Monday, 8 February 2010

Great crested grebe

This is a first for me on the river Ock, a great crested grebe

I suspect this one has migrated from the coast and is just stopping off before finding a suitable lake,  where they can frequently be seen and where they breed and raise young during the spring and summer.  I imagine if I go back tomorrow it may not be there.
It's easy to take grebes for granted, they are now fairly common and most large lakes will support at least one pair, I saw two on Longmead lake today.  
But back in the Victorian era they were nearly driven to extinction as their splendid plumage was prized for hats and clothing.  In 1860, the population was reduced to 42 breeding pairs.
To protest against this the 'Fur, Fin and Feather Folk' group was formed in 1889, changing it's name in 1904 to 'Royal Society for the Protection of Birds', which now has over 1 million members - including myself
The RSPB now put the population of great crested grebes as 9,400

RSPB Handbook of British Birds

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