Thursday, 23 January 2014

White-capped Dipper

 An adult I found in the river at Agua Calientes, near Machu Picchu, Peru
I was going through my photographs the other day and found a whole slew of photos from my recent trip to Peru in August last year that was facilitated by Crees Foundation As I was in the Andes I was on constant look out for two rapid water specialists; the Torrent Duck and the White-capped Dipper. Both birds were high on my list. The Torrent Duck because I had seen paintings of them since I was a kid and they were intriguing.

The dipper on the other hand I never really knew about until I started scanning through the Peruvian fieldguide. Dippers are truly enigmatic. A Wren shaped thrush-like bird that nests by rivers and walks along riverbeds to seek its food. That's some crazy bird!

I love watching Dippers in the UK and in Europe I find them so fascinating. I remember watching one really close up at a concrete weir in Extremadura, Spain. I was so close that I could really see its white eyelids as it blinked, unconcerned by me. Seeing the White-capped Dipper in a raging river in the middle of a touristy town was a big surprise. It was just like the dipper that I was used to back home, only with a slightly slimmer build and of course, a different plumage.

There are just five species in the world with seemingly single species representation in Europe, Asia, North America and South America. I've now had the pleasure of seeing three of them. I guess I'll have to make it a mission to see the other two!

Dippers of the world

Eurasian Dipper
American Dipper
White-capped Dipper
Rufous-throated Dipper
Brown Dipper

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