Australasian Grebe and Reeds

Breeding Australasian Grebes?

In my last post about the Australasian Grebes, I left you trying to spot two white fluffy bottoms hidden among the reeds.  This time, I managed to get better photos – as it turns out, inadvertently.  I was actually trying to photograph the small birds in the eucalypts and acacias surrounding the dam.  As soon as I stepped onto the track which takes me around the dam, I heard a loud ‘Tic!’  the grebe’s warning cry.   One grebe was visible, swimming well away from me, but obviously trying to attract my attention.  It swam away from the reeds, and continued to draw attention to itself through alarm calls.

Grebe’s breed from August until December, according to my field guide, so officially it is way too early for them to be nesting.  However, the grebe I photographed was sporting breeding plumage – a chestnut coloured patch on the back of the cheek and upper neck.  The second grebe was well hidden in among the reeds – no white bottom sticking out this time.  It certainly looked like classical breeding behaviour, with the male bird trying to draw my attention away from the nesting site.

So will we see little grebes swimming around soon?  Who knows!    Maybe they are just making early preparations for August.  Whatever the case, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for them.

Australasian Grebe with Breeding Plumage
A small chestnut-coloured patch on the head and upper neck appears when the Australasian Grebes adopt breeding plumage.
Australasian Grebe
This grebe, probably the male, was certainly trying to draw my attention away from the patch of reeds.
Australasian Grebe and Reeds
As I walked around the dam, there was one point where being away from me meant swimming in front of the reeds where they will build a nest – if they have not already done so.

Let me know what you think!

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