Thursday 22 October 2009

Nature Notes - the Dipper

As regular readers of this blog know, I look after a section of a local river, the Water of Leith. One of the things I do is to note all the birds I see. I’ve been disappointed to not have seen a kingfisher in my six months of volunteering so far, even though I know they’re around in ‘my’ part of the river. I have however seen a lot of dippers. Dippers are lovely birds, they’re very smart looking with their white fronts and smart brown and black backs and heads. This plumage also is perfect camouflage for them. I love to watch dippers as they feed and I’ve noticed that if they dip their heads into fast flowing water then they seem to disappear, the white of their fronts blending in with the white water, their brown backs blending with the darker water and the rocks. I’ve also been able to see them as they swim under water, the Water of Leith is quite clear where it’s not rushing past in white-water! Dippers are also surprisingly vocal birds, they pipe away as they fly along the river and have a lovely song in the Spring, and if you’re lucky enough to see a family group, there’s bound to be a lot of chat going on between them.

On Monday of this week, the Water of Leith was lit with a yellowish glow as the pale sunlight filtered through all the autumnal trees. The dippers were flying about, busy as ever.

for Nature Notes


Jasmine said...

I just listened to the dipper on your RSPB link. I've heard that brd call so often but didn't know what it was. A beautiful bird.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Lucky, lucky you.

Kat Mortensen said...

What a charming little bird.

I have to tell you that my cats (who are seated alongside me) were very keen to know where the piping was coming from.

The dippers' camouflage appears to be ideally suited to the Leith environment.

What a fascinating opportunity for you.

Elizabeth said...

Bird watching is a great delight to me
however we seem to have mostly pigeons
and sparrows here in New York City
a cardinal ( beautifully red)
and American robins
bigger than their English counterparts.
One day I will visit Scotland again
a dear friend Mary MCleod lives in Edinburgh

Larry said...

I think we have some sort of dippers in parts of the US but not in my area.Seems like an interesting birds.

Michael said...

The US have Dippers though they don't have the white bib. They behave much the same though. Nice bird.

Deb G said...

I hope you have your camera handy when you finally see that kingfisher!

RG said...

Aw .... I want to see a family of dippers ... guess I better get to the river more!

Maybe there are no small fish for the kingfishers to hunt.

Gel said...

so interesting.
BTW, LOVE your blog header photo.

GalleryJuana said...

Thanks for coming by my blog for sss.

I am late getting around but enjoyed you artichoke pic for sss.

Your notes on bird watching brought me some peace today.

Cathy said...

How lucky to see dippers. I don't remember ever seeing them in the wild and I have only seen a couple of kingfishers too. You must have a very rural part of the Leith to look after.

Leora said...

Thanks for the intro to dippers. That is a pretty bird!

Rambling Woods said...

You have a wonderful blog here and I wanted to let you know that I also host an environmental meme called 'Think(ing) Green Thursday. It is very small as people don't seem to want to post about green topics.
Think(ing) Green Thursday Meme

Regarding this post. I love the kingfishers. We usually have at least one belted kingfisher fishing our pond during the summer and they are amazing to watch. I hadn't heard of a dipper as maybe we don't have them here in the states.. Lovely blog...Michelle From Nature Notes

Carver said...

I don't think I've ever seen a dipper. I enjoyed your link. There is one lake near me where I've seen kingfishers and I would have missed it if it hadn't been so noisy which made me look for it.

Nicole said...

From your description it almost feels like I've been there, sigh :)

eileeninmd said...

Congrats on the Dipper sighting. Great post abou the Dipper and I hope you get to see the Kingfisher soon. I have not seen a Dipper.

Deb said...

Ah! Your dippers are so much more colorful than our are, although their disposition is the same.

Nice post!

MyMaracas said...

I really enjoyed your post. Your lovely description paints a vivid picture of the birds, the sunlight, and the water. I hope you see your Kingfisher soon.