The recent stormy weather has stirred things up in the bird world and a number of birds have turned up in unusual places. Last weekend we paid a visit to Farmoor Reservoir, near Oxford to see two unusual visitors normally found in coastal waters: a Slavonian Grebe Podiceps auritus and a Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisigena. Like other grebe species, both feed primarily on fish and were quite at home catching small species such as Three-spined Stickleback Gasterosteus aculeatus; judging by their success rate, this fish is clearly abundant in the shallow margins of the reservoir.
In addition to these visitors, Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus were present in good numbers, along with a few Little Grebes Tachybaptus ruficollis. Occasional attempts by the lone Red-necked Grebe to associate with Great Cresteds were rebuffed and it was not treated kindly when it strayed too close to feeding Coots either.