It was moving day on Lake Wanaka on Sunday as six floating breeding platforms were removed to make way for construction of a lakeside boardwalk.
Retired zoologist and grebes project founder John Darby said there was likely to be some disturbance to the grebes during the construction carried out by Queenstown Lakes District council contractors, but once the boardwalk was completed, a wetland ecosystem would be planted.
‘‘I am hoping it will eventually provide enough food and nutrients for the grebes and all the other birds around here.’’
Mr Darby began building the floating wooden nest platforms and tethering them to the marina when he discovered the grebes were unsuccessful in breeding on shore.
Eight years on and Mr Darby, now in his 80s, has begun the process of handing the project, particularly the heavy work, over to Wanaka Primary School teacher Markus Hermanns. Mr Hermanns said the outdoors was his favourite classroom. ‘‘It is also the kids’ favourite classroom.’’
Watching the grebes has been a winner for Brian Anderson, of Wanaka.
He has won the video category of Otago Museum’s annual Otago Wildlife Photography Competition with his video of a family of grebes at the Wanaka marina.
‘‘I had the luck of seeing this bit of activity with the grebes, and I have got a good camera so I made a little bit of a film about it.’’
Grebes lived mainly in the alps of New Zealand, he said. ‘‘They are not a seabird, they live inland. ‘‘They nest on the water, they don’t nest on the land.’’
Mr Anderson (80) was an enthusiastic amateur and often captured video and photos while in nature. He won second prize as well for a video of kaka eating grubs on Stewart Island. He had often observed the grebe colony over the years. ‘‘I keep an eye on them now and again.’’