I well remember that this time last year, (almost to the day), and for that matter, the year before, I saw Grey Wagtail regularly when I was waiting in my river side hide to photograph Dippers. This of course, is no surprise because both species have almost identical habitat requirements and anywhere that Dippers are found, Grey Wagtails will be close behind. They are even known to nest next to each other, that is, close to, or above water, under a bridge or behind a log and so on. However, it is fair to say that Grey Wagtails are a little less demanding and they can be found along the banks of muddy rivers and streams as well which is a habitat that no self respecting Dipper would ever frequent. So the rule is probably this, find a Dipper and Wagtails will be near, but finding a Wagtail will not necessarily find you a Dipper. At this time of the year the males, who have a breeding plumage and an eclipse plumage are just starting to attain the solid black bib that they only acquire in the height of the breeding season. They are quite noisy at this time of year and this morning one bird displayed in front of me, singing a song and then parachute glided, with fluttering wings, from rock to rock. It was literally on the rocks on the waterfall just in front of me and I managed one or two photos, one particularly good one when he was in the middle of his noisy song. See above. I sat from around 10 until 1255 before I had to leave and in that time I never had even a glimpse of a Dipper in front of me. This was disappointing but not unexpected and when I checked my diary from last year that's pretty much the way it was then. I had mixed feelings then when I walked back up river towards my car, there was not one but two Dippers, the obvious pair that I had seen a few days ago. The male was singing, a sure sign of breeding condition but I am yet to see any nesting material being carried around.
Click on the screen below to see the pictures.