Ringed Dippers in River Tame

After my last post I contacted Tony Wilkinson of BTO. I thought some of you might be interested in his reply. I have blanked out the nest location just in case...:

"Our Dipper ringing is only carried out in the breeding season starting on 1st Mar since we have to define our 'season'. It ends on 30th Jun. Yes Dippers are elusive in the winter months, and opinion is divided as to where they are. Some birds are known to migrate but sightings off territory are extremely rare, leading some to suspect that birds lurk under bankings more, or if the river is swollen, they are perched up trees.

Thanks for your sightings. There is an inaccessible nest at XXXXX which will possibly account for many of the upper Tame unsinged birds. Because of the high juvenile mortality and shortage of colour combinations, we only put metal rings on pulli before fledging. Finally your colour ringed bird. Our colour scheme is as follows:- on right tarsus- red/orange stripe over metal on birds caught above Diggle Brook/Tame confluence, on right tarsus red/white stripe over metal on birds caught on Diggle Brook, and orange over metal on birds caught down stream of the Diggle Brook/ Tame confluence. Blue left is the female at Linfits/Pingle. 
Sightings of unringed, metal only birds are as valuable as colour ringed when the majority of birds are covered."

We are going to undertake our own Saddleworth survey next spring so as to get a better local picture. Email if you are interested, we could dicide up bits of the Tame and tributaries between us.

John H

from John Harris, local RSPB member.