late breeding record for Australasian Grebe

To: Graeme Clifton <>, chatline <>
Subject: late breeding record for Australasian Grebe
From: Michael Lenz <>
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 2020 23:29:23 +0000
Hello Graeme,

most interesting. Could I please ask whether you would be prepared yo write up your obs. for Canberra Bird Notes, especially from the last breeding season and the birds accepting your nest platform.

Michael Lenz

On Thu, 19 Mar 2020 at 08:41, Graeme Clifton <> wrote:
Hi Michael,
Our pair of Aus Grebes are rearing their 3rd brood of the summer and I wouldn’t be surprised if they go again.  Last breeding season they had 5 broods and interestingly the success rate declined from the first to last brood, starting with 5 chicks and ending with 1.

The water level of the dam rises and falls with pumping in and out. In 2018 I built a platform for the pair to nest on and they started nest building on it within 1 day.

My general observation, without written records, is that breeding on our dam is not limited by drought.  It may be more limited by parental exhaustion!!!!!

I’ll keep an eye on the situation.

I have included Martin in this message as this dam is the one where the micro bats were taken by the Aust Hobby.

Graeme Clifton

Sent from my iPad

On 19 Mar 2020, at 7:52 am, Michael Lenz <> wrote:


in 2007 I have written in CBN [32(2) 102-105] about late breeding of the A. Grebe in our area, the starting point was a nest with eggs in early Feb. 2007 in Harrison. The breeding season for Canberra by different sources is given from September to March. However, the late part of that season refers largely to observations of pairs with dependent young rather than indicating that clutches can be found over such long periods.

After flooding events opportunistic breeding has been recorded in different parts of Australia from August to April (HANZAB). In 2007 Rhonda and Lindsay Hansch (in Jerrabombera) had a pair with 4 young, no older than 2 weeks on 11 April. Taking incubation period etc. into account, incubation would have started in early March.

So by all accounts, these late breeding events are rare in OUR area. Christine D. informed me yesterday that she has a pair nesting in the Goulburn area. We may well find more cases.

Michael Lenz

---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2020 at 00:06
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] late breeding record for Australasian Grebe
To: chatline <>

Yes, maybe. It depends if breeding is typically timed according to date, or calendar, by that I mean time of year. That might be normal for permanent water. However if breeding is timed according to having available water, from recent rains after a very long dry period, then I wouldn’t think it is late, it is correct timing……..


From: Michael Lenz [
Sent: Wednesday, 18 March, 2020 6:35 PM
To: chatline
Subject: [canberrabirds] late breeding record for Australasian Grebe


Today(18 Mar) on a farm dam on the eastern side of Lake George was a pair of Australasian Grebes, incubating a clutch of eggs. This very late breeding, no doubt, triggered by the recent rains.


It may be worthwhile for observers to check out other smaller bodies of water. Other pairs of Australasian Grebes may have the same idea. 


Michael Lenz

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