Feathered friends: For centuries, man, or to be more precise fashionable ladies, have employed a range of feathers with which to adorn their hats.
Native Americans too, used huge feathers to complement headdresses. 
Even today, fascinators attach a matching feather or two to add effect.
A bird that featured prominently in providing beautiful feathers was our great crested grebe. 
Indeed, in Victorian times the bird was almost wiped out as so many were killed for their striking head plumes (pictured).
Fortunately, the grebe is now protected and widespread.
One of the best places to see it is along the Thames by Kingston bridge. The London Wetland Centre also boasts a good population.
Propelled by their huge webbed feet placed right at the rear of their bodies they dive for fish and can remain submerged for up to 30 seconds before re-surfacing with or without a catch.
Then, around St. Valentine’s Day, grebes will begin their extraordinarily elaborate courtship displays.
Male and female face each other waggling their heads from side to side, head plumes erect, and exchange beaks full of water plants, rather like we would give gifts of flowers. 
Then, standing bolt upright they run over the water side by side at great speed before subsiding and swimming in opposite directions.
Truly a fascinating spectacle to watch.