Saturday 23 March 2019

Red-necked Grebes - like buses!

Until the Castle Howard Red-necked Grebe earlier this year, I had not seen this attractive species in the York area. But as with buses, you wait ages for one to turn up and then two turn up in a short space of time!

Yesterday, Duncan Bye pulled a delightful adult RNG out of the bag at Wheldrake Ings. I was due to have a meeting with my line manager during the afternoon and I (perhaps a little audaciously) suggested we could do this in the car/at East Cottingwith, and to my surprise he agreed, as he had some documents that needed signing by YWT's chair, who lives near there. Great!

We headed over in the afternoon and after a bit of searching I spied the compact shape of the grebe, resting on the water with it's head tucked back on to it's mantle as it slept - a tired migrant, with a long journey ahead of it.

The grebe was well on the way to summer plumage, through the red neck was still mottled. Nevertheless a very smart bird which obliged every so often by waking up and giving us a good view, despite the distance.

The grebe departed overnight, clearly keen to get back to it's breeding grounds, which may be in southern Sweden or perhaps Denmark. Safe travels!

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