Great crested Grebes are truly amazing birds.
Their displays prior to mating have been fondly observed for many years both in Australia and overseas.
I have photographed them for many years, but they still took me by surprise on a recent visit to Walka searching for insects (and yes, I know how that sounds).
I spotted a pair well out in the lake displaying. This is a familiar scenario with Grebes – they mostly tend to display in the middle of the lake, make it a challenge to get a decent image.
The water level in Walka at the moment is low as you would expect, and there are not as many reeds as usual, which is where the Great Crested Grebes nest. Fortunately there was still enough to retain a group of grebes.
So, along with a photography friend, we waited for about two hours – just watching, hoping for a clue as to how to get the good picture we wanted.
We soon noticed that there was a small bay where they appeared to be preparing a nest, adding weeds to an area just in front of the reeds.
We set up our cameras in a spot close by and the wait started.
During this time they displayed well out in the lake a number of times – but too far away for good images.
But patience is a virtue for photographers. We returned the next day and started the wait all over again, confident we were in the best spot.
Eventually we were rewarded when both birds headed straight into our small bay, very close to the possible nest site. Then, right on cue, they started to perform, all angles but low down.
We jumped at the chance taking a great number of shots.
Then we were surprised once more. They moved a few metres, grabbed loads of weed and faced up, rising just about out of the water, passing weed back and forwards to each other. What an amazing site.
Eventually they returned to the nest site and started to place reeds on the top.
Previous years I have photographed them with chicks. Once the chicks leave the nest they travel on the parents back.
Like I said, an amazing bird.