Ian says…. A Slavonian Grebe turned up at Astbury Mere Country Park on the southwest side of Congleton, East Cheshire at the end of January. It’s a species we have been lucky enough to photograph in full summer plumage in Scotland, but so far we have'nt done them in their winter dress. We knew we had to do the short drive down the M6 motorway to have a look before it decided to leave and with it another photo opportunity. It was easy to locate the Slav – we just looked for the other photographers already there! A short walk and we were soon round and in front of the bird. Much of the banking is overgrown with willows and this didn’t leave many gaps to photograph through. I had decided that as soon as I could, I would get down to the waters edge and sit it out until hopefully it would swim in front of the camera. There wasn’t much sunlight about and the water wasn’t as calm as we would have liked but with the bird coming reasonably close on several occasions we managed to get some decent pics in the short two and a half hour session.
Pauline say's .... I took the opposite tack of remaining mobile for once and walking up and down along the banking as the bird moved naturally around fishing - with the end result that I was looking slightly down when it got close so I haven't got the out of focus water in back that is so complimentary ... (like his nibs has ...) At one point it was close behind a large willow - myself and another 'tog could see it but there were too many branches in front to do anything - frustrating! We both hung on hoping the bird would swim out and across the opening in front of us but instead it dove and vanished: I heard one of the pair of Great Crested 'chuntering' nearby and the next thing the Slav was surfacing almost at our feet - closer than we ever dared hope! It did a couple of circles and you could see it trying to decide which was the greater threat - us or the GCG - having had a bashing earlier from the bigger grebe it hung on in front of us for the few mins needed - and the sun came out too - 'Perfic'!