Saturday, 9 August 2014

White-throated Dipper

White-throated Dipper (Cincle plongeur) Cinclus cinclus
Crampagna, Ariège Midi-Pyrénées, France
14 July 2014

     During our stay in the area, not far from Crampagna, we started to bird along the river and adjacent areas on a daily basis. I have no doubt that, given more time and the opportunity to explore other possibilities, there is a wealth of bird life to be discovered. Having searched the internet I can find no record of anyone else having birded in this location, and I suspect that we may well have been the first to do so.
     What first attracted us to the river was a glimpse of the rapids as we drove over the bridge for the first time. I commented to Miriam that it looked like fine dipper habitat, with fast-flowing, highly oxygenated water, likely to support the caddis flies and other larvae so essential to a dipper's survival.
     As noted in my trip report we failed to locate a dipper on our first excursion there, but on the second day we found one in short order. We assume that this is a juvenile bird given its colouration. There are references in the literature to sooty or greyish coloured birds in certain parts of its range, but nothing so uniformly grey and light as this bird.

     As can be noted on the picture above, it also has the wavy bars on the belly and upper breast so characteristic of a juvenile bird.
     Once we located the bird it was not difficult to keep it in view for most of the time and it provided us with a good deal of pleasure.

     There were always fisherman standing thigh to waist deep in the rapids, patiently casting and recasting their lines, and a few general passers by. I doubt that any of them were even aware of the dipper and I suspect that some of them directed a few sidelong glances at us with our binoculars and scope, wondering exactly what we were looking at.

Literature referred to:

Svensson L., Grant P.J., Mullarney K. & Zetterstrom D., 1999, Collins Bird Guide, Harper Collins Publishers Ltd.
Tyler S & Ormerod S., 1994, The Dippers, T. & A.D. Poyser Ltd.
Brewer D. & Mackay B. K., 2001, Wrens, Dippers and Thrashers, Yale University Press.


  1. Really wonderful shots !
    Have a nice weekend !

  2. Beautiful bird, beautiful photos.
    Greetings Tinie

  3. Dippers ARE fascinating - well discovered

  4. You're right David. Dippers can be obvious to a birder but inconspicuous to Joe Bloggs.Congrats on being the first to bird the area - I think some European countries have a lot of catching up to do.

  5. Hello David,
    Lovely series of this White-throated Dipper.
    This species does not occur in the Netherlands, as far as I know.
    Perfect photographed, my compliments.
    Best regards, Irma

  6. So pleased that you found the Dipper, David. They are wonderful to watch. Sometimes the juvenilles seem to have almost a green hue to the grey colouration. Hopefully I'll find you some more Dippers in 2015.

  7. The middle picture is really fantastic!
    Superb recorded.