Red-necked grebe is a rare bird in Catalonia, with very few records in the last years. Not the kind of bird that your expect to find on a quick visit to Arenys de Mar harbour, a small town near Barcelona. Instead, what I had in mind today was looking for some gulls and checking the eastern beach, which recently has benefited from a vegetation restoration in some areas.
Give birds some space and they will come, even in a semi-urban area like this, with lots of people and dogs around. Serins, Goldfinches, Black redstarts, Chiff-chaffs, White wagtails, Cirl buntings… not bad at all.
It was getting late, and the fishing boats were already returning from the sea, with a cloud of gulls following them. When they enter the harbour, that’s a good time to be there. But before I could get to a good vantage point, I saw this grebe from the outer breakwater… As a boat passed by, it was forced to dive. Hmmm… When it came up again I had the telescope ready and yep, as I had suspected, it was a Red-necked grebe! But the bird was distant. I wanted to get better views of it, so I had to go around the harbour all the way to the other side. When I got there, the grebe was no were to be seen.
Now there were many boats coming in, and the grebe had moved somewhere out of sight. Around ten minutes later, it showed up again. Just when I was about to take some pictures of it, the camera battery died, as it happens, so I had no other choice but to use my phone and the telescope. That’s why the pictures are just passable, the bird was actually quite close at times.
“Now I’m here, now I’m there” as the famous song goes. That’s what grebes do. The time it took to point at it with the telescope, zoom in, focus, get the phone, frame it and shoot… and it was gone again. So patience was the name of the game.
Anyway, a real pleasure to watch it!