Spring's Perfect Dance
Derbyshire Life|April 2017

Paul Hobson records the courtship of the great crested grebes.

Paul Hobson

I HAVE always found our (myself included, I must admit) increasing fascination with the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing something of an oddity. The art, grace, serenity and beauty seem so out of keeping with the usual fare served up by our TV channels. True, it still caters to the modern cult of celebrity (some of whom I have never heard of) but that probably has more to do with my own choice of media viewing – as an ageing child of the 1970s – than anything else. Every time I watch ‘Strictly’ (and that’s every week during the autumn), I try to match the dance moves with those I’ve seen in the natural world. Most of the time this is difficult, although the Argentine tango always brings to my mind the nervous dance of small, male spiders trying to woo their larger, potentially cannibalistic, mates.

However, the dance that really has echoes in the natural world is the Viennese waltz. The subtle head movements and serene quality of the pair floating across the dance floor can certainly be seen in the elegant courtship of great crested grebes in spring.

Luckily, in Derbyshire we have many opportunities to watch this most elaborate of bird dances throughout early spring. Virtually every lake, reservoir and many of the large ponds will have a pair or more of grebes. In particular, the lakes at Hardwick, Butterley, Staunton Harold and Williamthorpe and the River Trent are usually graced by their presence.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM DERBYSHIRE LIFEView All

Peak National Park and Ride

Andrew Griffihs asks what the future holds for transport in the Peak National Park and talks to Julian Glover about his Landscapes Review

8 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

Doubly thankful

Mike Smith explores the village of Bradbourne, which has a particularly poignant tale to tell

5 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

What lies beneath

Exploring the hidden depths of Ladybower Reservoir, which conceals secrets of a fascinating past

9 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

Battle for our birds

Paul Hobson analyses our complex relationship with birds of prey and how these fascinating birds are fairing in Derbyshire

4 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

Explore the Peak Forest

A walk through autumn fields and forests with far reaching views enriched by snippets of mystery, romance and the area’s industrial past

4 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

Pictures to transport you

Chesterfield photographer David Keep continues his photographic journey, this time recalling his favourite landscape images from around the world

6 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

The magic of Christmas

Ideas for days out, gifts and where to find local produce in Derbyshire this festive season

4 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

PENNY for the Guy

We take a look at Derbyshire’s bonfire tradtions through history

7 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

From hardship came happiness

Pat Ashworth speaks with Chesterfield based retired Colonel John Doody about his inspiring life, from a diffiult childhood to overcoming diversity and finding happiness

7 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020

A place to call home

Lady Edward explains to Derbyshire Life why Haddon Hall is so much more than 900 years of history

10 mins read
Derbyshire Life
November 2020
RELATED STORIES

The Fixer

DJ Khaled is not a rapper. But he does always seem to know a guy.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

Science of Us: Katie Heaney

The Clock-Out Cure For those who can afford it, quitting has become the ultimate form of self-care.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

THE Destroy-It-to-Save-It Plan FOR East River Park

The city’s first real battle over climate adaptation has arrived.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

You'd Be an Iconic Guest

A ruthless Instagram interviewer brings her knowing wink to cable.

5 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

The Great Indoors

A critic reacclimates to the now-unfamiliar terrain of the dining room.

4 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

Political Animals: Olivia Nuzzi

The Crisis Crisis How the White House polices language in Washington—including the president’s.

6 mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

What Was the Office?

It Was Stressful, Filthy, High Stakes—and Where the Action Was

10+ mins read
New York magazine
April 26 - May 9, 2021

ANDREW YANG'S INSIDER CAMPAIGN

How did a former CEO of 100 employees become the front-runner to govern a city of 8.5 million? Not simply by being a national celebrity and an excellent campaigner.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021

The Group Portrait: Little Pot

The activists and entrepreneurs intent on making New York’s new cannabis industry more equitable, less corporate.

2 mins read
New York magazine
April 26 - May 9, 2021

Tech vs. Journalism

Silicon Valley feels picked on by “woke” journalists “who can't code." Reporters feel picked on by petty zillionaires with anger-management problems. Inside the nasty clout battle for how the world’s most influential industry gets covered.

10+ mins read
New York magazine
May 10 - 23, 2021