Watch Notes 04.26.13

4/26 Bob, Eric, Frank, Goly and I met at 8:30 at Bluebird Park and were dismayed to find a metal plank bridge across the creek and two men spraying stucco on the bridge wall. They were on the far side and at that moment a dipper flew from downstream to the nest! So we stopped worrying, seeing once again how well they cope with disturbance.
When the workmen took a break the pair fed their young about 15 times and at a rapid rate, going upstream to find food.
9:00 The pair flew by heading downstream with moss in their bills, having come from upstream. Frank followed and found they had flown under the Water St. bridge and were building a 2nd nest there! Eric got a photo of the very new nest. They stayed there for 30 min. Clearly they have a feeding bout and then do some nest building while the chicks are digesting. I don’t know when they find time to eat themselves, nor preen nor sleep. The female came back with food but landed first on the plank and sang before going up to the nest. Not only do they accept new situations, they make use of them.
We checked the two bridge nests and all appeared normal with feeding in progress at both nests so went back to Main St. After a few minutes Goly and Barbara went to Oak St. to see about getting down under the bridge from that side. A very accommodating owner said sure, so we got access thru his back yard. Under the bridge there were no dippers but Goly found a nest in a niche on the east wall and took a photo (below)!!! I thought it was dried out and probably from last year, but the photo shows fresh moss??? The female flew in from the south but not to the nest. She stood on a rock downstream, preened, foraged and then flew up closer and started to sing. Then flew upstream. We couldn’t see the nest but really didn’t know where to look and it is rudimentary at this stage. We left, as it seemed she was not comfortable with us so close.
On the way out we asked the owner if we could use his backyard access on Fridays and he was totally agreeable. We’ll show you all which house next week, as I didn’t think to get the house number. By that time my head was really spinning. These birds are so far ahead of us, I feel like a marathon runner just trying to stay in the race! Who would think a dipper study could be so eventful and engrossing?


new nest under Water St. under construction

new nest under Water St.
under construction

nest building

Main St. female working on Water St. nest


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