Posts Tagged ‘Little Grebe’

Keith and I went off for a days birdwatching at the London Wetland centre.

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Our arrival was greeted by a party of Pied Wagtails at the entrance to the reserve and these were briefly joined by a Grey Wagtail, which was unfortunately flushed by a passer-by before we could get photos. We proceeded to walk the southern route first stoping at the hides on the way to the central tower hide. There were a good selection of species on show but none of the reserves specialities (Bittern, Jack Snipe, Water Rail) were visible.

Wigeon

Wigeon

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Gadwall

Gadwall

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

Little Grebe

Little Grebe


Whilst in the tower hide we heard that a Bittern had been seen near the WWF hide and so we retraced our steps hoping to find it still on show, but alas no luck. Then it was off to the coffee shops for a cup of hot chocolate to drive out the effects of the biting wind before making our way along the northern side of the reserve. We continued to add species to the days list but still those specialities eluded us. We spent the last hour in the Wildside hide looking out over the reed bed in the hope of seeing a Bittern flying to roost but it was going to be one of those days although we were treated to the sight of the Ring-necked parakeets flying to roost as we made our way back to the centre in the the fading light.

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A good days birdwatching nether the less with a total of over 40 species on our final list.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Danson Park Lake

Danson Park Lake

A free morning and although it was damp, misty and cold I decided to go off to Danson Park in Welling to see if there were any winter Thrushes present. Danson Park much like my own local patch is the remnants of an old country house. Unlike my patch it has remained intact as a public park consisting of woodland and grassland surrounding a large lake.

Danson House from the lakeside

Danson House from the lakeside

My route was to follow the lake edge starting on the southern side. Very soon I had good views of both Little and Great Crested Grebes.

Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

At the western end a cormorant was drying its wings in classical pose and a Grey Heron was standing sentinel like on the bank.

Great Cormorant

Great Cormorant

Grey Heron

Grey Heron

In the western woodland a Magpie posed on the fence post

Magpie

Magpie

Coming back along the northern edge of the lake there was a large flock of Canada Geese with a few Egyptian Geese.

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

And what about those thrushes. I had almost reached my starting point again when I spotted two feeding thrushes on the ground. I moved closer and identified them as a Redwing and a Mistle Thrush. I moved closer to get a picture and then a dog rushed out of the trees and they were gone. Ah well that’s what happens in public parks. Maybe next time.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

LIttle Grebe

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Birds, Natural History
Tags:
Little Grebe

Little Grebe

The Little Grebe is one of my favourite birds. It is found across the UK, but is generally absent from upland areas. It breeds on lakes, gravel pits and slow moving rivers although in winter it can often be found on sheltered coasts and estuaries.

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The rich combination of red and dark brown with the prominant white spot at the base of the bill, its breeding plumage, is lost in winter as it reverts to a grey- buff plumage.

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Current estimates put the breeding population at between 4000 and 8000 pairs with a wintering population of around 17000 birds in the UK.

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

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A bracing walk this morning on the patch as the remnants of Hurricane Gonzalo blow through the UK. Needless to say most birds were keeping their heads down and were well into cover. There is still an issue with the algae on the Tarn although today the western end was clear but the eastern end was still thickly covered.

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Given the high mortality amongst Geese and Ducks this year due to the avian botulism which has flourished as a result of the algal cover, I was most suprised to record a record number of Moorhen on the lake. Looking back, my counts for the last couple of trips have been high too which suggests that despite the conditions and problems they have had a very good breeding year. This is so much in marked contrast to the other waterbirds.

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The little Grebe is still present although now well on the way to winter plumage and much changed from when he/she arrived 2 months ago.

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Photo taken today

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Photo taken in August

The numbers of Ring-necked parakeets are beginning to climb particularly parties travelling into the roost site (about 2 miles away) in the evening, but also during the day the parties hanging around the garden are increasing in size. I like the picture below as it is the first I have managed to take which shows the rose coloured ring on the neck which gives them their alternate name of Rose-Ringed Parakeet.

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Th weather has changed and, even allowing for the passage of ex-Hurricane Gonzalo, the weather is becoming cooler and wetter as we slip into autumn. Also the autumnal colours are beginning to show on the bushes.

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In the afternoon, a long awaited event happened when a female House sparrow made a brief visit to the feeder station (My first record of this species on patch for over 14 years) along with a visit by a Red Fox

Red Fox

Red Fox

Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)

Keith joined me today for a trip around some of my local birdwatching sites. First stop was the Tarn  I had been watching one of the local Sparrowhawks being harassed  by Crows whilst I waited for him to arrive and typically it disappeared from sight at the moment he did. It was good to see that the algal bloom has begun to recede on the Tarn – hopefully a sign of improving conditions although a man from the water-board who was testing the water confirmed that it still had a very low oxygen level.

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The Little Grebe seen 10 days ago was again present although it was tucked up against an island in undergrowth. We heard a Grey Wagtail call on two occasions during our visit but we could not locate it.

Then it was onto Sutcliffe Park LNR. Here the stars of the show were the dragonflies with over 20 Common darters and approx 6 Migrant Hawkers plus a single Comon Blue damselfly and a single Brown Hawker.

Common Darter

Common Darter

Our final stop was the Greenwich Ecology Park where the Kingfisher posed for us.

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Grey Heron

Grey Heron

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

We found a Red Admiral on a bush by the Thames

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An intresting sighting was one of the boats from the Tall Ships festival still present on the river

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Finally The one that was not a bird. When first seen this piece of wood was doing a very good impression of a skulking Bittern!

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Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Common Kingfisher [sp] (Alcedo atthis)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

When I returned from Bookham Common on Wednesday, I decided to do the weekly survey of my local patch. It is still quite a depressing scene around the Tarn as although the water pump at the Western end is managing to break up the bloom and aerate the water.

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At the eastern end though there is no change with a heavy bloom laying on the water

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There are only a few water birds present. In fact one coot and one Moorhen.

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Imagine my suprise therefore when amongst the bloom at the eastern I end I found a Little Grebe, the first sighting since an individual during April and May last year.

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Also had a distant view of a Red Fox by the Tarn. He saw me from a way off and moved smartly towards the undergrowth. He paused for a moment, giving me a good look trying to decide if I was a threat and was then off into the trees and vegetation.

This is the first survey since the beginning of the summer which recorded no Dragonflies or Butterflies and this is I guess a sign of the changing seasons as we go from summer into autumn. However as I returned home I noticed two bumblebees on the Lavender. I was suprised to find they were two male Red-tailed Bees, a species I have not recorded on the patch previously.

Bumble bee
Male Red-tailed Bumblebee
Photo by Yersinia (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yersinia/)

A last minute decision to pay a visit to the London Wetland Centre. There had been some butterflies sighted over the weekend and I was keen to see if they were still around. Unfortunately the warm sunny conditions of the past 3 days were replaced by cool overcast ones and so the prospect of early spring insects was not good. But then there is always the birds at this excellent reserve.

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My first stop was the wildlife garden, but there was no sign of any insects there.

Bug hotel in the Wildlife Garden

Bug hotel in the Wildlife Garden

So onto the hides. The usual waterbirds and Gulls are present although it seems as though the Bitterns have left for their breeding sites as they haven’t been seen for a week or so. The most interesting sighting was a male Sparrowhawk which appeared from a hedge and appeared to try to take something from off of the lakes surface (A behavior that none of us watching had sen before). It was immediately set on by a large flock of Crows which drove it back into the hedge. The Crows all perched on the trees tops surrounding it almost as though daring it to come out again. After a few minutes it flew out and using its superior flight skills evaded its pursuers and flew off to the other side of the reed-bed.

Sparrowhawk hiding in hedge to evade Crows

Sparrowhawk hiding in hedge to evade Crows

Otherwise it seemed generally quiet although some birds like this Coot had obviously begun building a nest.

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Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Ring necked Parakeets

Ring necked Parakeets

Finally as the afternoon was drawing to the close, the sun decided to break through and I saw my first (and only) insect of the day, a single White-tailed Bumblebee.

Despite seeming quite, I still managed to record 40 species of bird on the reserve, so a good days birding.

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Mew Gull [sp] (Larus canus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Collared Dove [sp] (Streptopelia decaocto)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

White-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum)

Spent the morning at Sutcliffe Park

Was pretty quiet bird-wise although I managed to get some photos of adult and Juvenile Little Grebe

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There were definitely fewer butterflies today with no Gatekeepers or Meadow Brown which were the most numerous species earlier in the summer. There were 6 Common Blues and a Holly Blue plus the usual Whites. There were 4 species of Dragonfly with at least 2 Migrant Hawkers present together with Common Blue Damselfly, Common Darter and an Emperor Dragonfly patrolling the Lake

Migrant Hawker

Migrant Hawker

Common Blue Damselfly

Common Blue Damselfly

Back at home a Sparrowhawk flew through the Garden but didn’t hang around and there were 2 Jackdaws (the second day running after a three month absence).

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)

Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

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Pictures of Little Grebe taken at Rye Meads RSPB reserve