Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sandwiches and Dippers

I like to indulge in some photography during my lunch hour at work. It's always good just to get away from the office, stretch the legs and take in some fresh air. One such lunch hour favourite is the Dippers that inhabit a local stream. These lunch hour trips are always a bit of a rush around, and allowing for travel time, I end up with around 40 minutes to find the birds and try and get some photographs. My sandwich usually being eaten on the move.

Its always tricky lighting conditions in this stream that tumbles down through a woodland valley. Time is limited, as once the riparian trees burst into leaf, the stream will be plunged into deep shade, effectively ruling out any photography. So I decided to start my brief sessions with the Dippers earlier this year, as I have always previously tried for them around March. As the sun is still low in the sky, the light reaching the swirling water is limited at the moment but should improve rapidly over the coming weeks. I hope to try and make a more concerted effort with these fascinating birds this year and that numerous short sessions will help me build a better picture of their habits. To date I have managed two visits due to the continuing poor weather.
My first visit was encouraging as I managed to locate two birds which both seem to have fairly well defined territories along the stream, making location potentially easier for future sessions where time is so precious. The Dippers are relatively easy to find as the search area is restricted to the narrow corridor of the brook.

One of the birds unfortunately appears to have an infected foot. However, it does not seem to be affecting it too much at present and it has been a joy watching it plunging in to the shallow rapids to feed.
I was pleased to see on my second session that this easily recognisable bird had already seemed to pair up with a mate, in this early breeding species.
I left both of them at the end of last week checking out some potential sites to build a nest.

Despite the narrow search area and their incredibly bright white breast, they are surprisingly easy birds to walk straight past.
However, I have managed to find and photograph birds on both sessions which is encouraging and should be able to build a small library of photos from multiple visits. A Dipper a day keeps the doctor away :).

12 comments:

Charlotte said...

Just beautiful and the lighting seems fine, although water reflections can cause problems.

Dippers are our family's totem bird.
Dad trying to photograph one in Dorset, got very annoyed by me (aged 2) tugging on his leg and telling him "Dik Dik". He got his photo and I got the reputation of twitcher early on.

Mia McPherson said...

Stunning images Rich!

grammie g said...

Hi Rich ...I tryed to visualize this described event of sandwich camera and man ..obviously all turned out well : }...and so did the photos they are just fantastic!!
I love his colors and those eyes!!
Grace

Kah-Wai Lin said...

Great capture!

Marc Heath said...

If only my lunch times were like this, top shots Rich, stunning photos.

Robin said...

Rich, excellent images. What a lovely little bird!

JOHNSON, Cotswold Hills, England. said...

Lovely shots, as always. Dippers are great favourites of mine - it is fascinating watching them feeding underwater.

Despite living beside a beautiful little river, we have no dippers here so I have to wait for my 'dipper fix' until I travel to exmoor. I've been doing this for 40 years so have got to know where the dipper haunts are...

Now I'm getting rapidly older I'm just hoping that you are right in dippers keeping doctors away!

Johnson

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Richard, oh for anyone to have a lunch break and see scenes like this. The Dipper images are superb!!!

Jane S said...

Wonderful images. I live near a river and walk there 2 or 3 times a week. I always look for dippers, and at this time of year often see 2. Whenever i see them i feel to-day is my lucky day. Thanks for pics.

Meg said...

Very nice photos!

Cath Wilson said...

Stunning photos x

Rich Steel said...

Many thanks for the replies and your kind words. If you ever find yourself walking down a stream and come across these birds I urge you just to stop and watch as they are amazing.

Cheers

Rich

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