Podiceps cristatus or the Great Crested Grebe is a common Eurasian waterbird with an upturned-boat shaped body, a thick but sinuous neck and a head adorned with burnt-peach coloured cheek feathers and two tufts on the top. This bird has a bit of history attached to it; in the Victorian era they were hunted to near extinction in Britain, all for the attractive head feathers that were used to decorate ladies hats, however when a group of women became concerned at the rapid decline of this bird they formed a conservation group to rally for it’s protection – over a hundred years later that same group is still going as the largest conservation charity in Europe – the RSPB. Two days ago I witnessed a pair of these birds performing their mating display or ‘dance’ on a local reservoir; this is a delight to watch and has a specific routine that includes holding weed in their bills while standing on the water and head-shaking. What was odd was that this is September and the mating dance is usually performed in early Spring, I have checked my books and the web but cannot find any information on grebes performing the display so late in the year, if anyone has also noticed this or has an answer then I would love to hear it!grebes 2

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