Sunday, February 20, 2011

Australasian Crested Grebes

I wasn't holding too much hope for getting the shots I wanted as I packed up my photography gear, although the thrill of what the weekend had in store made the last couple of hours at work fly by!  Photos or not, I was keen to get away and spend some time with my brother and a mate. There is no room for pessimism when it comes to wildlife photography, but I couldn't help feeling a little pessimistic as the last few attempts at capturing the crested grebes had ended with very little results. A few months ago I had gone up to Lake Lyndon to photograph a grebe's nest with a mate of mine only to find the nest abandoned and a recently devoured adult bird close to the nest. Grebes often bury their eggs with nesting material when leaving the nest unattended and I could see a partly covered egg on the abandoned nest - I hoped that the remaining adult would return to incubate the eggs although this seemed unlikely as the nest remained unattended throughout the day. It was a real shame to see this act of predation on one of New Zealand's rarest waterfowl!

We were treated to a beautiful but short sunrise on the Saturday morning as it soon clouded over and remained overcast for most of the day (which helped diffuse the light nicely). I was surprised to find a nest this late in the season and I was told that it was this pair's second attempt at nesting, as their first clutch hadn't survived. I had a great time photographing the birds diving, nest building, incubating and feeding their new born chick - what an amazing day with these beautiful birds! I was surprised to see the adult birds feeding their young chick feathers which, from what I've read, is thought to be a method of protecting the chick's from gut trauma caused by sharp fish bones. Lets hope that these amazing birds will increase in numbers!