Great Crested Grebes

I am a happy bird nerd. I’m certainly not a twitcher but I like our avian friends and enjoy seeing common species and rarities. Great crested grebes aren’t rarities but they tend to be a bit shy and retiring. Actually, they were once extremely rare in the UK with only about forty pairs in the country.

You see them out on a lake and they stay well away from any edge where you might get a decent view and if one does chance to come in a bit closer it suddenly dives and when it re-emerges it is back in the distance.

The secret, it seems, to getting reasonably close up to grebes is to be on a small boat. That is what my wife and I did at Pierrefonds about 80 kilometres north east of Paris. I could say we joined the tourist throng and hired a pedalo boat, but actually, we were the first hirers of the day so there was no throng. By the time our stint was up there were four or five of these vessels out on the lily leaf covered lake. But we had spotted our grebes.

Let’s start with an adult.


They are handsome birds. I always like them and was pleased to get tolerably close.

But it was the youngsters that stole my heart. Two of then played and hunted in amongst the lily pads.


What cute creatures with those striped necks.


Isn’t that just fantastic. It was amazing to be able to get up so close.

Now for another young bird at the same location, but this time snapped from the edge.


It’s another pretty little fellow, but this one is a coot.


And there’s one with an adult.

Pierrefonds is a lovely place – well worth a visit and the grapefruit flavoured icecream from the café near the lake is just heavenly!

Our visit was on 10th July 2013.

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