Nature photography, political rants, and Martyman laughs from the ten-time award-winning author of "Cool Creatures, Hot Planet," "Endangered Edens," and the "Time Is Irreverent" series.

American Dipper

American Dipper

Marty’s photo of the day #1745: From March 27th – March 31st, I’m going to feature photographs I’ve shot in Montana. Then, beginning on April 1, I will have a new theme that will take us through the entire month.

This is my 20th year of living in Montana, and during that entire time there has always been a pair of American dippers living at the creek below Deb’s and my house (likely several successive generations). I had never tried to photograph them, because they weren’t colorful birds. Several weeks ago it hit me what a poor excuse that was for not taking their picture. What American dippers lack in striking colors they make up for with their unusual lifestyle. So I started carrying my big camera, with the big lens, on our evening walks, which cross the creek. Of course, the dippers were suddenly nowhere to be found.

Then last night I felt lazy, left my big camera at home, and took my little camera instead. Naturally, a dipper was waiting! This photo isn’t too bad, but it’s not nearly as good as I could have gotten with my big camera.

American dippers are such interesting birds, as they bob up and down on the rocks, until they spot something to eat and dive underwater to get it. We even see them hunting in the winter, when the creek is mostly frozen, and during high-water, when the creek is roaring. They’re tough little birds.

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