Saturday, 20 March 2010

Great-crested Grebe.

Great-crested Grebe. Pete Woodruff.

I was asked a question about the Great-crested Grebe the other day on the post titled 'Facts and Figures' and thought it to be an interesting question worth addressing in a brief manner on the blog.

Well I won't linger on this aspect of the answer but it's a perfect example of my own personal shortcomings when it comes to recording/not recording the birds seen on my birding days to which I can only reply by claiming that, with regard to this bird I 'usually' do record it but perhaps not always, but I think the discussion on 'where is the cut off point when recording bird species' is for another time.

But the question went some thing like....not seeing the Great-crested Grebe reported very often, is this because the bird is common and therefore left out of records in general terms, or is the bird rare....Well certainly not the latter and I think the truth of the matter is the former.

The Great-crested Grebe is a bird which benefited from the creation of reservoirs and gravel pits in the 20th century, and is a bird of these larger waterbodies. Like lots of other birds it was heavily persecuted for is plumage in the days during the 19th century when - dare I say it - some of our human kind were a little less civilised and not long out of the trees....Ahhhh well you see I always react to this kind of subject in a violent manner for which I never offer apologies and in any case there are still many people who derive great pleasure out of persecuting birds/wildlife.

The recovery of the GCG has been well documented through a series of surveys since 1932 and although in doing this write up I'm not pretending to know all the facts and figures, a survey in 1994 suggested a further modest increase in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As with the Little Grebe there is evidence of immigration into GB&NI and there are a few ringing recoveries that show exchange with the near-Continent but data are limited since so few birds have been ringed. In 2003 an estimate of the winter population in Britain stood at nearly 16,000 Great-crested Grebes.

I hope this is found to be of interest in particular to the subscriber who's name appears in the comments section and to whom I thank for his interest and comments. In short the answer to the question is that the bird is not 'always' recorded for whatever reason by the individual but in my case - and in my defence - I 'usually' do record the Great-crested Grebe as I find the bird a particularly attractive one especially in it's fine summer plumage as in the image above which incidentally was taken on the canal basin at Glasson Dock.  


Warren Baker said...

A very rare bird on my patch Pete. I dont think my small lakes are the right habitat!

PS say what you want about the human race - it's all deserved :-)

Pete Woodruff said...

Quick off the mark there I only posted this 21 minutes before your reading and commenting....Great stuff Warren thanks and keep on coming back please!

Pete Marsh said...

RE-Great-crested Grebe. Why were there c500 off Morecambe in the 1960's and barely 100 on better covered WeBS counts with better optics today? If they are staying on the increasing number of inland waters throughout the winter, where were they when these were frozen this last winter? Puzzling and perhaps related to not enough raw sewage starting the food chain these days?

Pete Woodruff said...

Thanks for adding your comments to this GCG question by Richard Schilling and my brief reply....interesting and as a result I will now concentrate closer on this species and compare records from the past. Also the question to Warren should be....has it always been rare on 'his patch' which is in Kent.

Richard Shilling said...

Well you've answered that perfectly as the reason I asked it was because I saw a pair recently on a reservoir east of Lancaster. And your explanation of their success through gravel pits and artificial lakes/reservoirs fits exactly. Added to that is the fact I am fascinated with them as I also hail from Kent and I feel many of the birds that give me a thrill are those that I remember being rare down there, hence the question I asked. So many thanks for that and answering my question so thoroughly and your blog notification worked perfectly.


Pete Woodruff said...

Many thanks again, and so pleased you appreciated the brief rundown about this quite engaging bird. Also good to hear the notification worked prefect.

My Kind Regards Rich.