Underwater Walker


This week’s photo, taken September 19, 2013 near the Mount Baker Ski Area in the far north region of Washington state, features an AMERICAN DIPPER, a rather plain-looking bird with a truly remarkable story.

On Thursday, toward the end of a spectacularly scenic hike on the Chain Lakes Trail, I spot an AMERICAN DIPPER along a stream that feeds into Bagley Lakes. When the plump, short-tailed bird pauses briefly on a rock, I take a quick photo, then it disappears below the foot bridge that I had just walked across. The Dipper’s behavior is fascinating. It spends its life near fast-moving streams and rivers, where it swims below the water surface to forage for aquatic insects. It even walks underwater.

Hoping that the Dipper might reappear, I sit by the stream for several minutes, but I do not see it again. Perhaps while I am waiting for it, it is walking right by me – underwater!


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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4 Responses to Underwater Walker

  1. Mary Friestedt says:

    Cute and cool, Joe! :)) Mary

  2. Chris VB says:

    Now this is quite a coincidence. Jim and I have not seen a Dipper in several years at least. But, on September 10, his birthday, we went camping in Big Sur, at Limekiln State Park. There is indeed a fast moving stream running out of the mountains past the campground, to the beach and out to sea. Down at the beach, we noticed this unusual bird on a rock in the middle of the stream. A small dove? An unusual pigeon? Jim finally thought of Dipper, and lo and behold, the picture in the field guide confirmed it. Our impression had been that they like cold water and mountain elevations, but no, there it was.

  3. Jody Gebhardt says:

    One of my favorite birds. We see them here in canyon streams and rivers. They are such fun to watch.

  4. Bruce Mutz says:

    A underwater walker, amazing. We are still enjoying your reports, keep them coming.

    Sent from my iPad

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