Saturday, March 14, 2020

American Dippper

On 12 March 2020, Erika and I searched for American Dippers at Tumwater Falls in Olympia. Dippers seem to be there all year, but they are hard to see—gray birds against black rocks. Despite several attempts, we had yet to add a dipper to our year-list. Today we found two, I learned two things. First, the white flashes from a dipper’s eye is not due to its nictitating membrane but, instead, a white eyelid. Second, dippers, as you can see in the second photo, stick their heads (and occasionally the rest of their bodies) under water with their eyes open. This trait does make sense if you are searching for aquatic insect larvae. 

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