The eastern “American Dipper” (not really)


Yesterday I had some chores to attend to in the morning. When I was done I rested a bit then had to get out to do something. I decided to take a hike into the Neversink Gorge from the Katrina Falls Road Access.  This is a beautiful hike into the gorge.  It was quite birdy, but not as diverse as many of the other access points. The forest here is nearly all mature Hemlock with an understory of Rhododendron. Since the Rhododendron was all in bloom, it was quite beautiful.  The most abundant species on the walk were Black-throated Green Warblers, Red-eyed Vireos, Scarlet Tanagers and Black-throated Blue Warblers. All of these were very numerous with over a dozen BLGR chicks seen following their fathers, begging for food. Other birds seen included Ovenbird, Magnolia Warlbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Veery, Wood Thrush, White-breasted Nuthatch and Hairy Woodpecker. Once on the river, there was a different assortment of birds. Belted Kingfisher and Osprey were both seen. The show stealer of the day though was Spotted Sandpiper! I spent some time observing these birds, which we don’t really get to do very often, especially in this habitat. These birds, four adults, worked the river up and down, flying from rock to rock.  They would “bob” around the edges or the rocks, sticking their heads right into the water, gleaning insect larvae from under the edges of the rocks. I immediately noticed how similar to “American Dipper” behavior it was. They of course did not walk under water like a true AMDI, but their habits were quite similar. I enjoyed the opportunity to witness their behavior. While I had no exceptional birds on this walk, it was truly enjoyable. Photographers would have a good time here. There are numerous rills and creeks flowing off the mountainside here. All are rocky, moss and fern laden opportunities for photos. The river view isn’t bad either. Denton Falls was my destiny yesterday and it is also quite beautiful (though not a big falls).  If you go in, remember it is an almost entirely downhill hike. While not really strenuous, it is uphill all the way back. Keep an eye for bears, I didn’t see one while down there, but did have another huge beauty on Pine Kill Road.  Great day!

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Gleaning insects from the edges of the rocks, underwater.


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2 Responses to The eastern “American Dipper” (not really)

  1. scott baldinger says:

    Hey John
    Really liked the shots of the Spotted Sandpipers and your account of their behavior. You peaked my interest to revisit this great spot! it’s been awhile!

  2. Thanks Scott, glad you enjoyed it! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the walk!

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