ID tips & tricks

Bird Watching (UK) - - July Id Challenge -

STREAM SPECIES

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

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