Family: The Gift of Dippers

To collect myself in nature I headed to South Yuba State Park on the famous Buttermilk Bend Trail.

This trail parallels the South Yuba River and nature loafers come here on mass to in the spring see the wild flowers. The lupine where on show on this April weekday. The most prominent species was spider lupine (Lupninas benthamii).

The Buttermilk Bend Trail with it’s wildflower lined trail that parallels the South Yuba River.

I headed down the two mile, there-and-back trail, looking down at the river with it’s white water and I thought about one bird: American dipper. It was only a matter of time before I saw or heard one.

As I was about a mile in, I heard the joyous song of America’s only aquatic songbird, rising up from the river. A dipper was here and I looked for the closest trail down to the river.

At the riverside I spotted a tightly woven tangle constructed on a riverside boulder with a trail of white washed carpet at its entrance. It had the appearance of a sweat lodge than a nest.

A riverside dipper nest on the Yuba River.

Within a few minutes an adult flew in to the nest and reappeared shortly after. This adult was perched on a rock directly across from the nest, dipping up and down. It’s song was loud enough to be heard above the roar of the rapids. Two juvenile birds flew in and followed the adult around as it foraged among the river rocks.

Not a dead-beat dad. A dipper with some food for it’s two fledglings.
This is how a juvenile dipper says, “FEED ME!”

An indigo brush pen sketch of a bird that always puts a smile on my face (and I sure need that now). This is also my favorite quote about the dipper from John Muir.

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