Date: 12/28/17 9:26 pm From: Pete Sole <pete...> Subject: [MBBIRDS] SC American Dipper Story (photos buried in there somewhere)
First, HUGE thanks to Randy W. and Norman U.
As I was driving home from dipping on the Louisiana Waterthrush (3 times is not the charm) in Big Sur this morning, I got a message from Norman, via Randy that there was a Santa Cruz AMERICAN DIPPER at Henry Cowell, Zayante Trail. The only problem was that it was around 11am and I'm driving slowly through traffic in Carmel. (I swear officer, I was NOT texting. I was only checking email on my phone when traffic stopped...)
Back to the dipper, I've chased this species a few times. I saw it once on a SC CBC many years ago, but my memory was so sketchy that I had not entered it in ebird.
Anyways, I got to the designated Dipper spot around 12:25pm, and relatively quickly found the AMERICAN DIPPER. Joy! Well sort off.. of course I had left all my photography equipment in the car. It improves my odds of finding rarities. Back I ran a quarter mile to get all the gear. Loaded up, I ran back to the bird and... saw multiple BLACK PHOEBES, RUBY CROWNED KINGLETS, TOWNSENDS WARBLERS, and YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, flycatching over the river... but no sign of the dipper. Resigned, I decided to try to photograph a RUBY CROWNED KINGLET flycatching, or displaying its crest, or something! But dippers are kind birds, and this one decided to re-appear. Now the real fun began.
I tried to photograph this bird in shadow far away. It did not help that I almost completely ruined my big lens by bouncing it on cement (NOT recommended by the manufacturer) down in Big Sur, and hence dented the edge that connects to the camera. This makes it hard to attach the camera or teleconverter due to the really tight fit. To add insult to injury, the GPS on the camera refused triangulate. Oh, and did I mention that once I got the teleconverter on the camera, it jammed and refused to come off?
Anyways, there I was photographing the AMERICAN DIPPER in my home county hoping that everything would come together, sort off. But the birding gods are kind sometimes. The dipper moved closer, the harsh bright light allowed a higher shutter speed even in shadow so... a few images of the Santa Cruz county AMERICAN DIPPPER: