An exciting encounter to end my early morning river exploration – a pair of dippers standing together on the riverbank. I regularly see these chocolate coloured characters bobbing on river stones, or whirring past me just above the waters surface. The best is to watch them feed – uniquely, dippers walk along the river bottom, feeding on insect larvae that they catch. Great to watch, the winter song of the male is beautiful too.
But today’s double dose of dippers is a wonderful sign that they are starting to pair in readiness to breed. An early nesting species – in fertile territory dippers will nest in February. Glimpses of spring already.
If the local kingfishers breed again and my water vole population survive the swollen water levels, then we should have a bumper year of river wildlife watching.