Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Black-bellied Dipper - Harpham, East Yorks
Well, that was fun. A beautiful sunny afternoon, a couple of hours spare, and a twenty minute drive south-west into the East Riding with local comrade Nick 'The Gap' Carter to the sleepy, picturesque village of Harpham. We were there in the hope of catching up with the long-staying Black-bellied Dipper, and being such committed, shit-hot twitchers, we were out of the blocks within literally months of the bird's arrival.
After being reported daily for many weeks and then suddenly no reports for a couple of days, we were prepared for the possibility that it may have finally moved on; no matter, a crystal-clear chalk stream with displaying Lapwings and singing Treecreepers by the path and barely another soul around was making for a pleasant jolly anyhow. But, soon enough the star of the show bowled past us and upstream, settling nearby and clearly not giving one about our close-up presence.
After a good twenty minutes or more enjoying the show, we started setting off back, only for the bird to settle again under the bridge beside us. Just for the hell of it, I sat by the bridge on the edge of the stream, and instead of flushing, the bird kicked back, had a relaxed preen, started feeding again, and then (magically) started to sing for several minutes, barely three metres from where I sat.