Called the Haubentaucher (hooded diver) in German
I had seen one of these in Denmark years ago, long before I was birding specifically. I still have that photo – I guess I found it quite exotic even then. I was thrilled to see one in the lake by my daughter’s home and then even more excited to see the second arrive a couple of days later.
Here are some portraits of the pair – so adorable. They would come together throughout the day, as if just touching base, and then go off on their own way to fish and preen, etc. Sometimes I could see one of them looking around for quite a while for the partner and then float along till they were in sight or swim long distance under water to get there. These pictures were taken on several different days with different lighting challenges!
One day I saw a really different behavior which I only figured out after a friend sent me a clip of the courtship dance of these birds. This may have been their first attempt at courting. It went on for about 40 seconds. Each one brought up leaves from the bottom and then you will see what followed. Eventually they will build a little island on the water and once the nest is made, they will mate and she will lay her eggs.
These birds are great fishers. I watched them bring up fish after fish. The gulls were also watching! Several times they tried to steal their catch causing the bird to dive deep, either losing the fish or eating under water. They always returned to the surface somewhere else without the fish. Here are some samples.
A seagull’s attempt! Bird came up empty!
Some other fishing moments
Finally, here are some portrait picture of one or the other of the two.
Looking pretty (or pretty silly!)
Bathing, Grebe style!