A Red necked Grebe was discovered today by Dai, on Farmoor 2 which is the larger of the two reservoirs that comprise the Farmoor complex.
Although it is impossible to prove conclusively, this is the third spring in a row that a Red necked Grebe has arrived here and it surely must be the same bird. Indeed for the last two autumns a Red necked Grebe has shown up here as well and to my mind is the same bird as the one we see in Spring. If it is I wonder, not for the first time, where it goes in winter and where is it bound for to breed? Will it stay in the UK? Unlikely. Or is it bound for Scandinavia or even further north and/or east?
Red necked Grebes are a rarity in Oxfordshire so the chances of two or more birds being involved are slim. Whatever its provenance it is a delight to see it once again especially in its full breeding plumage finery.
I ventured up to the reservoir at lunchtime and found Clackers coming away from the reservoir, having just admired the grebe, although he told me others of Oxonbirds finest had been to see and photograph it earlier. The reservoir was flat calm with not a breath of wind as this part of southern England waits between two weather systems, tomorrow being forecast to be wind and rain.
I wandered round the depressing concrete bowl of Farmoor Two to where the Red necked Grebe was currently swimming. Little Grebes, still in winter plumage were picking flies off the glass like surface of the water as I passed and Coots forever truculent were bickering amongst themselves.
Fortunately, as no one else was around to disturb the grebe it came relatively close to the shore and by employing some stealth I managed to get close to it. The light was truly appalling for photography but I did my best to capture an image of the grebe as it pursued the hatching flies that were sitting on the water.
A Common Chiffchaff undeterred by the gloomy weather beat out its metronomic two note song from the bushes behind the perimeter fence. Spring is not far away now, the days are getting longer and my spirits are stirring in anticipation of another roller coaster of birding adventures.