Great Crested Grebes nesting on Shadwell Basin – photo story

A pair of Great Crested Grebes are nesting and mating on the south side of Shadwell Basin. Grebes are fantastic birds to watch but seem to be hopeless nest builders as our Wildlife Rangers have previous reported here and here. 

The main problem the Grebes have had is choosing to nest right next to the Coots nest on Shadwell Basin which has meant the Coots getting very angry and upset and driving the Grebes away.

This year the Grebes have chosen a much better spot, building their nest on the end of a branch (above) where it dips into the water just where the Shadwell Basin anglers fish but not anywhere near their fishing lines.

As with most birds who nest in urban areas the Grebes make the most of the rubbish floating around in the water which, while not creating a glamorous home, does do the job.

As you can see the Grebes are always on the lookout for a nice piece of grubby plastic.

This and any other bits of rubbish are then weaved into the main nest structure along with twigs and branches when they can find them.

Another problem with Shadwell Basin is the lack of vegetation which just drops into the water, although curiously enough whenever our Wildlife Rangers are in attendance there seem to be lots of suitable branches in the water just where the Grebes can find them. Odd that.

The Grebes courtship ritual is a wonder to behold as you can see from the video below.


In stark contrast the mating is er… pragmatic. A distinct lack of romance. First the female hops out of the water onto the nest.

Then the male makes an appearance and hops onto the nest too.

And within two seconds…

… all is done.

And it is time to look for more fish.

For more information

Great Crested Grebe (RSPB)


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