Friday, 11 March 2011
Dipping and Dippers
Paul and I had decided on a trip into Cumbria this week to see if we could see the otters which I was fortunate to see last week at Ambleside on Lake Windermere. On the way there we called in at a well known location where hawfinches are frequently seen. The hawfinches are seen early on and usually before 11am. We arrived in good time and there were already other hopeful birders waiting patiently for the hawfinches to arrive. We stayed for over an hour but there was no sign and this was to be our first dip of the day. Dipping is a term used in birding circles and is usually described as missing out on the bird you want to see . Other birds were however on show and we spent our time photographing nuthatch and bullfinch which looked splendid in their colourful plumage.
We then moved on further north to Ambleside and hoped for sightings of the otters which have delighted those lucky enough to have seen them in and around the pier at Waterhead. None were around and we popped into the nearby cafe for refreshments. We then had a walk around the lake and followed the River Rothay up towards Ambleside. This is an excellent river to see dippers and Paul and I enjoyed watching and photographing a pair which were nesting under a nearby bridge. We were not able to carry the big lenses and tripods to this location and the images we did get were consequently not up to our usual standard so we decided to return later with the car and the heavy gear.
On our return to the pier we had another good look for the otters but we understand they hadn't been seen recently according to staff working on the pier. So after this disappointment we drove back to the River Rothay and the dipper nest site under the bridge. It was some time before the birds returned and we both managed a few decent shots before it was time to think about returning home. One final look in at the pier but no otters although we did see a female long tailed duck which has been present on Windermere for a some time. So all in all we had enjoyed an excellent day out despite dipping out on hawfinch and otter and the weather had been kind during our stay in this delightful part of The Lake District.
I have shown above a few images of our day out, mainly bullfinch,nuthatch and dipper but have also included a nice grey wagtail which paid us a fleeting visit and a couple of jackdaws which inhabit the area around the pier hoping for handouts from the tourists coming down to feed the ducks and swans on the lake.