Red-necked grebe mum and her chick - Podiceps grisegena
These birds nest in only a few places in Bulgaria and are relatively rare to observe. About 3 weeks ago I visited a beautiful protected area - the island of Persina on the Danube river, about 280 km from Sofia. Remarkably, there is an active prison on this island and access is restricted. The island can only be reached by a military pontoon bridge built in the 1960s.
The island is also a historical landmark - on the period after the establishment of communist rule in Bulgaria in 1944, a concentration camp was built, where political opponents, intellectuals, officers of the tsarist army were imprisoned, tortured and killed. The buildings have now been turned into a memorial to commemorate the crimes of the communist regime.
In the last few years, access to the island is possible, albeit with prior notice and a pass (however, the criminal prison is operational - in practice, the prison occupies only about 2% of the entire island).
At my previous (first) visit to the island I managed to photograph a pair of red-necked divers, now I went especially with the hope of photographing them again and especially the newborn chicks. It turned out to be a very difficult task - the marsh vegetation is already quite large, there is no good visibility from the shore, and according to Murphy's Law, the reed is always in front of the lens. Still, I'm happy that I was able to take some distant pictures of this beautiful chick.
Note - on the back of the mother there are various plants, reeds and grasses. Maybe they serve as camouflage, I don't know. Often the young chicks get on the mother's back. There was only one chick now.
The Red-necked Grebe is a migratory aquatic bird found in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. Its wintering habitat is largely restricted to calm waters just beyond the waves around ocean coasts, although some birds may winter on large lakes. Grebes prefer shallow bodies of fresh water such as lakes, marshes or fish-ponds as breeding sites.