© Durham Bird Club. Managed by Sacha Elliott

Sep 12, 2017

The dapper Dipper


Edited: Sep 12, 2017



Instantly recognisable, active & entertaining, the Dipper is a favourite of many birdwatchers.

We are fortunate to have birds in many areas of the County. Its great to see them doing so well, particularly with range expansion in our lowlands over the recent decade.




Heres a link to my blog post from this Spring which details a couple of interesting interactions of Dipper moving away from water, plus details of 2 nests being built only feet apart......




I was pleased to find & confirm successful breeding for them on the tidal section of the R.Wear with well grown chicks in the nest mid April this year.


The high water mark showing clearly.


I shall add more to this later.




Sep 13, 2017Edited: Sep 13, 2017

mid September onwards is a good time to look for birds re-establishing territories & starting to sing.

theres also a chance that first year birds may begin to wander.


I feel there may be new territories yet to be found in East Durham, this is hinted at by an interesting record this Spring came from the Coxhoe Beck nr Raisby Quarry. (we have to presume this is a non breeder on edge of range ?) - but if a bird can appear here in Spring then they can surely turn up on any piece of running water...?


I have a few ideas of watercourses that are NOT currently known as holding resident Dippers.

These include :-


Coastal Waters

Hawthorn Dene - although there are stretches that 'disappear' down through the limestone

Crimdon Beck (only a few km from the Castle Eden birds - although both the Durham & Cleveland Atlas's show no records.)

The Sharpley Burn which runs to Ryhope through Cherry Knowle Dene via Burdon & Sharpley Golf Course. (Kingfisher breeds on the Burdon stretch & whilst the Ryhope end is uninspiring, there is some good wide rocky sections inland of Cherry Knowle - i have only ever viewed from range from the old railway)

There doesn't appear to be anything suitable between Ryhope & the Tyne.


Tyne Tributary

R.Don - I don't know this very well, I doubt it has suitable habitat for breeding ?, but at 10+km in length it should be able to attract roaming birds from time to time....?


Lower Wear Tributary

Oxclose Burn - leading up to the Town Centre / Galleries. - Birds breed where this burn issues into the river - the most downstream regular pair on R.Wear - although I have not checked out the 1,500m Oxclose Burn stretch.


Biddick Gill - I have had singing birds over winter on this tiny woodland stream on the NE boundary of Lambton Estate, just south of the A182 Washy Highway. (never followed these up in nest season as viewing difficult).


Others to ponder.........?

Team Valley Tributary

Beamish Burn - in the 90's the 2 pairs here were thought to be isolated from their nearest neighbours by 16km ! (Pontburn & R.Browney) - birdsmay well be present along the valley at Urpeth & down onto the R.Team now ?


Lower Tees nr Darlington

I wonder if there has been any change in numbers of birds in this area ? or is the increase & uptake on the lower Wear a result of a cleaner river since the closure of mining industries & better water quality ?




Dipper - a great bird to study year round.


Durham Bird Club - Studying & Conserving the birds of Co.Durham.






Christopher Hackworth
Sep 13, 2017

good stuff. yet to see one this year, shamefully

Sep 14, 2017Edited: Sep 14, 2017

The R.Browney at 36km is the largest tributary of the Wear, which is 96km

- the last 5 or so km of Browney does not hold Dipper pairs, but I know there are at least 10 regular territories between Lanchester & Wall Nook alone !


The "Birds of Durham" remarks there are LESS(!) on the Browney than the 7 to 9 pairs that it states for the R.Gaunless which is approx. a mere18km.


To put this into perspective, there are 8 regular nesting pairs along 8km between Hetton & Lumley Castle.


I think DBC need a re-think & a completely new take on how it collects & interprets members bird sightings.




New Posts
  • mvsalamanca92
    Aug 26

    FOR SALE....unused still in box....cost£230...accept £100
  • andrewscarth
    Dec 1, 2018

    Hello everyone I was wondering if anyone could give me some help and advice on a camera for my grandson . We live in Jarrow and do most of our bird watching around the burn at boldon. Even though he's only 6 he loves anything to do with wildlife but especially birds, any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.
  • paul.cave
    Jul 17, 2018

    Manfrotto 190go,  Carbon Fibre 4 section twist lock tripod, boxed as new (hardly used)  Length closed – 18ins (47cms) Fit nicely into smaller suitcases. Weight -  2.9lbs (1.3kgs) Supports – 15.4lbs (7kgs) Tripod head Manfrotto 128RC head with quick release, boxed as new (hardly used)  Weight – 1.6lbs (0.8kgs) Supports – 8.8lbs    (4kgs) Tripod cost £340 new  Head cost £80 new, will accept a reasonable offer. Would prefer to sell together but can split.    I am in Hartlepool but can meet at Saltholme or elsewhere! Reply on here or email me at paul.cave@seatechs.com