Grebes On Show

We have as they say, been having a bit of a lean time with our birds of late.  Seems the weather, the season, the food, the  lack of time in the bush, all have contributed to a fairly, well, lean period.

We were all prepared to enjoy a season with a pair of Jacky Winter, but due to unfortunate circumstances, perhaps bad weather, they lost the clutch a few days from flight.  A local Tawny Frogmouth clutch came, and went, and so did the various Magpie-lark families.  So its been a bit of a well, you know, lean time.

We have been watching a pair of Australasian Grebes at the Werribee Mansion Ornamental Lake, and they have had as similar story of clutches started, but not completed.
So it was quite intriguing to watch the pair in breeding plumage potter about on the water, but not really get much accomplished.

Then a couple of weeks ago, we found they had begun again to ferry weed and mud about and had a platform securely in the reeds.

And today we took a few minutes to go see how things had progressed and, well, they had progressed.

She was off the nest and swimming about with what seemed to be two young attached to her back. This is pretty exciting to me, as I’ve often seen it but had never really managed to photograph it successfully, so EE and I were very pleased for the birds, and for ourselves.

And as we watched, the two young slipped of her back to swim to Dad who had turned up with a nice big moth for a meal.   Then to our surprise a third bird appeared from under her wing feathers.
Three!   She has three we both cried.

After a few minutes she stood up in the water, and did a great wing stretch, and like a little cork bobbing up, out popped a fourth!
So our clever little pair have added four young to the Grebe population.  I’m hoping that they will go on to fully develop.
We had a fine hour or so with them, and then as the light began to fade behind the clouds, decided it was time for home, but surely we have to make a plan to be back soon.

Enjoy.  We did.

Clever little bird

Oh look another one!

And then there were four

Look nothing else up my sleeve

Big meal for a small beak

More food on the way from Dad That’s the way eat it all up.

And a warning for all to stay away.  Even the big Pacific Black Duck who thinks it owns the pond is ready to give way to the little Aussie Battler.

12 thoughts on “Grebes On Show

    1. Hi Margot, I suppose its much more important for them when they are in the reeds on the nesting platform. They’d be pretty well hidden.
      I did find a nest once at the end of a pond no reeds, right out in the open.


  1. A wonderful series of shots Dave, each showing interesting aspects of the interaction between the adult birds and the youngsters.


    1. Hello Eleanor, thanks for stopping by and keeping up to date.
      We are a little lucky with this pair in that they are in a pond that is has heavy foot traffic most days, so they are not quite so wary as many in the wild. That said, they are generally prepared to paddle away quickly to the other side of the pond.


  2. G’day David. This story makes me feel like getting an unexpected gift for Christmas. The set of gorgeous photographs with your comments could make a great little book for kids to read about this lovely family living in the ornamental lake. Thanks!


    1. Hello Adam, yes, EE said the same about it being a lovely early Christmas gift. Buoyed us up no end, as they have had a bit of bad luck over the past few months. I was hoping to keep a few shots over the next few weeks and then do a Blurb Photo book. My most recent way of keeping a ‘body of work’ current.


  3. Great opportunity David and lovely pics, the striping of the babies is the same as for other grebes it appears. It is always a buzz to see the babies on parents backs. I agree this has been an unusually birdless summer so far, with less breeding. The hot and dry conditions may have caused birds to put off breeding till conditions improve. I noticed many food flowers bloomed much earlier this year. Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year😊


    1. Hi AB, thanks for the comments. We’ve some lovely gums in profuse bloom locally, but very few honeyeaters to be seen. Strange as. This little pair are in an ornamental pond in a major tourist location, they get to see hundreds of people in a day, many who feed the local ducks, and lot of small children around the water’s edge. But the little grebes seem to take it all in good stride.
      They have had a number of attempts, but for one reason or another, the weather being one, they’ve not been able to get a hatching. Hope they are able to bring these ones on.

      Thanks for the season thoughts, and may your festive season bring a deeper meaning and enjoyment to your and yours.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. More unbelievable photos.
    I have loved keeping up with your stories throughout the year David.
    Thanks, and have a great Christmas and New Year


    1. Hello Andrew, thanks for dropping by and commenting, glad you enjoyed the visit. Hope I’ll be able to show some more of their lives in the next couple of weeks.

      have a grand festive season and good luck with your projects in the new year

      Always a pleasure to share.


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