Nature Questions | Crested visitor prolific this year

I noticed these two unusual birds in the fairy land area at Lake Wendouree. Are they Australasian grebes? B.S., via email.

RISING: Great crested grebe numbers are higher than in previous years.

RISING: Great crested grebe numbers are higher than in previous years.

Your birds are great crested grebes, one of the lake’s special bird species. The Australasian grebe is smaller and dumpier, without any crest or the white front.

The great crested grebe is more numerous and noticeable this year than it has been for five years or more. Several pairs are displaying, so we are hoping for some broods of youngsters. Your photo shows a pair close together with necks extended, which is part of their display.

Sometimes they nest in the reed beds or on patches of aquatic water-milfoil (lakeweed). 

The great crested grebe is a migrant, arriving back with us in early spring and leaving in autumn.

  • Questions and photos are welcome. Send to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email to rthomas@vic.australis.com.au