ID tips & tricks
Have you ever been in upland country and heard a birder saying, “ooh, that looks like a good Dipper stream!”? There are certain habitats which are very suggestive of particular birds. Fast flowing streams with boulders are one such habitat, especially in upland country. These are the natural home of a few key and desirable species, which love the particular conditions for feeding and making their nests. Top of the list is the Dipper, the fat, ‘giant Wren’ with a black body, white breast and chestnut fore-belly, which is our only perching bird which plunges into streams to swim and walk under the water searching for food. Second comes the ‘Dipper’s companion’ the Grey Wagtail, the most stream-loving of our wagtails. Then, (in slightly slower streams) comes the Common Sandpiper. And as things slow further, you may get Goosander or Redshank. Just be aware of the birds to expect in such a habitat; they are all great birds!
Dipper Wildscotphotos / Alamy Grey Wagtail Alan Williams / Alamy Common Sandpiper David Chapman / Alamy