“Find a fall, or cascade, or rushing rapid, anywhere upon a clear stream, and there you will surely find its complementary Ouzel, flitting about in the spray, diving in foaming eddies, whirling like a leaf among beaten foam-bells; ever vigorous and enthusiastic, yet self-contained, and neither seeking nor shunning your company.” -John Muir
It was in Lamar Valley in 2014 when I encountered my first dipper. Prior to that day I hadn’t even known of the existence of such a unique songbird. The American Dipper is the only aquatic songbird in North America, finding its food under water in fast-moving, clean mountain streams. On that late October day in 2014 I found myself completely enthralled by this unique bird. Since then, every time I find myself in the mountains, including once in Italy, I seek out the water ouzel.
During our recent trip to Yellowstone I searched again. Along the water I mostly found migrating pipits, warblers and a lone sandpiper. Only once while in Lamar Valley did I find this one American Dipper. I had been searching all afternoon when it suddenly appeared out of nowhere. It flew in, perched briefly on the rocks below, and then continued its flight further down the river, leaving me to question if it had been there at all. The encounter was so fast I had no time to compose, I could only shoot. But here it is, my very brief 2017 encounter with the American Dipper of Lamar Valley. September 22, 2017