I went out to look for Dippers today and had some real success, in fact it was a lovely day all round. The weather was spring like and it really was beautiful by the river. In previous years I have had some great encounters and experiences with nesting Dippers and I have picked up some useful facts that doesn't make me an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I do know enough to be able to interpret behaviour and some facts that enables me to find breeding birds. When I had been on the river 10 days or so ago, I hadn't seen any Dippers in a territory that in previous years had contained nests. I know of a nest site where there are old nests tucked away under a bank and Dippers have nested there regularly over the last few years but not in the last 3 even though the old nests are still there. I started by sitting where I could see this nest site but far enough so as not to disturb but covered in some good cam netting. I waited for a while but didn't see any birds. I wandered purposefully up stream and discovered a Dipper feeding in some fast water. It was just a case of sitting quietly and watching where the bird went. When it moved downstream I followed from a distance with it in my sight and then it was joined by it's mate. This was getting better! They continued and I followed and I was able to track them right back to the old nest site..... bingo!!!! So now one bird was perched close to the old nest and I had no idea where the other was, possibly in the nest? Then I was massively distracted because a Kingfisher suddenly flew in to the tree above the nest. It was a beautiful male and he was on the hunt. I was covered in cam netting and he wasn't aware of me, he flew closer and carried on searching for prey, then he moved even closer, it was glorious in the bright spring sunlight. Needless to say, when I looked back to where the Dipper had been there was no sign of either of them. The Kingfisher flew back downstream and I waited for a return of the dippers. It wasn't long before the male Dipper returned and perched in front of the nest but after a short while he flew of down stream again. As I sat there under cover and just enjoying the surroundings, both birds, flew in strongly to land in front of the nest again. There was some excitement and noise from the male, they didn't go in under the bank to where the nests are but instead flew off strongly back up stream this time. I could have sat waiting for their return but I am optimistic that this is the nest site, why would they keep coming back to that spot? When I return there sometime next week I am sure i will be able to find out either way and I expect it to be good news.
I didn't mention the Grey Wagtail that landed in front of me as well,another lovely bird. There are 3 species that make a trip to the river worthwhile and today I saw all three. A lovely morning.