Friday, May 18, 2007

Great-crested Grebe in Tasmania

Crossing the Sorell Causeway a few days ago, I noticed a number of birds fishing on either side. There was a fair bit of traffic about, and it's not the road to take your eyes off (or stop), but I did note that some of them were Great-crested Grebes and fishing fairly close in to the causeway. So I drove to the Midway Point end and walked back along the Orielton Lagoon side, hoping for a chance to photograph a species that has eluded me so far. In part that's not true, as in the halcyon days when there was water in Lake Dulverton, at Oatlands, I photographed them on a number of occasions, albeit on slide film. By the time I had walked back to where I'd seen them, they were no longer close in, so the shot at right isn't quite what I'd hoped for. There were about a dozen fishing, mainly in the lagoon, along with a similar number of Musk Duck, and a few Little Pied Cormorant. I also noted 2 Royal Spoonbill on nearby Suzie Island, now almost permanent residents.
The Great-crested Grebe, often now known just as Crested Grebe, is an uncommon species in Tasmania. They are to be seen at times at Orielton/Sorell area, occasionally numbering as high as 70 or so, the Derwent River at Granton, and on the Tamar River in the North. They've also been recorded on Moulting and Rostrevor Lagoons on the East coast. They regularly bred on Lake Dulverton, and in the 70s I can remember seeing 6 or 7 occupied nests, usually between December and February. As far as I know, this was the sole breeding site in the state, so we have lost this bird as a breeding species, at least until, or if, we get significant changes in the weather patterns, and see Lake Dulverton filled once more.
[Footnote: It appears that they may have bred at Rostrevor Lagoon in the early '90s, so I may have prematurely written them off as a breeding species in Tasmania.]

No comments: