Thursday, 6 January 2011

Red-necked Grebe.

Grebes. A. Thorburn.

An illustration of five grebe species by Archibald Thorburn, regarded by many as the best natural history artist of the 19th century and in particular of birds. The picture shows clockwise from the top right, Black-necked, Great-crested, Little, Slavonian, and Red-necked Grebes.

A Red-necked Grebe (RNG) was found on Fairhaven Lake, Lytham St Annes on Tuesday and remains there today though the species is generally a 'short stay' bird and this one may soon move off. However, there are exceptions to the short stay records, some are of birds staying more than two weeks and the most interesting one from a local perspective is the bird which lingered for sixteen days at Leighton Moss in 1979.

The RNG is essentially a winter visitor to the UK, but small numbers have been recorded in the past during the summer and breeding has been recorded on more than one occasion. The European population winters mainly off the coasts of the Baltic and North Seas though little is known about the species mainly attributed to the poor number of ringing and recovery data.   

There are other interesting past 'local' records, one of a RNG on the Lune Estuary in January 1955 - long before I ever considered any interest at all in birds - and since this particular record there have been others involving about ninety individuals including two together at Skerton Weir in Lancaster in 1979 when a cold weather influx was apparent. The RNG is by no means an annual occurrence in Lancashire - a scarce winter visitor - and there have been many 'blank years' in the record books.

Of all the grebes the RNG is the least likely to be found inland though there are of course some records to contradict this claim including some more up to date ones, but a period between 1985-89 was unusual in that out of twenty four birds recorded in Lancashire during this time, fourteen occurred far inland.

As will be gathered I've had no birding again since Tuesday....too much to do with too little time to do it in.... but hopefully a 'Trip To The Local' with JB/BT is on the cards for tomorrow Friday....fingers - and everything else - crossed.


Warren Baker said...

I have a good collection of A. Thorburns bird paintings Pete. ( only prints ) they are superb, and adorn every room in my house :-)

Phil said...

"Too much to do with too little time to do it in...." Did you borrow that quote from me PW or are you another retiree that certainly doesn't want to go back to work? Enjoy your day tomorrow - hope it doesn't snow for us.

Pete Woodruff said...

Brilliant stuff Thorburns artwork....welcome to 2011 Warren.

Phil, this doesn't really make any sense but you'll get the drift of what I'm saying....I'd love to have been able to retire 50 years ago, and if I can enjoy things - in particuilar my birding - as much as I'm doing at this moment in time I can handle another 20 years yet.

Phil said...

I know precisely what you mean Peter, it's sad that others don't always know how to enjoy life