Great Crested Grebe

A common sight at Chard reservoir around the year. This reservoir is known as a stronghold for Somerset breeding Great Crested Grebe, but numbers of breeding pairs vary year to year from 0 to 9. They first colonized the reservoir around 1910. Most of the early records were submitted by Col. J.W. Gifford.

winter great crested grebe, baz stevens 00

1920 - 2 pairs.

1923 - 5 pairs.

No records or information received during 1924 & 1925.

1926 - 'Many' pairs bred.

1927 - Maximum count of 14 birds, some juveniles hatched this year.

1928 - At least 5 pairs bred.

23/05/28 - Maximum count of 22 birds.

1930 - 6 pairs bred.

1931 - No breeding due to reservoir being drained.

20/03/32 - Pair present but gone by 03/05.

1933 - Pair bred.

1935 - Pair seen but no proof of breeding.

26/04/38 - 4 pairs, but no birds after 05/05.

1939 - 2 pairs bred.

1940 - 5 pairs reported.

21/04/41 - Maximum count of 18 birds. 2 or 3 pairs bred during 1941.

1942 - 4 pairs bred.

1943 - At least 2 pairs bred.

No records between 1944 & 1956.

Reservoir drained in 1947.

19/04/57 - Nest with 2 eggs. 1st breeding record for at least 7 years, although sadly unsuccessful.

1959 - Pair raised young. 1st successful breeding for 8 years.

16/06/60 - 3 pairs bred. At least 4 young seen.

1962 - 2 pairs bred successfully, up to 6 present at various dates.

27/10/63 - Maximum count of 10 birds. 3 pairs bred this year.

08/10/64 - Maximum count of 21 birds. At least 5 pairs bred this year & up to 10 young reared.

24/08/65 - Maximum count of 30 birds. 5 or 6 pairs bred & up to 15 young seen.

31/03/66 - Maximum count of 22 birds.

27/07/66 - Bred with some 16 juveniles seen.

1967 - At least 13 or 14 pairs with a record (since beaten) 21 juveniles seen.

17/03/68 - 21 pairs seen by this date, with 7 nests but oil pollution resulted in a lower count of offspring than previous year.

09/02/69 - Maximum count of 39 birds. Grebe numbers present throughout the year but no breeding due to pollution.

19/03/70 - 11 breeding pairs by this date. Up to 14 juveniles seen.

10/09/70 - Maximum count of 45 birds.

14/03/71 - Maximum count of 27 birds. 6 juveniles seen this year.

13/04/72 - Maximum count of 14 birds. Only 1 juvenile seen this year.

18/02/73 - Maximum count of 32 birds. No breeding this year.

1974 - Up to 15 birds by March & April but no breeding took place.

??/01/75 - Maximum count of 8 birds. Did not breed this year.

1976 - No information in local reports for this year but the severe drought spelt bad news for the Grebe.

1977 - Single pair bred.

23/08/78 - Maximum count of 36 birds. 5 pairs bresd successfully this year.

16/09/79 - Maximum count of a staggering 63 birds. At least 6 pairs bred this year, with 17 young raised.

19/10/80 - Maximum count of 26 birds. No breeding this year.

1981 - 5 pairs in May & June but no breeding took place.

1982 - 6 pairs remained throughout the summer months but no breeding took place.

18/09/83 - Maximum count of 26 birds. Successful breeding this year with 7 young raised.

1984 - Very successful breeding with 28 young raised.

22/03/85 - Maximum count of 18 birds. No breeding this year (?).

05/08/86 - Maximum count of 34 birds. 9 young were raised this year.

1987 - Pair in April.

22/08/88 - Maximum count of 18 birds. No breeding this year (?).

03/09/89 - Maximum count of 20 birds. Breeding this year resulted in 2 young.

15/02/92 - Pair on nest, but later flooded. 4 young were raised by 2 pairs this year.

06/03/92 - maximum count of 23 birds.

18/02/93 - Maximum count of 28 birds. A breeding pair raised a single young.

28/12/94 - Maximum count of 17 birds. 3 pairs bred, raising 7 young.

21/03/95 - Maximum count of 30 birds. 4 pairs bred, raising 10 young.

15/11/96 - Maximum count of 46 birds. 4 pairs bred, raising at least 9 young.

24/12/97 - Maximum count of 49 birds. 11 pairs bred but raised a disappointing 11 young.

04/01/98 - Maximum count of 54 birds. 1 pair raised 1 young. Several nests were flooded in June.

16/11/98 - 43 birds.

09/12/98 - 49 birds.

16/01/99 - 36 birds. No breeding recorded.

27/10/99 - 36 birds

27/11/99 - 41 birds.

05/12/99 - Maximum count of 48 birds.

16/08/00 - 3 pairs with 7 chicks.

02/12/00 - max count 48

16/07/01 - 8 young, probably 4 successful pairs

14/12/01 - Max count of 49 birds on 3 dates in December

18/02/02 - Max count 30 this year

09/06/02 - 5 pairs but no young seen this year.

2003 - Probably 13 young hatched altogether but many disappeared at a young age

29/11/03 - max count of 52 birds and again on 06/12

01/01/04 - max count of 51 with high of 48 nearly a year later on 17/12/04

24/07/04 - 7 juveniles

08/01/05 - 55 birds rising to 60 on 30/01. Despite these big winter numbers and nearly 20 birds during the summer, no reports of nesting this year.

28/12/05 - 57 birds

07/01/06 - 50 birds reducing to about 20 over the summer

23/11/06 - 45 birds

16/07/07 - Chicks from the 9th pair this summer took to the water today

26/07/07 - 16 juveniles present

17/09/07 - 45 birds

2008 - maximum of 10 young seen, 8 believed to have survived from 5 breeding pairs.

10/12/08 - 61 birds

23/07/09 - 7 chicks

14/11/09 - 55 birds

2010 - 46 birds on 23/11 and again on 27/11, max 4 young raised

2011 - 50 birds on 17/11, max 9 young at any one time in late August, probably 5 pairs bred

2012 - 58 on 18/11 55 on 06/11 and 52 on 12/11. Low numbers, max 15 in December with single figures in 2nd half of month when water levels were very high. Breeding attempted, but nests washed out at end of April.

2013 - very low numbers (2 or 3) in January, influx on 18/02 when 18, rising to 28 on 03/03 in very cold weather. 3 pairs over summer, one pair nested in July at south end, but were unsuccessful. 2 chicks seen 11/08 at north end and over the next 2 months. Max count 44 on 20/11

2014 - Winter maximums of 50 on 24/11 and 06/12. A very good breeding year with 28 chicks believed to have hatched. 21 young were counted on 20/07 with 26 believed hatched altogether at that point while 2 nests were still occupied. The first chick was seen on 06/05 and the last hatched in the first week of August.

2015 - Winter maximum of 63 on 09/02 in very cold weather equalling the record number of 1979. 3 pairs believed to have bred with probably 7 young raised.

2016 - Winter maximum of 72 on 13/11, also 66 on 22/11 and 64 on 19/11, all breaking previous records. 4 young hatched in one brood, 3 known nesting attempts.