

A pair of Great Crested Grebes have nested in the middle of the lake. It is possible to take some distant shots from the hide.

Before the breeding season both sexes acquire conspicuous and beautiful dark head plumes which are erected during the height of the courtship display.

The courtship display involves head-shaking, diving, fluffing out the feathers in the so- called 'cat' display, and presenting each other with water plants while raising from the water breast to breast.

At the end of April on a regular visit I was dismayed----they had abandoned their nest.Not such a surprise I suppose as in the previous visit I had seen a mink in the water around their nest. Predation of eggs must be a real threat .

Nature fights back as on the next visit they had sited a new nest further up on the lake---a raft of water weeds attached to reeds to stop it drifting away.

This visit I was fortunate to witness the Great Crested Grebes mating ritual. She was 'in position' for some time before the male took the hint. Then it was all over very quickly.

My visit yesterday on a hot June day saw the grebe still on the nest. Its partner was away up the lake diving for a meal.

I so look forward to visiting next time to see if I can spot the chicks. Fingers crossed!