Monday, 5 May 2014

Red-necked Grebe (Podiceps grisegena) - Farmoor Reservoir, Oxon. 14th April 2014.

Having seen many of the fantastic photos that had been posted on the excellent Oxon Bird Log I was very eager to take a trip to Farmoor Reservoir to see the summer plumaged Red-necked Grebe which was spending most of it's time on the F2 Reservoir.

I arrived at Farmoor with the sun shining down and was immediately greeted by my first Willow Warbler of the year singing from the trees in the scrub behind the car park toilets. Whilst looking for the Willow Warbler a pair of Robins appeared before me, both with beaks stuffed full of worms and grubs that were no doubt for hungry chicks. A nearby Chiffchaff began to call followed by the Willow Warbler and after having a good view of it I headed of towards the reservoirs.

I began to walk around the F2 reservoir picking up on a small flock of birds feeding along the eastern edge of the basin, this flock consisted of a single Dunlin and four Common Sandpipers. Continuing along the outer causeway both Blackcap and Chiffchaff could be heard singing and every so often the occasional Sand Martin appeared above.

I arrived at the south-western corner to find the Red-necked Grebe patrolling the water with a couple of Great-crested Grebes nearby. It looked a very stunning individual in it's summer plumage and having usually seen this species in winter plumage it was certainly a pleasant change. It spent much of it's time feeding which it seemed to do with some ease, most attempts resulting in a catch which it devoured quickly.

The Grebe continued to feed along the s/w edge of the reservoir, disappearing from view as it dived for fish only to reappear further along the reservoir, once it made it near to the southern part of the reservoir it turned and began the process over again as it headed back towards the s/w corner. On it's return it continued on towards the western edge and whilst waiting for it to return I picked up on a Common Tern flying towards me, it made a number of flybys and then started to fish over F2, My first Common Tern of the year.
Well worth the visit and just in time by all accounts, as by the following day the Red-necked Grebe had departed.

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