Wanaka Sun       

Grebe Diary 1 - October 29, 2018

Posted at 9:11pm Monday 05 Nov, 2018 | By John Darby

 

Those who have followed the Grebe Diaries over the last five years will not be at all surprised that I usually start them off by making excuses. Having made my first one I can report that the first pair of birds hatched their chicks (two out of three eggs) on August 29. The next three chicks appeared on October 7 and the most recent clutch of two to three on October 18.

The next clutch to hatch is happening as I write (nest 7), on October 28; another clutch is due on November 9 (nest 12) and another is due on November 13 (nest 11). Overall, birds are laying slightly earlier this year than last. In addition to the above, birds are incubating eggs on nests 9 and 10. I will calculate hatch dates for those next week.

Territorial fights have been as fierce as ever, the most notable being a fracas among seven birds all at the same time, and that behaviour is even more unusual, given that there were at least five unoccupied platforms at the time. Even more strange is that platforms 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 were all unoccupied and what is crazy about that is that those are more often than not the first nest sites to be occupied!

Winter is the time to service and check all the platforms, to make sure that they are securely attached to lake anchors and the marina piers. And this is as good a time as any to acknowledge the huge support of those people who allow me to do that together with the marina management team who have allowed me to use the marina to set up the programme. The programme has proved to be very successful for the conservation of what was classified as a rare and threatened species. Given the reports I have received of grebe numbers on nearby lakes over the last year or so, I think we may well change the status of this species.

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