One might be forgiven for becoming somewhat blasé about Slavonian Grebes occurring in the County this year. After all, there was the long-stayer which first appeared at Earls Barton GP in late May, quickly relocating to Pitsford Reservoir for a protracted stay north of the causeway into early autumn. This individual was in stunning summer plumage when it arrived but it had moulted into the characteristic black, white and grey plumage of winter by the end of August, shortly after which it disappeared, last being seen there on 11th September.
It, or another, then (re)appeared at Pitsford on 29th October – this time on the ‘big side’, south of the causeway, close to the dam. It was still off the dam at midday today when Clive Bowley captured this super image of it catching and swallowing a Perch.
I don’t envy it having to contend with that über-sharp, spiky dorsal fin! Look at that super-bright, red orbital skin around the eye, a feature which it shares with Black-necked Grebe but which is lacking in winter-plumaged Red-necked Grebe.
Another Slavonian Grebe is currently in residence at Hollowell Reservoir, having been present there since 17th November.