01 June, 2014

Dipper



The dipper is one of my favourite birds. Something about their neat, plump shape and the way they bob up and down as if on springs always makes me smile.

Dipper
Dippers live by the swift, clear, rocky streams and rivers of the uplands in northern Britain. You don’t necessarily have to go far into the wilds to see them; one of the best views I ever had of a dipper was in early spring along the River Brathay on the edge of Ambleside, right beside the pavement and the busy A593 main road. This dipper was not far from the shore of Ullswater.

 
Classic dipper habitat: a rocky upland stream
The dipper is a round, chunky-looking bird about six or seven inches from beak to tail, mainly dark brown and black with a pure white throat and breast, rather like a smart shirt front. It typically perches on a rock in or beside a stream, bobbing constantly up and down as if its legs were made out of springs.

Dipper perched on rock in a stream
Dippers eat aquatic insects and larvae, which they find by plunging into the water and walking along the stream bed or using their short strong wings to swim. You can see that the dipper in the first photograph has a bright yellow grub in its beak; evidently it had just had a successful foray. It flew off shortly afterwards, perhaps to take the grub to feed chicks.

8 comments:

Meghan said...

I LOVE those pictures! The Dipper is sooo cute. We have little California Towhee in our yard and they're too precious. In short, I love birds. ^_^

Meghan said...

I LOVE those pictures! The Dipper is sooo cute. We have little California Towhee in our yard and they're too precious. In short, I love birds. ^_^

Carla said...

Meghan - glad you like the pictures! What's a California Towhee?

Gabriele C. said...

Cute bird.

My father feeds them all year round and right now it's really high life with all the young birds learning where to find the easy food. :-)

Rick said...

What cute little guys!

Alas, California Towhees must not hang around this corner of California - I've never heard of them. But then, I'd never heard of the dipper, either!

Carla said...

Gabriele - yes, it's fun to watch the young birds learning their way around.

Rick - I looked up California Towhees on Wikipedia and they seem to be little brown stripy birds, a bit like a larger version of our sparrow

Rick said...

They live all along the California coast, so I've surely seen them!

Carla said...

Rick - no doubt you have seen them, and now you know what they're called :-)