Saturday, 22 December 2012

Top 12 Wildlife moments of the year 2012 - Number 4

Number 4 of the 12 wild moments of 2012 has to be a pair of Dippers I filmed on a small stream at North Wales and we enjoyed a few day's photographing them as 
they fed there chicks in a nest in a small hole on a rocky cliff.
Magical Dippers of North Wales
The second nest I found on my April trip is a bird very much like the Robin but with its darker brown feathers and a pure white breast it nests and feeds on underwater invertebrates on rivers and streams and as I was heading to North Wales for the week it seemed like perfect timing to get some footage and photos of these wonderful and charismatic birds the Dipper.
We arrived at an area where we have seen the dippers in 2011 no photos were taken by myself so this was the challenge and I had brought all my kit to capture as much media as I could from feeding , singing and courtship but what we found was more special than I could have had hoped.
After setting up the hide and the cameras I decided after an hour to take a walk walk up stream to see if a better spot could be found and it was lucky i did as at the end of a track the stream went on to a private piece of land was a large rock face used by climbers and something stood out which was a hole with droppings on the entrances so I decided to cross the river lying down in the undergrowth to wait for any birds using the hole for its nest.

As its spring the wild garlic was very strong and pretty much left me stinking of the stuff but that didn't matter as what landed on the post behind me was unexpected and as I focused my camera on the post about 20 metres behind me I saw a beautiful adult Dipper beak full with crane flies, caterpillars and other various invertebrates just looking at the me for 2 minutes before flying off to the rock face where there was a sudden burst of noise consisting of hungry dipper chicks.
After checking down river I returned to my brother in the hide down river to tell him about the nest and pack all the kit up and set up at the new site. After watching both adults feeding for a while and notice which posts they landed on before taking the food to the nest so I decided to set up a small HD pocket camera on barb wire on the gate to get some close up footage of the Dippers on the posts.
After 10 minutes I had the shot I wanted but on returning to the caravan and reviewing the footage I realized that the Dipper was not in focus but it did not matter as what I captured on film put something else into focus. Below is a screen grab from the footage and a sample video of what I had filmed.
I was so pleased at capturing this rare site of a Dipper watching a Fox skulk past the nest and as I had been searching for foxes all week and see nothing and realizing than unknowingly one had been right behind me for a while and just another bonus of a successful shoot on a lovely stream in North Wales. I'll have two keep the location quiet to keep the nest and Dippers undisturbed. I have notified a bird ringer who will be monitoring the nest for BTO nest record scheme see here for more details and the bird ringer Chris Bridge's blog can be found here. 
Below is a few of my favourite images from 2 shoots at the location and as I cant get back there till June I think we made the most of the days I cannot put any video on as yet due to pc being unable to edit HD footage so hopefully I will upload in a future post.
Thanks for reading


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