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Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 5 (1901).djvu/484

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454
THE ZOOLOGIST.
 

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.

(Continued from p. 350.)

 

May 3rd, 1901.—I was here this morning from about 4.30 a.m., but an unfortunate circumstance obliged me to leave at 7; and on the following day I was unable to come, owing to being indisposed. Up to my leaving, no pairing and no peculiar antic or display between the two birds—as witnessed the previous morning—had taken place. Twice, however, the two had approached the nest, and each had lain along the water, as though inviting the other, in the way I have recorded in my notes of last year. On each occasion this was followed by an approach of the birds to the nest, but the impulse was not sufficient to cause either of them to ascend it, though this was evidently in their minds. This, together with all their actions in this respect which I have witnessed, makes me think that the actual pairing of these birds takes place, always, either on the nest itself, or on some structure of weeds, either naturally or artificially formed for the purpose, the lying along the water being only the suggestion preliminary to the subsequent ascent. Such, at least, has always been the case, and the manner in which the pairing is accomplished, the one bird standing entirely upright—like a Penguin—on the body of the other, would seem to necessitate some solid foundation. Nevertheless, the lying along the water may point to a past state of things, in which pairing took place in it, as it does now with Ducks.

During all the time I was here (from 4.40 to 6.45, to be precise) neither of the two birds carried any weeds to the nest, or