Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 5 (1901).djvu/367

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AN OBSERVATIONAL DIARY OF THE HABITS—
MOSTLY DOMESTIC—OF THE GREAT CRESTED
GREBE (PODICIPES CRISTATUS), AND OF THE
PEEWIT (VANELLUS VULGARIS), WITH SOME
GENERAL REMARKS

By Edmund Selous.

 

I must premise that for many mornings before the date at which I commenced to take notes I had watched this pair of Grebes, but seen nothing which struck me as of interest. I could not detect a nest, nor were the birds building; so that, judging by the dates and the working hours of last year, I thought all this was to come. As it turned out, however, last year was no criterion for this, and I regret now that I did not begin watching sooner, and stay, each morning, later. As the nest—which, I afterwards found, had been already completed—seemed much less massive, and generally inferior to the ones I had previously seen made, it would have interested me to have observed whether there was any corresponding difference in the building of it, anything suggesting that it was built with an object other than that of incubation—or rather, with such other object alone. Of this, however, I will speak later. It is, of course, impossible actually to prove that these Grebes were the same ones that I have before given an account of.[1] But as they were the one and only pair on the same sheet of water, and as the nest was in approximately the same place, I assume and feel personally quite certain that they were. As will have been gathered, though I have not expressly stated it, there was only one pair of Grebes (and, for a few days, an odd bird) on the water last year. I now commence my diary.

April 22nd, 1901.—Something is now visible in the conduct of the two Grebes, which seems to betoken the approach of nuptial activities. They seem to become excited, occasionally, together. One dives, and is instantly followed by the other.

  1. Ante, p. 161.