Friday, 4 January 2013

Black-bellied Dipper


Today I went to photograph the Black-bellied Dipper which had been spotted again in Thetford. It was around for a month before Christmas then disappeared for awhile. It didn't take me long to find it, you cant miss the white throat dipping up and down in the water. It spent most of the day sitting on the bank and occasionally went into the water to feed. They are great little birds and not normally found in Norfolk.

This dipper is different to our resident white-throated dipper that we get in the UK. Its a subspecies which instead of having a brown chestnut belly, it has a black belly thus the name Black-bellied dipper. It is one of the continental species that breed in the north of Scandinavia and migrates south to escape the cold winters. The UK is sometimes lucky to get a few visitors each year. Norfolk is an unusual area for it to come, as we don't have any type of dipper in the county but I wont complain.

Here are a few shots from today and before Christmas.

Black-bellied Dipper looking up

Black-bellied Dipper portrait

Black-bellied Dipper

Black-bellied Dipper autumn colours

Black-bellied Dipper reflection

It was a good shoot and met some nice birders and photographers but it was ruined by a few. Two photographers turned up and had no respect for this bird. Their only aim was to get as close as possible and they didn't have any field-craft or care about the dipper. They spent 20 minutes continually getting too close and scaring the dipper further and further up the stream. This resulted in the stream ending and the dipper having to fly off down the main river where it had nowhere to land due to the height of the river.

  • Keep an eye out on local birding sites for unusual visitors.
  • Fieldcraft is essential to get close without disturbing. Today I studied the dipper, to see its favorite spots. Then when it flew elsewhere, I positioned myself appropriately and the dipper return after 5-10min. I was in good range and didn't need to move, meaning I didn't disturb it.
  • Still water makes for good reflections. So if you get a windy day, return on a calmer day and you can get some completely different shots.

Hope you enjoyed the blog, hopefully more images to come. Keep an eye on my facebook page for more: 

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