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ARPS

Richard Shilliam ARPS

Print Submission

Statement of Intent

The intention, in this panel, is to demonstrate my passion for this shy water bird and to reflect, over several months and locations, its physical features, behaviour and courtship displays. Also to chronicle the progression of its breeding lifecycle, recording initial courtship posturing, early pairing and the ritual of weed and nesting material presentation. Followed by mating at the nest, sharing the care and brooding of eggs, feeding of both adult and chicks and the rearing of the young and juvenile birds. 

Protection of young, carried on the parents back in its plumage, is uncommon with many UK water birds. This behaviour shields young from frequent predation from many sources including Herons, Pike, Gulls, Terrapins and Magpies. In my presentation, the original 4 eggs produced 4 chicks with only one chick reaching juvenile maturity. 

The panel endeavours to show the subjects in context as well as close up images. The ornate plumage of the adults is contrasted with the fluffy, grey and white striped plumage of the chicks and the developing plumage of the juveniles at 6 - 8 weeks old. 

Over several years I have been fascinated by the behaviour and courtship posturing of the Great Crested Grebe. I have spent many days following this creature and have photographed their courtship, nesting, mating behaviour and rearing of chicks. I have studied them in different weather conditions, times of day and lighting conditions. Studying and understanding the species was essential in achieving my distinction. All these factors helped me to know when I would be most likely to obtain the shots I required for my distinction panel. The key factor was to present in my panel variety of action and activity in every image.