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Dancing Pair of Podiceps

Dancing Pair of Podiceps
Photo Information
Copyright: Gabi Klemm (klemmg) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 302 W: 40 N: 484] (1719)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-04-02
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 20D, Sigma 50-500 F/4-6.3 EX HSM, Sigma UV
Exposure: f/11, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Mating cycle of crested grebe, Trentaure at its Best [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-04-02 17:26
Viewed: 7836
Favorites: 7 [view]
Points: 90
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Dancing Pair of Podiceps

Great Crested Grebe – Podiceps cristatus

In breeding plumage, the colourful crests/crowns make these birds easy to identify, the crest is raised in courtship. The sexes are similar in appearance but the male has longer crests and the larger cheek ruffs.

They have an elaborate courtship display in which they rise out of the water and shake their heads.

These two repeated the courtship pattern many times over.

It often began at the border of the reeds with the female lying low in the water and the male approaching from behind. The male slowly approached and started to fuss with its feathers for a while (some may be wondering whether this one was the female after all).

It then swam near and passed, with the female raising its head and starting swimming in parallel towards an area free of reeds where the two had a bit more space for their dance.

They sat in the water facing each other for a while and began a beak-to-beak head-shaking display by shaking (and less frequent nodding) their heads at each other in a coordinated sequence (female turns head left, while male turns right and vice versa). At this and many other opportunities, the crests and cheek ruffs are fluffed and displayed to advantage.

When their heads are dizzy enough they go cool them by diving. Maybe they were not so dizzy after all, because most of the time both come up with a nice green pondweed “present”.

Again they approach each other and come almost out of the water by rapidly paddling their feet, facing each other breast to breast with their presents, SEE PHOTO. They continue to turn their heads from side to side while out of the water.

Then they perform a coordinated turn and go a bit in parallel, still out of the water. When they come down again they still don’t have enough and again face each other and sometimes continue their head shaking.

Other times they turn towards the floating nest they are currently building and both bring nesting material to continue building. It is just in the first building phase and barely rises out of the water.

The nest is a rather fragile construction, passing boats are a real danger, as the wake can easily destroy the nest and wash the eggs away.

There are fishers fishing the lake and people paddling but there are no motorised crafts and the reeds are usually left well alone. The most disturbance is probably from people on the fishing jetties (such as photographers ...) to both sides of the nest. People form one side are eyed warily at first then ignored if they keep still, but the birds will leave when both jetties are occupied.

Last year this pair raised only one chick, I am curious how many they will manage this year.


Athila, jossim, eleana, PDP, Luc, efigesta, scottevers7, thor68, fiyo, Friday, nardophoto, ALIRIZA, dew77, marhowie, petrudamsa, coasties, thistle, smirnese, hansh, reina, timonejoon, liziafa, Gudule, antiwheeze has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
Animal Behaviouringridshaul 1 01-11 07:39
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Athila Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 335 W: 239 N: 493] (1982)
  • [2006-04-02 17:36]

Hi Gabi!

Very nice picture. Focus and exposure are excellent. Nice cropping and composition. DOF creat nice blured BG.

Great work and TFS.

  • Great 
  • jossim Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1538 W: 5 N: 2240] (12636)
  • [2006-04-02 17:46]

Bonjour Gabi,

Fantastique prise,l'évènement est très particulier et les canard sont très jolis. Félicitations pour la composition et la netteté.

Merci pour l'envoie.


  • Great 
  • eleana Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 206 W: 80 N: 75] (2247)
  • [2006-04-02 17:46]

Hi Gabi, what a compo and colours, the details are really great!!!
TFS and best wishes,

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-04-02 17:52]

Hi Gabi,
Excellent shot, you've captured a nice moment. Really nice composition, good DOF and great colours, really nice shot.

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2006-04-02 17:57]

Hi Gabi,

this is a fantastic shot! I can offer only congratulations on this. It's lovely, what a moment!

Wow Gaby
great macro here, that birds so amazing and romantic
great eye

Hi Gabi,
Beautiful capture!! Have never seen these birds before. Like the DOF and the glint off the eye on the lower bird. Love the detail of the water droplets on the oiled feathers .. wonderful!! Wonder how long you had to wait for this shot?

Hi Gabi,
A fantastic moment you have captured here. Nice timing. The quality of light was excellent. Very nice saturated colors, and the detail is sharp. The centralized composition is really perfect for this shot.
Very nice work!

wow bel instantané , belle lumiere et couleurs fantastiques !

bravo pour cette photo , amitiés :) !

Hi Gabi,
Fantastic capture with perfect timing!
Great POV and excellent composition,
very good details and very nice colours.
Thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2006-04-03 2:41]

Hello Gabi, that´s a very nice capture. Very nice colours and very good sharp details. Composition and POV/DoF are great also. Very well done.

Great moment captured.
Everything perfect!!!
You own one of the best galley in TN.

Andrea (Italy)

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-04-03 4:16]

A fantastic shot of this pair of crested grebes.
What a great moment you have caught, Gabi.
I just love the composition, and the way they are touching each other. The reeds in their beaks just make this even more special. The epitome of a courtship ritual, laden with symbolisms.
A masterpiece. TFS : )

hallo gabi! :-)
perfect "action" shot of the dancing grebes.
excellent pov & composition,
nice moody atmosphere through the light, blurred bg and reflections on the water.
very well seen & captured,

Fantastic moment, colours and quality! Thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-04-03 8:23]

Hello Gabi!
Very nice capture.I liked timing,POV,simple BG,framing and composition a lot.TFS...:-)

What should I say? Your photo left me speechless. This is PRO material.

Regards, Petru

  • Great 
  • marjan Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 459 W: 14 N: 366] (2685)
  • [2006-04-03 13:12]

Hi GAbi Very nice photo, good coloures and intersting motve. TFS

Hello Gabi!
Lovely scene! Perfect composition, POV, beautiful colors and light. Great work!

  • Great 
  • Aramok Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 896 W: 101 N: 1501] (5166)
  • [2006-04-03 15:18]

fantastic - I really love the reeds in the beaks.

Fantastic capture Gabi,
Good detail, colours and sharpness.
Composition and lighting are excellent. Good POV and framing.
Thanks for posting, have a good week.

  • Great 
  • gopi Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 22 W: 0 N: 70] (337)
  • [2006-04-03 15:37]

Very nice composition
Right moment
Good choice of vertical format.
Very well executed

Hi Gabi

You have done a great job here. Good POV, very well composed. Depth of colour is spot on. Clarirty and sharpness are both great. :-)

Excellent capture Gabi! The moment you caught is wonderful. These birds are beautiful. I never saw them before. Composition, colors, DOF, POV and sharpness are excellent. I put in my favorites.
Congratulations and TFS!

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1835 W: 301 N: 4287] (14767)
  • [2006-04-04 19:47]

An excellent photo, Gabi. You play with perfection here.
Thank you.

Hello Gabi,
This is an outstanding post!!! Perfect catch!
I've never seen a picture of such a great moment. Love it!

Wonderful capture, Gabi!!!

Hi Gabi,
Unique and interesting capture. I enjoyed reading your description of events, as you observed their behavior..Excellent work.
Well done!

This is sooo good Gabi. Perfect in every sense. MASTERPIECE!


An amazing shot, what can I say more. Timing was absolutely perfect. A am curious how long many shots you had to take before you got this one.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • hansh Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 277 W: 1 N: 741] (2762)
  • [2006-04-17 13:50]

What a very nice, lovely picture. In Holland we call this birds "Fuut". A very special moment you've captured. Thanks.
Gr. Hans

HEllo Gabi,

This is a great shot of these two dancers, the POV is a well captured momment with a nice DOF isolating the two lovers. Well done Gabi. :)

  • Great 
  • reina Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 257 W: 1 N: 330] (2032)
  • [2006-05-06 15:14]

Hi Gabi, what a magnificant picture. The pose of the birds is suburb, the whole scenery amazing. It goes directly to me favourites. Thanks for sharing. Reina

Hello Gabi

what can i say? just wow, great result realy lovley. hiisss, they dancing. just watch.
thanks for sharing


Hi Gabi,
Excellent shot.
Wonderful framing and composition.
Very good details, colors, sharp and POV.
TFS Malgosia

  • Great 
  • Gudule Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 248 W: 11 N: 288] (1204)
  • [2006-06-20 20:35]

Que dire de plus que ce qui est écrit ci-haut.
Une photo fascinante par ses couleurs, sa composition, et sa définition dans les détails.
Un régal pour l'oeil.
Merci Gabi pour cette magnifique présentation.


  • Great 
  • pac Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 67 W: 13 N: 157] (1783)
  • [2006-08-18 3:38]

Hi Gabi,

A fantastic example of the dance, Thanks for adding it to my theme - it fits nicely!

Just to add a little info to your description: The adults have no crests outside breeding season, but the male is somewhat darker on the back..


Hi Gabi
Excellent moment !TFS

wow, amazing pic, TFS Ori

Bonjour Gabi,

Cette photo est magnifique,un rêve...Cette dance et ces couleurs sont enchanteresses..
Merci d'avoir figé ce ballet amoureux pour notre plus grand plaisir .

bonjour gabi
des moment comme cela sont vraiment tres agreable a voir d'autant que la photo est parfaite,netteté,exposition et couleurs au top.

Extraordinarily beautiful.Rarely see such a picture.Those herbs which they are in its beak and a cherry on the cake.

Dear Gabi,
I discovered this excellent study of courtship behaviour when trawling TrekNature for my theme "Animal Behaviour".

It is sad, that you no longer participate in the site - your photos are ALL very interesting.

The photographic technique is excellent - the layout simple and to the point - a perfect presentation. I like particularly the tight control of depth of field creating the pastel

Your notes are very informative.

May be - you will consider to "come back" - I hope so.

Kind regards


I have some picture of that dance but yours is a lot better, congratulations.

hi . I can not say any thing About This picture . Congratulations . God be With you Thanks for sharing . Ali

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