I had spent the morning with the celebrated Walter Kitundu and for the afternoon, we had Water Ousels in mind. Our plan was to head to a known dipper river and sit with a picnic until a bird happened by. It was a brilliant plan, except for the picnic. If you are ever tempted to buy a Chicken Burrito from Steven’s Creek Liquor, Video and Food Market, resist the urge and go hungry for preference. The name of the store suggested the priority placed on each commodity and should have been a warning.

The American Dipper however was a tasty treat which showed up very shortly after my stomach’s first attempt to reject lunch. We didn’t see it coming, but suddenly it was there, bobbing just as its European counterpart might, on a mossy rock just above the flow of water. The stream was in deep shade which made a good picture unlikely, but we clicked away merrily just the same.

It flew off upstream once it saw us and we followed it, catching a couple of glimpses before it took off again. Walter had heard of it from his friend’s blog where it was recorded singing under the bridge.

The stream passes under the road at the bridge and the dipper followed it out into the sunshine. We were about to leave it be as it was obviously a sensitive bird and we were concerned that we might unsettle it, but a sunlit shot was too much to resist and we decided to have one more try. Walter waited just below the bridge and I stalked slowly downstream. A bobbing tail caught my attention, but it was a Hermit Thrush on a rock in the river.

I returned to Walter who had been trying to catch my attention as the dipper had come back upstream and stopped on a rock ahead of him.

Photo courtesy of Walter Kitundu

As we returned to the car we saw it one more time just above the bridge. Walter gallantly stepped aside to allow me to get a clear shot which brought the pictures above. In the photos I can see some light, which I swear wasn’t there when I pressed the button.

Thanks to Walter for a great day out and that single gracious side step. He goes on my 10,000 Birds Contributors Life List bringing it to 5. Watch out Beats, I am coming to get you!

If you liked this post and want to see more great images of birds make sure to check out 10,000 Clicks, our big (and growing) page of galleries here at 10,000 Birds.

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.