Wednesday, 4 May 2016

In the valley of the Alyn …

Dipper (Cinclus cinclus)

C. cinclus is a bird of fast-flowing rivers and streams in mountainous and hilly regions. Typical habitat contains numerous rocks and boulders but the mainstay of foraging habitat is shallow water with a gravel bottom and aquatic or bankside vegetation. Territories, which are established along suitable rivers, are maintained against incursion by other pairs. Territories must contain a good nesting site and suitable roosting locations. The main factor affecting the extent of the territory is the availability of sufficient food to feed the adults and their offspring. Their nests are usually large, round, domed structures made of moss, with an internal cup of grass and small roots, and a side entrance hole. They are frequently built in confined spaces over, or close to, running water. The site may be on a ledge or bank, in a crevice or drainpipe, or beneath a bridge, both parents being involved in nest construction. Mosses and other suitable materials are collected and wetted, as illustrated above, before being used in nest assembly; on drying the materials contract giving a compact construction.

Feeding predominantly whilst submerged and walking on the streambed, large aquatic invertebrates, especially the larvae of caddis flies, provide the primary food source. Small fish, crustaceans and molluscs are also taken. Its main feeding technique under water is to move stones and pebbles and feed on items exposed underneath. Smaller items are swallowed under water whilst others, such as fish and caddis fly larvae, are brought to the surface. The above images are from a recent audience …

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  1. Two great dipper portraits - lovely bright beady eyes. And I see you used the Valley heading. Works very well.

    If you ever have a Goldfinch blog and need a title, I have just the poem in my blog. I didn't write it - wish I had.

    "buff-gold dandy masked with red" is a great line

  2. Glad you like the pictures and thanks for the Gerard Manley Hopkins link.