Little Grebe – 1894

Tachybaptes fluviatilis – Resident.

The Little Grebe, or Dabchick, as it is most commonly called, is the smallest of the Grebe family, and is the only one that nests in Pembrokeshire, and commonly throughout the British Isles. It is more frequently seen in the winter months, because then there is less cover of aquatic vegetation in which to conceal itself.

We have seen it on the Cleddy, beneath Stone Hall, and in hard weather noticing two or three on the water in company have occasionally stalked them, as from a distance we have taken them for Teal; but as we approached their diving at once revealed to us what they were. The Little Grebe frequents pools, lakes and the still waters of rivers and streams wherever there is sufficient cover to hide, and here it can easily escape detection, as it will dive, and when it comes up again to breathe will do so among the leaves and rushes by the bank, where it only thrusts its head above the surface and cannot be seen. We have amused ourselves by watching them diving in this way in our fish ponds, and although quick sighted and familiar with their habits, they very frequently managed to come up somewhere where we could not see them.

Like all the other Grebes this small species visits the tide-way in the winter, where we have seen and shot it in salt water.

Mathew M.A. 1894, Birds of Pembrokeshire and its Islands

More about the Little Grebe in Pembrokeshire