Posts Tagged ‘Black necked Grebe


The morning after

On the 1st of January we braved the crowds and ventured over to Holkham Hall. It took quite a while to make our way through the melee of people but make it we did.

A couple of Great White Egrets and the reported Black-necked Grebe were without the best birds but a Red Kite and a Marsh Harrier also put in an appearance.

Black-necked Grebes are one of those birds that are difficult to photograph. If the light is wrong and the exposure is not quite right they look like a waterborne devil. Sometimes they can take on the appearance of the hound of the Baskervilles’ or appear if they have bright red LED’s for eyes. The dull light on the 1st was ideal and the Grebe, perhaps the most difficult of the grebes to see well in Norfolk, was showing ideally.



An entertaining couple of hours in Babcock Hide

“You wont need that” Marcus said as I grabbed my coat. He was quite right I wouldn’t need it. The day was warm and bright. Not a cloud in sight. However the forecast had said rain and I was being cautious as I intended stopping in the hide for a while. It was late Sunday afternoon and the sun was swinging into the west and people were going home after a weekend on the coast. I figured I might have the hide to myself for an hour or so. There was a popular Black necked Grebe on the scrape and I’d promised myself some time off from working at the laptop to do a little photography before I needed to get back and put the Yorkshire puds on. There isn’t a good hide on the North Norfolk coast that looks west; they all face east into the morning light. Afternoons are therefore usually best for hide photography here. Better light, fewer people.

The Black necked Grebe was indeed present. In full summer garb. Spikey gold headgear and all that. At distance. It was as far away as it could get. If the scrape had a far right-angle corner I’m sure the bird would have been cowering in it. I waited. People disappeared.

The storm clouds gathered and eventually, as promised, it rained. I mean really rained. It rained like someone had upended all the clouds and it rained hard. Thunder, lightning, the whole first scene of Macbeth.; and the migrants started dropping in. Grounded by the bad weather a couple of Sandwich Terns came to take cover, Wheatears appeared in their ‘just got out of the shower’ plumage and a Short eared Owl pitched in at the back of the scrape. Several Marsh Harriers battled away into the downpour and the Spoonbill thought ‘bugger this’ and flew off. Black tailed Godwits and a totally confused Dunlin pitched in too. All lovely birds to see.

As for the Black necked Grebe … it did come closer … but not much.


Some neck!

When we were walking on St Mary’s the other week this Black necked Grebe swam into Porthcressa Bay. What a confiding individual it was; enjoyed by my guests and myself alike. The 2017 Tour is open for bookings – see


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Apr 2023


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