My first sight of a ‘dabchick’
IN spring and summer my colleagues suggest that I am out and about a lot more than in autumn and winter.
I am actually out of the office quite a lot in the colder months but wrapped up nicely in my trendy Lancashire Wildlife Trust fleece.
It is well worth me wandering around. In the past I probably wouldn’t have noticed half of the things I spot now, because my thirst for knowledge has increased every day I have worked at the trust.
Some days I just take delight in some of our more common wildlife.
I am always delighted by the sight of ducklings on the local lodge and young starlings when they get a feeding education on our shed.
Every so often I see something I haven’t seen before, often without realising. This happened on a day out to a wetland reserve the other afternoon, Lunt Meadows in Merseyside.
The only things on show were a couple of coots and a lapwing, which was just out of range of my camera lens.
Then I saw a tiny duck, about a third the size of the coot.
It was a dark bird, with a reddish neck and I could see a white mark around its beak.
I came across a local birder who informed me that I had just seen my first little grebe.
It is our smallest grebe and is known to many people as a ‘dabchick’, which I think is lovely.
Once you get close to them they are easy to recognise because of the bright chestnut throat and cheeks.
A dabchick’s call is very similar to a horse whinnying and for a small bird it can actually make quite a lot of noise.
Another cute thing about little grebes is the fact that they use floating platforms of water weeds as a perfect base for their nests.
These beautiful birds are found on canals, rivers and lakes throughout the country, so the fact that I haven’t seen one before is down to my own ignorance really.
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection and promotion of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside, all lying north of the River Mersey.
It manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 Local Nature Reserves covering acres of woodland, wetland, upland and meadow. The trust has 27,000 members, and over 1,200 volunteers.
To become a trust member, go to lancswt. org.uk or call 01772 324129. For more information about Cheshire Wildlife Trust, call 01948 820728 or visit cheshire wildlifetrust.org.uk.
●● The little grebe is our smallest