With a raspy note the small brown and white bird flew swiftly upstream low to the surface of the fastly flowing river Eden,after only a few yards the dainty little bird landed on a protruding rock where it stood bobbing up and down before dropping into the fast current where it dissapeared for a few seconds as it walked the gravel below the surface of the clear water to feed on the nymphs and snails.Yes this description can only be of the Dipper one of our native river birds so familiar to the trout angler of the small streams that flow through Cumbria.This section focuses on this small fascinating bird that inhabits both the Eden and the Caldew.
Standing in mid stream on a favoured rock the Dipper holds its territory shared by the Kingfisher and interupted by the Grey Wagtails that pass through it.
The Dipper is a resident species of our rivers and is one of the earlier breeders as it starts from mid march with its first brood and can have a second brood in early June and as i have studied over the past five years or so they always tend to have a succesful second brood on the river Caldew.
Nest sites vary from in bridge arch crevices to high banks they tend to be constructed from mosses and twigs and are of a large cocoon type ball design.The above bird is seen here collecting moss close to a water fall along Aira Beck in the Lake District.
The above image shows the dipper at the entrance to the nest which on this occasion was built on a butress of a small bridge along the river Caldew.Unlike other bird species such as the Kingfisher the dipper doesnt tend to nest at the same place in consecutive years as it tends to move around more than other river birds the above nest site has never been used since that image was taken four years ago.
Once the young leave the nest and start to fend for themselves along the stream edge its not long before the parents begin building up the used nest to prepare for a second brood.Small repairs are made where the young birds have tore through the materials to exit the nest this makes the adults busy as they gather mosses and small twigs to do the repair work.
Work begins on rebuilding the nest which this year 2015 has started in mid May and as i write near the end of May the female is now busy incubating the new Eggs as it is only the Female that sits on the Eggs unlike the Kingfishers that take turns.
This Dipper stands close to a nest site used year after year on the Caldew it is the only regular nesting site that i have observed on the river as in most parts different sites are selected each year this location is the best for viewing the birds habits as they feed along the stream.
More will be added as i study this species through the summer and into the Autumn.....