And a little clip of the info, thanks to David Craven.
>>So, what is this? A deformity? Some parasite? A magical third eye? A literature search was required. Wading through various papers there were lots of theories. The patch was natural, and present in nearly all grebe chicks. Some thought it helped control the chicks temperature while tucked on the parent’s back. Some thought it deterred predators. Others thought it was used in signalling parents.
It took a 1985 paper by Gary Nuechterlein to settle it. Hand-rearing some Western Grebe chicks, he used a series of experiments to determine that it was allied to begging for food. The more the bird begged, the brighter red the crown patch. Once fed, it faded to a lighter pink.
There we have it. Next time you spot grebe chicks, keep an eye out for the red patch!<<
We had to take a trip to Ballaratt on important business, that involved laying down money, (well credit card numbers to be more exact). Was only going to take 5 minutes, and EE suggested that Mr An Onymous might like a trip out for the day.
So let’s see.
Let’s choose the hottest day of the week for the hour or so journey, and let’s go late morning to be sure we get the maximum benefit from the heat.
EE had allowed us at least a few minutes to ‘cool off by the lake’, and who knows we might find something to photograph.
Clever as, she also arranged a nice stop over for coffee at Ballan on the way up. And wouldn’t you know it. How Do these things happen? There was a fine looking clothing and jewellery store right next to said Coffee Shop, called the “Tin Plate” (here’s a link) for any who might want to follow in the tracks of such adventure. So while Mr A and I lamented over the fact that all the vanilla slice had been sold for the day, and an empty plate where a slice might have been wasn’t going to make up for it, EE was just a shop away shopping.
On to Ballaratt. It does seem somewhat incongruous to leave Melbourne in a pleasant 26C and head off into 37C, to Ballaratt. The place most folk would have on their list of cold places to visit. But there you go. Outside temp was well on the way, as were we. Gotta love GPS and Sat Nav. Punch in the address and think no more about it. Found myself on the way into the city, going, “If I was going to Dublin, I wouldn’t be starting from here,” but in the end circuitous or not we arrived.
The original plan had been lunch by the lake, but what with the heat, and that we were just around the corner from Wendouree Village, the lure of an air-conditioned sandwich bar was too much to resist.
But, by the time we’d lunched and chatted, and discussed the merits of Nikon AF focus, and how to use the old ‘Sunny 16 Rule’ of long-gone-bye filum days, the weather had changed to severely overcast, and the said rule was not going to be much help.
At the lakeside it was a distinct murky grey, (but still hot- now the clouds were keeping the heat in), and we’d dropped about 4-5 stops of light.
And most of the usual suspects were there. We quickly located the pair of Great Crested Grebe, and one immediately took off down the lake to places far from human interference. The other just lolled about snoozing among the reeds and grasses.
Here’s a selection from its activities. Played a bit with the mono style as both the day and the surrounds had that sort of mood about them.
And if case anyone is wondering, the temp dropped about 15 degrees on the way home, and we arrived in pleasant cool(ish) conditions.
I showed some Swan Moments from our Jawbone trip last week, and now its the turn of the Great Crested Grebe and friends.
We lucked out a little with one of the Great Crested Grebe as it was feeding around the close edges of the lake by the housing estate and moved out into more open water later. The second one, seemed to like the far, far, far side of the ponds and we only managed the most fleeting of glimpses.
Still there was plenty of other action—including the Swans— to fill up a memory card.