The Falls of Clyde are a really good place to see dippers. These small birds are rather dumpy looking with a dark brown body and a characteristic white chest. They feed on invertebrates that live on the bottom of the river bed such as mayfly and caddis fly larvae and to do this they have some remarkable adaptations. They have solid bones rather than hollow bones which allows them to be less buoyant underwater. Their legs are long and their claws are sharp which allows them to walk along the river bed and grip on to the substrate. They also have nasal flaps that can prevent water from entering their nostrils whilst they are underwater. They really are a remarkable bird and have managed to exploit a niche that very few species of bird are able too. Having Dippers present on a river is also a really good indicator that the river is in a healthy condition because there is plenty of food for them. There are so many more interesting facts about dippers that you can find out about on one of our People’s Postcode Lottery Dipper Watches.
Throughout the summer People’s Postcode Lottery Dipper Watches are taking place on the reserve every Saturday and Sunday. A ranger will be at the second viewpoint with binoculars, fact sheets and picture guides to help spot and identify the different river birds that are present at the Falls of Clyde. We will also have information of all of our other events taking place so feel free to ask us about those and how to book onto them. As well as seeing dippers you may be able to spot a whole range of birds including grey wagtails, mallards, cormorants, sand martins and common sandpipers. If you’re lucky you might even spot a kingfisher or a grey heron! The first People’s Postcode Lottery Dipper Watches takes place on Saturday 30 June and the rangers will be at the site from 12.30pm to 4.30pm, so you can pop along and spend as little or as much time with us as you like and learn a bit about river birds.
Darran Dickson, Falls of Clyde Assistant Ranger
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