Monday, November 30, 2009

Dip, Dip, Dipping

Finished another 3 days of cross country skiing. I am definitely dragging butt today. That brings the total for the season to five days on the snow. Not a bad year so far. The forecast isn't quite so promising though.
On Saturday morning, as we were waiting the arrival of our friends, Karyn and I took some time out to search for wildlife. Unfortunately the wolf hunting season has decimated the Phantom wolf pack which normally inhabit the area where we were. We searched for wolves, foxes, and other mammals to no avail. (we would later find a fox and a few coyotes).
We did however find a number of my favorite winter birds - American Dipper (Cinclus mexicanus). We stopped in 4 different places and found dippers in 3 of them. A pair of dippers in one location. Pretty cool.
American Dipper. Photo: Karyn deKramer.
Its amazing in temperatures in the single digits, that these birds jump in and out of the water.
American Dipper. Photo: Karyn deKramer.
The dipper has water proof feathers so it doesn't get wet. The water temperature is also well above the air temperature, so they lose little additional heat while under water.
American Dipper. Photo: Karyn deKramer.

Dipper flying.
Each day as we would pass a particular section of river we would find an adult Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and a male Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon). They were each keeping their eyes on the river.
Adult Bald Eagle. Photo: Karyn deKramer.
To finish out the weekend, on the way home we saw a number of another one of my favorite winter birds, the Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus).
Rough-legged Hawk. Photo: Karyn deKramer.
There were other birds present as well such as Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis), Black-billed Magpies (Pica pica), and the ever present European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris).

1 comment:

Robert Mortensen said...

Those Dippers sure are fun to watch!