Monday, February 16, 2009

The Entertainer

Admittedly I am no expert birder. Far from it, I am a newbie, who makes up for a lack of knowledge and experience with enthusiasm and technology. I am approximately 100 days in to listing the birds I have been able to identify. For a large part the birds I have found have either been ones that I had already known of, or ones that others have notified me of, either directly, or through email.
There has been one bird that I had not been familiar with at all until I began to educate myself about species. The bird is the American Dipper, and I first read of it in the Brdpics Archives. I have been intrigued since I first read about the songbird that "flies" underwater in fast moving mountain streams. How cool did that sound. Since I read about it I have had limited opportunities to even look for the bird, but it has remained in the back of my mind as something I just had to see for myself.

So this afternoon I headed to Boulder Canyon to see if I could find any Dippers. I walked the twenty or so feet to the creek and began to look....not really sure exactly what I was supposed to see. I began to slowly work my way downstream, and not only did I not see a Dipper, I didn't see any birds.

Sometimes coming straight from work I find that I am not in tune with my environment, so I pulled off to the side and stopped looking. I just soaked in the sounds of the creek, and the beautiful afternoon. After a minute or two I began to "pish" the creek to see if there were any birds on the far bank. Immediately I got a response, and scanned to find it. There right below my nose was my target, the American Dipper.

This is one of the most cool birds to watch that I have ever seen. It works the fast moving water by standing, and get this... dipping its head below the water.

Then it would swim, jump, walk and fly its way between various rocks and underwater perches. So very cool to see live. Seeing one I thought I was locked in and would have nothing but birds from there on, but it was not to be. After starting with a lifer in the first ten minutes I saw two Rock Pigeons and a single Raven high overhead. All the same, this afternoon will be memorable for a long time to come, a day when spring was in the air and an expectation was far exceeded.
To top it all off, I swung by Baseline Reservoir on the way home to soak up as much of the lengthening daylight as I could. It was a beautiful evening, and two Common Goldeneye were the only creatures visible on the calm lake surface.

2009 Count: 60

Lifetime: 90

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