Hooray! At last I have managed to see, photograph and film the courtship dance of the great crested grebe for the very first time.
I set off to Carsington Water in Derbyshire early Monday morning. Carsington Water is a large reservoir surrounded by hedgerows, woodlands and ponds. The reservoir has three bird hides.
It was reaching 4.00pm and although I had seen a pair of grebes, I had not seen them doing the courtship dance. I reached the last bird hide, the Paul Stanley Hide. From there I was able to see at least four pairs of grebes on the lake. They were quite a distance away. I crossed my fingers. And then it happened. I couldn’t get my camera in focus quick enough and I had to hold my breath to keep my camera steady. I was so excited! It was a truly amazing wildlife spectacle.
The Great Crested Grebes can start this courtship dance as early as February at any time of the day when pairs meet each other on the water. They usually begin by mimicking each others’ movements and end with a frantic head shaking display. Sometimes grebes will perform the ‘weed dance.’ Both birds dive down and grab a beakful of weed. They then confront each other shaking their heads from side to side. This is a very rare spectacle and unfortunately I didn’t see this part of the dance today.