Thursday, February 6, 2014

February Dipper Survey

Very cold weather was predicted for this week so I tried to get some of my bird surveys in before it hit. On Super Bowl Sunday, Johnny and I surveyed the American Dipper territories we know about on 6 1/2 miles of Agency Creek, starting from our farm. It was a lovely cool but not cold day with off and on sunshine and no rain... and very few other people on the road. They were all home watching the pre-game show and the Seahawks triumph.

We found Dippers in six of the seven territories we know about. The first photo is taken looking downstream from The Chutes, a narrowing portion of the stream. The fallen tree downstream across the creek is just in front of a Dipper but the tiny bird is not visible in this shot.

 Here is that Dipper brought up into view, albeit a little fuzzy.

One of the Dippers at Asinine Bridge posed for me on its favorite cross-stream log.

Seen a little closer...

The only other Dipper I managed to photograph was downstream from Sharkey's Bridge. (Don't try to find these names on a map... they're local names, although Asinine Bridge may be on some maps.)

In another pose, lightened, but still lousy...

The only pair we found together was at Waterhole 11, but I'm sure they are all paired and will be nesting later in the spring. One Dipper was singing its lovely, unending song... I presume for the benefit of an unseen mate. But who knows. Sometimes Dippers seem to sing for their own enjoyment. Their songs certainly give me enjoyment, whether they know it or not.

Although I had a monthly column due for United Caprine News that I had started Saturday but was very dissatisfied with, the bad weather coming made other activities more urgent. On Monday I picked up the trees I'd ordered from the Yamhill County Soil and Water Conservation District. The scheduled day for pick-up was Thursday but because of the coming extreme cold weather, those of us who pre-ordered were called Monday morning and told our trees were ready and it might be a good idea to get them before they froze. So I did. They are safely in the greenhouse now that our night time temperatures are in the teens and days not much higher. Tuesday was my scheduled Grand Ronde Raptor run and the last day before temperatures really plunged. That story next time. (I did finally finish and send my UCN column... on Wednesday, the deadline day.)

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