Sunday, September 5, 2010

American Dipper

Today I spent the morning and early afternoon on Mount Hood. I stopped at Timberline Lodge first, hoping again to see a Rosy Finch. Unfortunately, I struck out again. The weather was not good; there was fog, mist, wind and cold (about 35 degrees). The birds were far and few. I did see a male Cassin's Finch, several Dark-eyed Juncos and I believe a Juvenile Chipping Sparrow. I also got a few shots of a Mule Deer Buck.
After a couple of hours of hiking around Timberline Lodge without much luck, I decided to try the East side of the mountain as the sun would peek through the clouds occasionally which got me thinking that the clouds were hung up on the West side and the East side was sunny. That guess turned out to be true.
Reviewing the Mt Hood Loop of the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail on my iPad, I decided to check out Tamanawas Falls Trail. The guide stated that American Dippers could be seen there and as I have never seen a Dipper, so I thought it was worth a shot.
There were several cars parked at the trail's head and the trail was is heavy use. As a result, the birds were scarce. Early along the trail (it's 2 miles each way to the falls), I noticed a short side trail to the stream's edge. I had Dippers in mind as I approached the bank of the stream. The water moved rapidly across the rocks and appeared to be an ideal Dipper area. Sure enough, I was there no longer than 30 seconds when a Dipper swooped in and began looking for food along the rocks.
The top image above is the best of a hand full of pictures I was able to get. The bottom image isn't that great, but it does show the Dipper's head and chest submerged in the water as it looked for food. The water was moving fast so it had to be quite strong to hold itself in place while holding its head upstream against the water.

No comments:

Post a Comment