[Tweeters] e. WA urban A. Dippers

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Tue Oct 20 07:01:14 PDT 2015


Ah, I was waiting for someone to mention eastern Washington! I have my own tidbit to share about dippers in Spokane.

In an afternoon in late October 2013 (just two weeks after my lifer dipper in Issaquah), I was watching a Common Merganser (a female, if my memory serves) as she lazed around and dove in a pool formed by the river rocks on the edge of the Spokane River, far downstream from where I stood on the opposite bank. Suddenly, a slate-colored shape appeared in the nearby rocks. As I watched through my binoculars, the dark gray bird hopped from rock to rock, paused for a moment, then flapped its way further down the river and out of sight. When I checked a list of birds of the Spokane River, the American Dipper was listed as occasional in fall and spring, and uncommon in winter.

Just last summer, in August I believe, I visited a tiny fishing pond in the quiet town of Springdale, lost in the ponderosa hills northwest of Loon Lake. It was, fittingly, called Fish Pond. While my brother cast in his rod to fish, I searched for something (hopefully feathered) to keep me entertained. That's when I discovered the creek flowing through the forest on one edge of the park. Scanning the shaded, rippling rapids, I thought, "What a nice place for a dipper! Imagine if I found one here." I slightly jokingly checked the stream at a small cascade over some rocks. Suddenly, I heard a tripled, ringing call! A small earthy gray, wren-like bird that, as you could have guessed, was a dipper, appeared right in front of me!

After the initial alarm calls, the dipper fed silently and calmly. I got to watch it for a an hour with quite close views of it foraging its way upstream, blinking its white eyebrows and dipping up and down, and finally tucking itself into a nook of the riverbank to rest, where I lost it. Then I got close views at another gray bird: a Gray Catbird appeared, unobstructed, in a bush 5 feet in front of me, sitting in the one for five minutes and showing off his deep rufous undertail before turning back into the riparian thicket, mewing periodically. Nice birds for such a small park!

Good birding across our great State, Joshua Glant

Mercer Island, WA

Josh.n.glant at gmail.com


> On Oct 19, 2015, at 4:31 PM, Charles Swift <chaetura at gmail.com> wrote:

>

> This shouldn't be a big surprise but American Dippers are regular at Spokane Falls in downtown Spokane (at least fall through spring). I saw one in the north channel of the falls from one of the pedestrian bridges this weekend.

>

> thanks, Charles.

> --

> Charles Swift

> Moscow, Idaho

> 46°43′54″ N, 116°59′50″ W

> chaetura at gmail.com

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