29th October 2016

Little Grebe- This is the ‘Dive-dapper’ Shakespeare refers to in Venus and Adonis: “like a dive-dapper peering through the wave”. A delightful, very widespread bird, known as a Dabchick when I was growing up, and seen on almost every stretch of water in town parks or countryside. Their legs are well back on their bodies, allowing them to move fast above and below water, as they dive long distancesto catch molluscs, insects and, as here, small fish. Their short tails ensure their powerful legs are freer to move fast. Conditions: Still, with heavy cloud Temperature: Max 15- Min 12C. 

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Little Grebe

Advertisements

9th October 2015

Little Grebe, or Dabchicks as we grew up calling them, were called “Dive-dappers” by Shakespeare. Though really widespread on patches of water throughout the UK, these distinctive tiny birds, with fluffy back ends and no real tail, are on the Amber list, showing the populations are down. They feed on a range of water creatures, including what looks like a Stickleback, which this Little Grebe shook and hit against the water-surface to stun. It grappled with it for ages to get it the right way round, to avoid catching the spines when swallowing. I love the way they dive, up to a metre down, starting with a little leap, before shaking themselves hard to dry off when they emerge up to 30 seconds later. Conditions: Settled, mild weather with some sun. Temperature: Max 16- Min 8c.

Shaking itself dry

Little Grebe, shaking itself dry

The Little Grebe shales itself to dry off

The Little Grebe shakes itself to dry off after a dive for food

Little Grebe vigorously shaking the Stickleback to subdue it

Little Grebe vigorously shaking the Stickleback to subdue it

Little grebe with a Stickleback to eat

Little grebe with a Stickleback