Dipper! Sunol

Jim Chiropolos

The birding gods smiled on me today and allowed me to refind the dipper at Sunol. I watched the dipper for about 30 minutes and at one time, it "fished' within five feet of me - much of the time it was within 15 feet of me. The bird was very active the entire time I watched it - dipping, swimming fishing, and flying. They must use enormous amounts of energy to maintain their energy levels and to keep warm while in the water - their foraging ("fishing") behavior must very successful to maintain these energy expenditures. Unlike birds I have seen in the Sierras/Cascades which are quire vocal, it never vocalized loudly while I watched it - it may have called with a quiet chatter several times. I did not see it the first pass I made upstream through this are but the dipper was present on the downstream leg when I retuned 1 hour later. While I watched the bird, it used a 50 yard stretch of Alameda Creek. The habitat appears excellent, I hope this bird winters here for the East Bay Birding community to enjoy. Now I know why the Water Ouzel was John Muir's favorite bird!

Directions - Drive to Sunol Regional Dark. Drive to where the road ends and park. Cross the bridge. Follow the creek upstream about 300 to 400 yards (towards Little Yosemite).

Good Luck!
Jim Chiropolos, Orinda