Two Ashland Creek Dippers put in an early appearance yesterday
(Saturday) morning, but when 18 Rogue Valley birders joined leader Bob
Quaccia for his 14th annual Dipper Walk, there were none to be found.
It was the first time in the history of the walk that none of the
unique waterbirds were seen during the tour that took the group from
the Water Street bridge to the top of Lithia Park. As many as 12
have been seen in one morning, and the 13 previous outings have
averaged five Dippers per trip.
Although it’s difficult to draw any absolute conclusions, it’s
possible that recent construction that partially blocked the downcreek
end of the passage under Main Street has discouraged some Dippers from
moving up Ashland Creek.
Earlier in the morning (8:30), two Dippers were seen in the vicinity
of Hersey Street, and one of them was “Mr. Main Street”, the male that
was banded last summer while nesting under Main Street and has been
seen several times since. He was actively foraging just down creek
from Hersey. a block and one-half below the Dipper Walk start point.
Although the group search for dippers was in vain, the weather was
seasonably comfortable and the group enjoyed sightings of Golden-
crowned Kinglet, Hermit Thrush, Varied Thrush and that irrepressible
winter visitor, the Pacific Wren. The latter rivals the Dippers when
it comes to boldness while human watchers are nearby.
For future reports of Dipper sightings on Ashland Creek, visit
lithiadipperwatch.com. The on-going project, led by Barbara Massey,
includes monthly walks (weekly during nesting season).