You might have noticed that my Assistant Ranger has already written about dipper this week. To give you a little behind the scenes information – I write and schedule blog posts a week ahead as they also go into our local newspaper. Lucky for you, Darran didn’t see my blog post waiting to be published, so we have double dipper this week. Enjoy!
Over the summer holiday weekends we will once again be running our dipper watching events on the reserve. These drop in events are free to attend and occur every Saturday and Sunday afternoon during the school break. The watch site is run by volunteers and they will be on hand to show visitors these charismatic little birds and other wildlife that is found on the river. Part of my job is to make sure these volunteers are fully trained to be able to carry out this very important task of inspiring people about Scotland’s wildlife!
One of the things I’ve been working on this week is creating a volunteer handbook and part of that was to come up with a list of frequently asked questions that visitors might ask about our wee dippers. I found out some really fascinating stuff and thought you’d like to read about it too!
For anyone who doesn’t know about dippers, the reason they are so special is that they are the only passerine (passerines are generally classified as perching songbirds like robins and blue tits) that have the ability to dive and swim underwater. Dippers feed on aquatic invertebrates, including mayfly nymphs and caddisfly larvae, and small fish such as minnows. While the majority of small food items are swallowed under the water, dippers bring larger food items to the surface to eat, and any undigested material is regurgitated as pellets. To hold their position and move around in fast flowing streams dippers use their wings. Dippers are also known to feed on land along stream banks, turning over stones, leaves and debris. Foraging is a time consuming activity and takes up to 66 per cent of their day.
If anyone would like to volunteer at our People’s Postcode Lottery Dipper Watch events, we have more information about the role on our website.
Laura Preston, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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