Saturday, September 19, 2009

Great crested grebes - Courting dance

Wow! This is definitely the highlight of my walk at Herdsman Lake this morning. I saw a pair of great crested grebes (Podiceps cristatus) in their courting dance! If you still remember my earlier post, these birds just look like two balloons or toys when they are resting and floating passively on the water.

But it's a different story when they are trying to court each other. I was so excited about the sighting that I quickly put these pictures up on the Birds in Backyards forum, which I have become a member of recently. Still very excited and thankful that I was there in the right place at the right time, I thought I might as well reproduce that post here.

Anyway, this is about how it happened:

1. First, these birds came close and kept turning their heads from side to side. Basically I will describe it as "when you look right, I will look left" and vice versa.

2. Suddenly, they just looked like they decided to go the opposite ways! And shortly after they just dived down and disappeared from view.

3. And when I thought the show was over, they surfaced and swam very rapidly towards each other.

4. And the next moment, just when I thought they might run into each other or knock each other unconsicous, they rose from the surface and stood chest to chest for something like 10-15 seconds. It was then that I noticed their beaks were full of grass/weeds.

Looking at the photos, the birds probably have been rotating a bit. I was too stunned to even move, so the photos were taken from the same direction. By the way, after the courting dance, they just returned to their normal way and swam away.

I thought Ok, now they would go and have a little fun. But shortly after, they parted way. What were they thinking!?


Snail said...

Well caught! They're fantastic.

I spot flotillas of them occasionally one of the lakes near here but they're usually too far away to see what they're up to.

Tsun-Thai Chai said...

Hi Snail,

I must say I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time. And they were kind enough to do it near to shore, about 10 m or less I think. That's why I could capture it.

It would be so much nicer if I could capture it on video : )