Hoary-headed Grebe breeding at Lake Elterwater

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Michael Szabo
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Hoary-headed Grebe breeding at Lake Elterwater

Postby Michael Szabo » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:08 pm

Scott Brooks reports seeing two juvenile Hoary-headed Grebes with two adults at Lake Elterwater on 18 November.

Link to photo of juvenile with adult: https://scontent.fpmr1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/ ... e=5E46DD2C
'Birds New Zealand' Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/Birdsnewzealand/
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ourspot
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Location: Tutukaka Coast

Re: Hoary-headed Grebe breeding at Lake Elterwater

Postby ourspot » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:30 pm

Had 3 visits to Lake Elterwater with my son Zef during the last week with cracking views each time of the Hoary-headed Grebe right by the platform or fossicking, feeding and diving in the dead willows to the left of the platform. The first visit was early morning with just one adult present. The second visit was late afternoon on 17 November when we saw 2 adults and 2 chicks, and heard them calling quite a bit. Watched them for a good hour before they vanished around the back of the trees. Most of the calling was coming from a dense area of floating plants to the left of the platform about 5 meters from the shoreline so possible the nest is somewhere in there. The third visit also early morning and was just one adult again though there was calling from the bush area.

Very pleased with the sightings as this was bird number 200 for me :)
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Last edited by ourspot on Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
wazzagonewild
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Re: Hoary-headed Grebe breeding at Lake Elterwater

Postby wazzagonewild » Thu Nov 21, 2019 3:50 pm

Congrats Scott on 200 species and the lovely photos! I was at Elterwater on Fri 15th November and saw a pair of adult hoary-headed grebes at the far northern end of the lake, but with no juveniles. I'm wondering if this may be a seperate pair, as the bill shape of one of the adults is quite different from the photos you have posted, with a distinct lobe on the ventral side of the bill (see pic below). Did you happen to notice anything like this for one of the adult grebes?
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ourspot
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Location: Tutukaka Coast

Re: Hoary-headed Grebe breeding at Lake Elterwater

Postby ourspot » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:07 am

Thanks Warwick :) We were there on the morning of the 15th so must have just missed you.

I believe there are more adults on the lake (based on past eBird reports) so it could well be another pair - be great if they bred as well. The Hoarys we saw just stayed close to the clump of plants I mentioned (where I think the nest might be) or within the dead trees to the left. On the day I saw the chicks, the adults were actively feeding them the whole time. The nor wester wind may have been a factor as to why they were hanging in that area (and why all the shovelers roosted by the platform), but I did hear lots of calling around those bushes and they always seemed to appear from that area.

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