Sunday, 21 September 2014

Black-necked Grebe at Shawell A5 lagoons

Whilst having a mooch about at Shawell yesterday I spotted a small grebe sp. It looked like a Black-necked Grebe, but I only had my bins at the time. I fetched my scope, but the grebe had gone missing. Some parts of the lagoons are impossible to view without trespassing and the grebe had obviously chosen to hide in one of those areas. After a long wait it reappeared and I was able to confirm that it was a juvenile Black-necked Grebe. It soon disappeared again into the corner of the first lagoon where it is not possible to view without a chainsaw.

I did manage to get a record shot, which isn't bad considering the distance and the very bad light.

I didn't see it again once the gull numbers had built up and I failed to find it this morning despite trying hard. I chose not to spread the news of its presence yesterday because of the difficulty in viewing it and the fact that this species often turns up at sites where access and viewing conditions are easier. The clearing in the hedge is aimed at viewing the bits that the gulls congregate in.

Anyone visiting the site should view only from the cleared area in the hedge at the side of the A5. This is found by walking uphill about 100 metres from the Newton Lane junction. Trying to view from anywhere else causes the birds on the water to fly off rapidly leaving you with nothing to see. The few regulars at the site have been left annoyed on numerous occasions by examples of poor field craft by some of the birders that have visited the site. Park only in Newton Lane, as the A5 is a clearway and you could get fined even if you park on the side of the road. 

Juvenile Black-necked Grebe
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