The Dipper


The River Greta is about two miles from our site, and has two species of bird I love to film – the Kingfisher and the Dipper.

In 2018, the weather and river level were great for the Dipper to feed on small creatures for the young.

When looking for the Kingfisher, I found the Dipper nest site in a fast running area of the river with lots of rocks exposed above the water.

On my first afternoon the Dipper flew quickly up the river, carrying dried grass for the nest site.

Dipper with nesting material

That first week I went back to see the progress, and one afternoon I sat there and there was no activity – I was soon aware why.

A mink was sitting right next to the nest area.

I really thought that was that – goodbye Dippers, so I went home.

I left it for a few days and went back – I was amazed to see that the Dipper had finished building it’s nest and had food in its beak.

Dipper bring food in for the young

What I love about all the bird species is the way they act and have different postures to display the mood they’re in.

The Dipper, as it names says, bobs its head up and down when it lands on a rock.

Beautiful Dipper relaxing outside nest area

As the weeks went by, the feeding activity increased with both adults bringing in food.

Sitting first on the rock directly below the nest, then when one adult left the other made it’s way into the nest hole.

For some reason, the next day I changed position and went on the side of the river close to the nest (but not in any way too close to disrupt the birds behaviour).

I set up and waited for the adult to fly in and land on the rock.

Instead, I was excited to see the first juvenile fledging the nest. It landed right in front of me on a mossy bank.

Young Dipper leaving the nest for the first time
Juvenile Dipper

Another brilliant time with a Dipper family on the River Greta.

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