Thursday, 10 March 2016

Dipper at Yarrow Valley Country Park

I paid another visit to Yarrow Valley Country Park today with one main target species in mind, the Dipper, and the possibility of a second, the Kingfisher.  Both are well-known at this site but photography can be difficult due to low light levels and spray from the weir.

The habitat here is typical Dipper country: a fast-flowing river or stream close to a weir or bridge with lots of rocks and shallow areas for perching and diving.  The Dipper is the UK's only aquatic songbird and it's underwater feats are quite amazing.

The birds nest in holes or cracks between the stonework which they line with moss and leaves and there is usually have a clear perching rock from which they fly into the nest. This location has all these features and it isn't hard to spot the nest after a minute or two of watching the birds.

This is the main area from which the Dippers were getting moss, just above the nest hole. As you can see in the video above, they made many trips to and from the next to this location whilst I was there.

This is the shot I really wanted, a Dipper in front of the water falling down the weir. It's not as good as I had hoped so I'll be going back to to try again soon.

This is the closest I got to the bird today and it wouldn't turn round for me so I'll have to make do with this shot for now.  But I'll definitely be back a little later in the year when they've got young to feed.

Just for sake of completeness I did get some distant Kingfisher record shots, but they're nothing to write home about. I've still to see one in its traditional well-known close location here.

Oh, and a Black-headed Gull on a post shot too:


Please leave a comment by typing your message in the text box, selecting 'Anonymous' from the 'Comment as' drop down menu and then finally clicking the 'Publish' button. It would be nice to see your name in the text if possible - thanks.