The Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

The past few weeks I have been trying to photograph the Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) whilst displaying its mating ritual, this is the second year I have been trying to photograph the ritual.

The Great Crested Grebe is the biggest (on average 46 to 51 cm) species of grebes found in Europe, its a typical water bird that can be found in ponds and lakes. Grebes are excellent swimmers and divers, they use these abilities to catch fish or flee from danger.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Description: The adults are unmistakable with there characteristic head and neck decorations, they have a white face with a red-brown and black collar, the collar is displayed during there mating display. Between it’s eyes and pink beak runs a small black line. The Great Crested Grebe has a white bottom, a orange/brownish middle section and is dark on the upper side. There legs have no flippers and are positioned relatively far at the backside of there body, making it hard to move over land. This is why grebes have a preference for building there nests along the water’s edge.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Juveniles have a characteristic black and white striped pattern, which the parents can recognize. Male and female grebes will each identify their ‘favourites’, which they alone will care for and teach. A few days after hatching the chicks can already swim and dive, the adults teach these skills to their young by carrying them on their back and diving, leaving the chicks to float on the surface; they then re-emerge a few feet away so that the chicks may swim back onto them.  Whilst on the back of the adults, the juveniles are better protected from predatory fish and herons. After approximately ten weeks the chicks are independent.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

Behaviour: Grebes are known for there mating display. The male dives in the water to get some aquatic plants. Then they swim at each other, with a stretched neck, when there chests make contact they rise out of the water. During spring the grebe couple builds a “play” nest on the water for mating. Soon after a bigger and stronger nest will be made at the water’s edge, this nest will be used for laying and hatching the eggs. They will usually lay three to four blue-green eggs, which will colour yellow and brown later on. The eggs will be hatched by both parents taking turns, but sometimes the nest is left unoccupied for a small amount of time. When the nest is unoccupied, the eggs are camouflaged by plant parts. The eggs will be hatched in about 23 to 25 days.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

I still have not photographed the mating display of the Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus). I have witnessed parts of there mating display but not the full “show”, I have seen them mating and hatching there eggs. Whilst the few couples I was following are already on there nests, I have found another couple that has not been nesting yet. Hopefully they will display there mating ritual when I’m with them, If not….  Well U always have to have wishes and that gives me another goal for the next year(‘s).

More photo’s can be found by following the link to my Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus) collection

Four-spotted chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)

The Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata), a.k.a. Four-spotted Skimmer, is a dragonfly from the Libellulidae family and can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and Northern America. Four-spotted Chaser’s have two stadia, Larvae and adult. The Larvae live on the bottom of ponds and pools, where they feed on other aquatic insects. It takes two years to develop from the larvae stage to adult. When the development of the larvae stage comes to an end, the larvae crawl out of the water, using the available vegetation, to find a spot to “clamp” themselves on to go into there final stage of the metamorphosis. During metamorphosis the adult form of the dragonfly bursts out of the larvae skin, when its out of the skin it needs to pump up its wings and lets them dry. Once his wings are fully dried up the dragonflies metamorphosis is completed. The adult stage can be found approximately between April to early September. Adults feed predominantly on mosquitoes, gnats and other small insects. This active Dragonfly mainly lives by ponds, pools and ditches.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)

Identification: The Four-spotted chaser is a medium sized dragonfly, with a length of approximately 45 mm. The Four-spotted chaser is the only specie of dragonfly that has a black spot in the middle of the wings, there are four spots in total. The rear wings have a dark spot, with above the dark spot a brown orange spot which can also be found on the front wings. The body has a yellowish / brown colour with a black colour at the end of the abdomen, on the flanks are yellow spots. Males can be distinguished from females through there abdominal appendages. For males these two appendages are spread, with females they form a point.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)

Behaviour: The male is highly aggressive and will defend his territory from incursions from other males. The male has a preference for prominent perches and will often return to the same perch around the ponds, pools and ditches whilst patroling for intruders. Mating takes place in the air, rather than on perches or amongst the vegetation. The female lays her eggs on floating vegetation.

Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)

Predators: The Emperor dragonfly (Anax imperator) and the the Green Tiger Beetle (Cicindela campestris) are known to be hunting the four-spotted chaser.

More photo’s can be viewed by following the link to my Four-spotted chaser (Libellula Quadrimaculata) collection.

“Black and White”

The past few days I have been in the position to photograph a Black swan (Cygnus atratus) that has been laying on its nest. The light wasn’t always what I was looking for, but after a few days I got a few photo’s that I’m happy to share with U. In the progress of updating my image collection I also sorted my Mute swan (Cygnus olor) photo’s out.

The photo’s of the Mute- / Black swan’s can be found in my image collection following the bird taxonomy, by using the search form or by clicking the link’s provided above the photo’s.

Black swan (Cygnus atratus)

Mute swan (Cygnus olor)

These photo’s and all others are available for print and or download by using the purchase button. When using the purchase button U will get a few options to chose from.

With this I would like to end this blog about added content on my website and a example of one of my photo’s on the “wall” of a happy customer.

Bug´s, Finches and Warblers

I have done some bug fixes on my website, which prevented overlays from showing text over the images, as well as my Image Collection showing only a white screen. these errors had to do with a plugin I used for social media sharing. The only solution was to remove the plugin. I’m looking into other options for social media now.

Next to the bug fixes I also added two new collections to my Image Collection, the added collections are:

Hawfinch (Coccothraustes coccothraustes)

Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)

Both collections are added with four photo´s, so go check them out. I hope U are enjoying my new website. I try to add new content on a regular basis, with a few website tweaks where needed. If U have any idea´s or suggestions, please let me know either by posting a comment or through my contact form. For now I wish U all the best and I hope to see U again soon.

New Website

I am proud to (finally) announce and release my new responsive website. The last few weeks I have been working on the Layout and infrastructure of the website, to make it as clean and straight forward as possible, with photo’s as the star of the show. I had a few “demands”, which sometimes were a bit troublesome, that the website would take care off. In the end I think it came out all right. The website has a few main features in the form of a blog, portfolio and image library.

The main page is made up of my portfolio in a slide show, followed by my my most recent blog’s and images.

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

The blog is straight forward, I strive to make  at least one blog post in two weeks. Each photo in the blog will link to its corresponding “single image” page for addition information about the photo, or can be bought directly by using the Purchase button.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Finally we have the image collection. This is a image database using a folder structure and key wording. The database structure for the Birds (Aves) collection is following the IOC World Bird List. The main collections might include names of birds I have not yet (or never) photographed, but these collections will split up in more specific collections. I chose this way of arranging my photo’s to keep it clean and simple to find specific images. At this moment I don’t have such a complex system for my Mammal (Mammalia) collection, but that might change in the future. When U arrive at the final collection folder it will show the images of the specific subject. By clicking a photo U will be taken to the “Single Image” page, where U can view additional details, hover over the photo for a zoomed view and purchase the photo as a digital file or printed photo.

Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

Payment proceeds through the secure PayPal gateway. You can pay either with funds from your PayPal account or with a credit card (U don’t have to have a Paypal account). If U purchase a digital image, a link will be send automaticly after receiving the payment. For more information about a Image license click here… If a print is purchased, I will get a email with all the details of the purchased print, so I can print (or let it be printed) the photo and ship it towards U. For more information about purchasing a print click here…

Whats to come:

  • Minor tweaks
  • Insects collection
  • Amphibian collection
  • Reptiles collection
  • Flora collection
  • Spiders collection
  • Fine art Prints collection
  • Personal favourites collection
  • More photo’s will be added to all collections
  • A new logo
  • I’m trying out a few informative blog idea’s (more information about this will follow later)
  • Unknown idea’s ;)

I hope U will enjoy my new website and I hope to see U on my future blog’s and image posts.


Richard Guijt