Everything has it's beauty, but not everyone sees it. - Confucius
Sometimes the picture doesn't have to be perfect; it's the captured moment that counts. - me
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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Great Crested Grebe

Podiceps cristatus

The largest European grebes with a slender white neck in all plumages. In winter the face is mostly pale with just a narrow black, slightly crested, cap. In summer this pattern develops into elaborate black and chestnut plumes called tippets.





They dive to feed and also to escape, preferring this to flying.

Their courtship displays are remarkable. Most commonly they involve both members of a pair facing each other on the water and repeatedly shaking their heads or quickly turning the head away and touching their back. Such birds may then swim away, dive for nesting material then swim towards each other with their necks out flat on the water in front of them.



When they meet, they rise up together as if they're standing on the water facing each other, beaks full of vegetation, waving their heads from side to side and paddling like fury with their feet.




The standing posture gives this the name of ‘Penguin display’


Like other grebes, they will carry their young on their backs.


Their diet includes, fish, insects, amphibians and occasionally vegetable matter.






Territory disputes can be vicious affairs, sometimes involving two or more birds,





The young are independent at about 6 weeks, having the ability to dive from a very early age, and are tended by both adults.





For more birds, from around the world, click on the picture below



70 comments:

  1. Absolutely beautiful series. I have never seen young on the back of parents.PS You need to allow for foreign sign up on these petitions.Any such ideas are a disgrace and these politicians need to know there are no borders to environmental damage.As I say to people in the US, If I have half a glass of clean water, what do you have? Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River.

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  2. Thanks for your comment Gary.

    It's a shame that people outside the UK can't sign the petition, I'm sure there would be plenty of signatures. Hopefully enough will sign here to make the politicians see sense.

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  3. What a wonderful series of images. I love them all, so very beautiful and interesting.

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  4. Great post Keith, The photos illustrate the story perfectly. Well done.

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  5. Hi Keith..very nicely put together...beautiful photo and good information!!
    That fish swallowing one is a great one and the baby on Mom back is adorable!!
    Looks like they have a lot of bad hair days though!! lol
    Hope that petition gets plenty of notice!!
    Hugs!!

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  6. I can't believe that he ate the whole thing.
    Those young ones have such great markings.

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  7. Thank you Karen, glad you enjoyed them. :)

    Thanks Trevor. :)

    Grammie, thank you.
    Yea, I hope that petition does the trick.

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  8. What a fantastic collection Keith. Very interesting shots. I must take a closer look at them to see if they have a youngster on board.

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  9. Yes, my favourite. G C Grebe is the most or at least nearly the most beautiful bird, and your pictures are superb.

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  10. Thanks Trevor. A couple have the young on their backs. Lovely to see them being carried like that.

    Thank you Bob. They are a beautiful looking bird aren't they.

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  11. wow, how great, excellent pics, I love to see that and I enyoi your blog, thanks for showing this, big hugh Kathrin

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  12. Fantastic series of photos Keith. Nice you were able to add the bit of video to it.

    I see the petition is getting close to the quarter million goal. I signed it a while ago, and gave the stupid sell off idea the thumbs down on a recent YouGuv poll.

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  13. Keith this is a stunning photo essay of the Great Crested Grebe--amazing detail in your photos and I Really enjoyed the behavior captures!!!

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  14. An excellent post my friend. They are looking a bit grey at the moment but it won't be too long before those colourful ear tufts return.

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  15. Great photos and a very interesting post.

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  16. Oh my goodness...this is fabulous..I have only seen a grebe once here in my NY state yard. Poor thing landed on the mostly frozen pond and did not have the distance it needed to take off again. I tried and tried to snag it, but they are good divers and I couldn't get it. It was getting dark and I had to leave...it was gone the next morning. I was so sad....beautiful little bird..love your header....Michelle

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  17. Brilliant sequence of images, thanks for posting them.

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  18. What a great post Keith !!! The pics are absolutely wonderful :)

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  19. Comment boards are full of exclamations but yours are well deserved. Your pictures are gorgeous. You have a real gift (hard work) for getting the action shots the rest of us
    wannabes can only dream of.
    I wish you luck in guiding your government in their decision making process. How can you sell something that belongs to everybody?

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  20. what a great piece of photography, hope the petition goes well.

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  21. Good Crested Grebe series!!!
    Regards,

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  22. impressive captures here Keith. wow!!

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  23. You never cease to amaze me, Keith. I felt as if I was watching an episode of "Nature" as I read this post. These are some beautiful images and an education, to boot. Wonderful!

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  24. Superb post of superb birds.

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  25. Such a fascinating post! The photos are stunning and enjoyed the informative Commentary! I think my favourite photo must be the young all snuggled down on mum's back! Just adorable!

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  26. Wow! What a wonderful set of pics on the Grebes. I am totally fascinated by them now.

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  27. Kathrin, thank you. I’m glad you enjoy your visits :)

    Thanks John. I really hope these petitions can make this arrogant bunch change their minds. I e-mailed my local MP, but still awaiting a proper reply. If I get one, I’ll post it here.

    Thank you Dixxe. They are great birds to watch. At the moment they are beginning their courtship rituals. Amazing to see.

    Thank you Frank. We have a few here getting their colourful headdress now. Beautiful birds.

    Thanks Mick. :)

    Michelle, thank you. They are excellent divers, and seem to stay down for ages. I’m sure your bird was ok. Thanks for the header compliment.

    Thank you Bob. :)

    Pescalune, thank you. Appreciate your comments :)

    Springman, thank you for your kind comments. And thanks for hosting this great bird theme, that is attracting and bringing together, like-minded people from around the world.
    I hope our government finally see sense on their crazy idea.

    Denzil, thank you for your comments :)

    Thank you for your comment Modesto; appreciate it. :)

    Doreen, thank you. Glad I have my archives to raid at times lol

    Linda, thank you for your kind words. Appreciate them. :)

    Thanks Adrian. They have such grace.

    Thank you Gemma. Those youngsters really snuggle down at times, and it’s easy to miss them. lol

    Sally, thank you.
    And to think our hunters almost hunted them to extinction in the 19th century, just for their feathers.

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  28. Thank you for sharing a great series of photos.

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  29. Classic shots and and overall superb presentation of this species Keith.

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  30. Awesome post, Keith! So much info...and I loved the photos of catching the fish and swallowing it down! The markings on the baby's head are gorgeous--always love seeing them and the way they snuggle up on mom for a ride.

    ...I'm just now getting around to visit blogs, so it's the first I've read about the notion to sell of your national forests. What are they thinking? It would be a tragedy...

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  31. Those are some of the most fascinating shots I've EVER SEEN! I thought I had a favorite shot and then I'd see the next one and think, no it's this one. So, I love them all!

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  32. Really outstanding captures! and a very educational post too! I learned a lot!

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  33. An excellent post Keith! Beautiful photos of a lovely bird. They always look so elegant, I think!

    I have the petition link on my blog too, the more attention the better! The fight is growing, there was a lot on the TV at the weekend about it and some very high profile people are making their voices heard.

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  34. Extremely beautiful and informative series! I hope your petition is successful.

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  35. Marvelous photos! Astonishing capture of the courtship and the fight! Truly terrific!

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  36. Thank you Neil :)

    Thanks Roy. Appreciate your comments :)

    Thanks for your comments Kelly.
    Seems governments the world over are all just as crazy. Utter madness, this idea.

    Thank you Pam, I’m glad you enjoyed them. :)

    Kerri, thank you. :)

    Thanks Jan.
    Yea, the protest is growing daily. I hope they see sense in the end.

    Thank you Pat.
    I hope so too. :)

    Hilke, thank you for your comments :)

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  37. stunning set of pics as ever!

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  38. Stunning, stunning shots and video. I am amazed by it all.
    We have several different Grebes in the area but I have never seen the amazing rituals you showed us. Thank you, MB

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  39. WOW! This is an awseome serie of wonderfull images! I love those birds and your giving me alot!!! My favorite is the one of the young on the back of its parent ;)

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  40. holy crap! Tons of awesome grebe shots, how'd ya get them in all stages. Love the courtship dance - so cool, always wanted to see (and photograph) that. Great series!!

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  41. Thanks Maria. They are such interesting birds to watch, and their courtship is going on now, over here, so a good chance to see it all.

    Thanks Dominic. It's good to see them being carried like that. They're certainly great parents.

    Thank you Jill. These were plundered from my archives, and were taken over a time.
    It's all luck really, being in the right place and time lol
    The video was from a couple of weeks ago.

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  42. Those photos are spectacular.
    I've never seen the GC doing the courtship, nor with young ones or fighting.
    Amazing!

    Keeping my fingers crossed that many will sign up for the petition!

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  43. That's a fantastic post - really enjoyed looking through the images and the video reminded me of what I have to look out for this spring! Great stuff.

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  44. Thank you Nicole.
    About 200 thousand plus have signed so far. Still need more though :)

    Thanks for your comment Mark. Some of the birds have started their courtship already.

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  45. Outstanding shots! You managed to capture some amazing situations, excellent work.
    I would gladly sign the petition (any petition for environmental preservation is welcome), but it's for US citizens only...

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  46. Thank you for your comments JM.
    Yea, it's a shame the petition isn't open to more people worldwide.

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  47. Wow. What an amazing series of photo. Im in love with so many of these . Outstanding.
    Im going to miss out when on my holiday. I will be back to catch up. Keep on shooting and the good for you for posting the petition.

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  48. Oh my goodness - this was an AMAZING post! The photos are spectacular (I loved the momma carrying the baby) and the information was really great! I loved it!!

    The password for my post today on Vintage Squirrel is loco. :) Hope you get a chuckle out of what goes down in the library! :) Have a wonderful day, and give Jim and hug from me! :)

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  49. Thank you Lisa.
    Hope you have a really good holiday :)

    Thanks Jen :)
    Jim has had so many hugs recently, he's beginning to think I've probably gone mad lol

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  50. Oooh lovely pics as usual Keith

    Roll on Spring again :D

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  51. Wow! Really good documentation and explanation of their courtship. Those pics and video are great!

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  52. Thanks Tricia. I might need the online archives again soon; the computer has just died on me. This laptop isn't up to much though. :(

    Thanks Ryan, glad you enjoyed them.

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  53. Oh no... sorry to hear that Keith... I empathise with that... there's a lot my laptop doesn't like! Good luck!

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  54. Superb series of shots and some brilliant action captures. Is this the same family that you have been able to watch throughout the year?

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  55. Thanks Adam. The series is from various families, over a period of time. I'm fortunate here, that there are so many Great Crested Grebes on our lakes. At the moment, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say there were 25 to 30 on just my local lake. We have about 11 lakes in Milton Keynes altogether.

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  56. Amazing series. The time you would have spent on capturing these Grebes in their various moods and action is time well spent and it shows in the variety and comprehensiveness of this series.

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  57. Thank you Thomas, appreciate your comments.

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  58. Wonderful pictures, Keith. I like especially the one with the grebe carrying the young on its back, I have never seen something like that.

    By the way, I have noticed that the displayed size of your photos is bigger than it used to be, it's a good change. :-)

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  59. Thanks Petra.
    Yea, I fancied a change for the new year, so the pictures are bigger. Glad you enjoyed them. :)

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  60. Magnificent photos of the Great Crested Grebes Keith! What a truly beautiful species. I love grebes of all kinds. I love everything about them, from their mating rituals to their tending to the young. What an incredible bird.

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  61. Thanks Larry. Yea, they are special. Always look so graceful too.

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  62. Sorry to hear about another whacky idea by another government. I wish I could sign the petition too.

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  63. Eating and fighting... these are very difficult moments to capture. Your photos are very good especially the one with fighting scene!:) Greetings, Asia;)

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  64. Thanks Joanna. I had luck on my side with these shots :)

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  65. Beautiful series of duck shots, as I enjoy thoroughly seeing all their rituals ! What an amazing moment of the duck eating the fish...The water is very serene with lovely ripples ...Superb color and contrast, thanks for posting! Greetings, Linda

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  66. Thank you for stopping by Linda.
    Appreciate your comments. Glad you enjoyed the pictures. :)

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  67. Hi Keith,
    nice to see you again! I almost didn't recognize you - I mean your profile picture. It's big difference between this "rocker" ;) and the picture from last year - a camuflated photographer.
    I've checked your posts since september last year and foud some great shots. Very nice portraits with great tits, cormorant, black swan, mute swan, robin, ... and this post with courtship dance is a dream. Every photographer wants to catch such a moment.

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  68. Thank you Andor. Good to see you back :)
    Glad you enjoyed the posts.

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