This week's local is an odd one out because you cannot find it in the beach forest...
You might have noticed a floating platform bobbing on the lake in front of the Bird Sanctuary! It is a floating nest for our resident grebes and we are in the process of putting together six extra nesting rafts for them. Watch this space, if you would like to come along to our working bee - date to be confirmed, it will be advertised soon!
No one has a really good handle on how many Grebes are on Lake Te Anau. Andrew ‘Max’ Smart (DOC Biodiversity Ranger) has seen a few pairs at various locations around the lake. In NZ they are only found in the South Island and there are meant to be around about 600+ individuals.
Crested grebes occur throughout Europe and central Asia, Africa, southern Australia and New Zealand. They also winter in parts of southern Asia. In New Zealand, crested grebes occur widely in the South Island but are extinct in the North Island (although occasional birds are seen there). They occur on up to 100 lakes from small tarns to large glacial lakes, with their strong holds in the Canterbury and Otago high country. They are rarer and have declined significantly in Nelson, Marlborough, West Coast and Fiordland, but have recently began nesting on the coast in Canterbury, where their numbers are increasing. They forage in a variety of shallow lakes, but require lakes fringed with rushes, sedges, reeds or willows to nest.
Did you know that grebes eat feathers by the hundreds? They do so to protect their stomach (gizzard) by pudding the sharp fish bones and to throw out unwanted parasites in the process. They literally throw up a ball of feathers and fish bones every second day!