Tag Archives: Black-necked Grebe

Black-necked Grebe

A shot of last Monday’s Black-necked Grebe from Thornton Reservoir. This was digiscoped with the Coolpix P310.


Black-necked Grebe



After work today I dropped into Thornton Reservoir to catch up with the Black-necked Grebe. A lovely little bird that showed pretty well at the Village end of the Reservoir. This species is one of the few where I prefer the American name – Eared Grebe. I still prefer Slavonian Grebe to Horned Grebe though. Apart from Pied-billed Grebe, Slav is the only one I need for Thornton now.


I took a good few images with the Coolpix P310 but I wanted to do some iPhonescoping so out came the Kowa TSN-IP4S adaptor. I cranked up the zoom on the eyepiece to 40x and did a few test shots before it moved too far out. The ones using Camera+ app came out better than the Kowa Telecamera app. I couldn’t get my exposure right due to the glare off the water.
Before I could do any video the bird swam out of range.

To finish the image I cropped and processed it in Snapseed.

The Sweet Lagoon

After spending the night in Cordoba, and I’m aware my timeline is all over the place, we headed off to Yunquera for the night with our host Nancy. Gosney had guided us to Laguna Dulce, Nancy was disappointed we’d already been to Fuente de Piedra. Here a large roadside hide looks out onto a great bit of water. The village in the distance is Campillos. There are number of Lagoons around the area but this is definitely worth a stop.

Laguna Dulce

Straight off I was impressed with just how many birds there were, 100s of summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe, Whiskered Tern, Gull-billed Tern, Marsh Harrier and around 40 White-headed Duck. Another WP tick as, for some strange reason White-headed Duck is one of those birds the BOU seem to avoid like a Vampire avoids sunlight, crosses and garlic. I’m not sure why this is? I saw a White-headed Duck at Stanford Reservoir some years back before the Ruddy Duck cull. If the Ruddy Duck was migrating south to threaten the White-headed Duck then surely some of them might be expected to join up and head north. Anyway in Spain, White-headed Duck is pretty nomadic due to fluctuating water levels.

White-headed Duck

White-headed Duck

White-headed Duck

The head pattern amongst males is very variable with females much more uniform.

White-headed Duck

Also present was a flock of 17 Greater Flamingo at the back of the lagoon.

Dipping Sources

I don’t know what got in to me yesterday but I got a bit carried away and agreed to go and twitch this Thayer’s Gull in Lincolnshire with Dave Gray. It must have been being stuck at work on a ban holiday that got to me.

Fortified by five pints of Harvest Pale and safe in the knowledge Dave was driving I headed off to bed for a good nights sleep. As predicted Dave was 15 minutes late but we were soon on site. Some of the ASBO crew were scoffing breakfast at Frankie and Benny’s while we got on with the business of scrutinising every gull in the area… none of them turned out to be anything like a Thayer’s Gull despite a few claims, one that even made it as far as the news services albeit very belatedly.

We finally gave up and headed home, dropping in to Swithland Reservoir on the way. Thankfully the Black-necked Grebe and Kittiwake were still present.

Black-necked Grebe

Who says you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear?

I was good to bump into Martyn Hayes as well yesterday along with Dougal Gysi and John (Brown Thraher) Clement.

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the starts

Sorry more misquoting Oscar Wilde there but Oscar, if you’re unhappy, sue me!

I started my day more in hope thae expectation by looking for yesterdays Grey Phalarope at Swithland Reservoir. As expected it had either flown or gone the way of most phalaropes at Switho – eaten by a Pike.

I decided that Rutland Water might be a good place to visit after a strong Northerly blow. My optimism was again mispalced. I did catch up with the two LEOs but they were even more difficult to see than last Friday. Gadwall hide had just one Black-necked Grebe showing, they’ve moved to Goldeneye I’m led to understand.

On my walk back to the centre I had a message from Andy Brett that the Black Redstart was showing well at Home Farm in Exton. A quick coffee and I was making my way round there. The Black Redstart was indeed showing well and rather than the usual mousy-brown female/1W types we normally see this was a stunning male.

Black Redstart, Exton, Rutland

Black Redstart, Exton, Rutland

A lot of people ask me what’s my favourite bird and I’m always a bit stuck for an answer. Shrikes are probably my favourite group closely followed by the Redstart clan. Black Redstart is a particular favourite and my dream bird and the bird I would most like to find in Britain is Daurian Redstart.

Black Redstart, Exton, Rutland

Black Redstart, Exton, Rutland

After refueling at the teashop at Gates Garden Centre in Cold Overton, I made my way over to Cossington Meadows for my SEO fix. Whilst waiting I had a chance to photograph a flock of Long-tailed Tit. Failing light and restless little little buggers rendered most shots unusable but this one was ok.

Long-tailed Tit, Cossington Meadows

As usual the Barn Owl and Short-eared Owls proved impossible to photograph but this sunset didn’t.

Other decent birds were a pair of Bullfinch and a dashing male Sparrowhawk.

A bad case of wind?

Out this morning to Foremark Reservoir just over the border in the badlands of South Derbyshire, land of the Border Reivers and sheep rustling. Not really I just made that up. I was hoping to photograph the summer plumage Red-necked Grebe that has been showing well there, I wasn’t alone as a number of photographers had made a trip. Given the altitude at Foremark and the cyclonic weather conditions the waves on the reservoir were pretty big and the grebe had bogged off to the far side well out of range. Buggeration!

A trip back to a more sheltered Swithland Reservoir provided me with another year tick in the form of a lovely summer plumaged Black-necked Grebe. This too kept a reasonable distance and the sun didn’t help so once again no photos. I tried again a bit later when the bird was a little closer but digiscoping proved nigh on impossible as well.

Good to see two summer plumaged scarce grebes though. Black-necked is a real favourite, closely followed by the chunky Red-necked.