While the freezing over of the university lake largely drove off the Goosander, it has been compensated with the return of the Great-crested Grebes.Long-term readers will know this is the fourth year I’ll have been following this pair. One appeared on the lake Monday 30th January, and by the Wednesday the other was with it. As they tend to be monogamous and loyal to a breeding site, the chances are it’s the same pair I’ve been following through success and failure.
When I don’t have the camera with me they have been pretty obliging subjects, swimming and fishing close to the banks and bridges. The two times I’ve gone down with the camera they have been as far from me as they can manage! Sadly I have, again, missed the courtship dance when they reunited.
Interestingly, despite efforts to create natural nesting habitat, they still like the bit of chicken-wire fencing for anchoring their nest.
Apologies for the mobile phone camera images, hopefully what you can see above is the male to the left of the nest, and the female lying down flat on it. She had been very vocal when they were swimming along, and headed straight to take-up this prone position. You can probably guess what happened next…
The male is now on the right, and the female is sitting up, having been mated. It was brief, he basically just ran over her back, and he actually defecated in the process. This was all just a week (6th February) after reuniting so they are not wasting time. We’ll see if it was a successful mating.
As always, I will track the pair, their nest, and any chicks over the summer.