American Dipper and cased caddis

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by riseform, Mar 28, 2014.

  1. riseform Active Member

    Posts: 1,093
    Tacoma, WA
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    Gregg Thompson is a photographer I've admired for some time. He recently shared some amazing photos of an American Dipper eating a cased caddis that I thought I'd pass along. I'm going to have to watch more closely for these birds when I'm on the water.

    From Cornell lab of Ornithology: A chunky bird of western streams, the American Dipper is North America's only truly aquatic songbird. It catches all of its food underwater in swiftly flowing streams by swimming and walking on the stream bottom







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  2. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,798
    Marysville, Washington
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    Watching them walking under water picking up various insects is a hoot. Especially love when the hop back on their rock with the silver bubbles clinging on their feathers.

    A very cool bird that builds an unique nest. Their nest is consists of a hollow ball of moss roughly volley/basket ball size; on occasion have found nest that appeared to have double chambers. The nest are often built around waterfalls/cascades though in roaded areas it is common to find their nest under bridges in the stuck on the angle of the girders and the bottom of the bridge itself. Wonder if the young "dippers" like the gurgling of the water?

  3. Scott Salzer previously micro brew

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    Those are some great pictures! They are alll good but I like the one with the caddis out of the case and case is still in the air. The other bird I like that hangs out in the same areas are harlequin ducks - females and young only on the mountain streams.

    Salma - Thanks for the nest description, had no idea that was waht they used as a nest.
  4. GAT Active Member

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    Willamette Valley, OR
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    Poor bugs... everything is out to get them!
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  5. Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Dillon, Mt
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    Even kids get them to use for fish bait. Do you know that them caddis's bite.
  6. FinLuver Active Member

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    Mid-Willamette Valley
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    That's exactly how I get em out before I thread em on a hook...and yes they bite. :cool:
  7. Preston Active Member

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    OMJ and Finluvr,
    I don't think that caddis bite but caddis larvae have what are known as "anal hooks" which are used to keep themselves in their cases (or, in the case of uncased caddis like the green rockworm, to hang onto a perch on the rocks) and, when picked up, they can pinch a little with these hooks as they try to get a purchase on whatever surface they find themselves in contact with.
  8. mat1226 Active Member

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    Bellingham, WA.
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    periwinkles, yumm.
  9. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,486
    Seattle, WA
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    One of the most startling moments I've ever had fly fishing was nymphing in a little mountain stream in Wyoming and seeing my fly line stop, setting the hook, and having a dipper explode out of the water with my fly in its mouth! Fortunately, the hook didn't have anything to hook into on its beak.
  10. FinLuver Active Member

    Posts: 424
    Mid-Willamette Valley
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    To a 5 yr old...they "bite" :p
  11. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

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    Silverdale, WA
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    I've always enjoyed watching these birds. I love the little repetitive "dip" they do while standing on the rocks. Almost looks as if they're curtseying!
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  12. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,650
    Somewhere on the Coast
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    I'll bet they'd be delicious live-dipped in tempura batter and deep fried!
    I'm going to have to be content with some fresh Razor Clams, tonight. In fact, I'm going to cook some up as soon as I log off!
  13. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,650
    Somewhere on the Coast
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    Sometimes i see a dipper swimming under water with one wing breaking the surface, and I have to do a double take and make sure that it isn't a fish!
  14. plecoptera419 Member

    Posts: 63
    Mount Vernon, WA
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    I was wondering if harlequin ducks might come up in this post since they do inhabit the same areas as dippers. Harlequins also walk along the bottoms of streams feeding on invertebrates like dippers. The first time I saw a harlequin with a youngster floating along a mountain stream at 8000 feet elevation I thought I was delirious. I soon learned that that is where they nest and raise youngsters. Both birds can be an excellent clue for us fly fishers, and give even more reasons for de-barbing hooks.

    Excellent pics. Thanks for posting these!
  15. Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    Dippers; aka Water Ouzels - also have a really loud and musical song they aren't shy with. I'll often hear them before seeing them.
    They even sing in the winter in the worst kind of weather.
    Happy little birds on a gray and wet day. Here's one singing;
    Thanks for posting the great photos.
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  16. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    another thing that make a slow day on the river interesting, Sometimes I just stop fishing and watch mother natures creatures in action to my great amusement. This's also includes other fishermen,I'm sure I have entertained people over the years with my antics.
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  17. FinLuver Active Member

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    Mid-Willamette Valley
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    Watched a raven and hawk ride the thermals and play aerial combat for half an hour during one such break in the fishing action.
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  18. Preston Active Member

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    I once watched an ouzel who had captured a small fish (probably no more than 1 1/2 inches in length). The bird popped out of the water and hopped up onto a rock, gripping the fish by its tail, and proceeded to whack its (the fish's) head repeatedly on the rock until it stopped struggling before gulping it down.

    The first steelhead I ever caught had what appeared to be a partially-digested bird's wing in its stomach. I always assumed it was an ouzel's wing. Ouzels walk on the stream bottom by spreading their wings and using them as a sort of hydrofoil to hold themseves down against the substrate. I can easily imagine a buck steelhead sidling up alongside such an intruder and making a sudden snap.
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  19. Skysoldier Trout Hunter

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    Lost in the woods.....
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    Never seen one myself but this post made me look them up..........very cool little bird! Thanks for sharing.
    One of the things I like most about being out on the water is the chance to watch nature at work.
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  20. jessejames Flyslinger

    Posts: 1,855
    Show Low, Arizona
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    There are a lot of these dippers on the Clearwater/Kelly creek system I love watching them. They make me laugh when they get out of the water and do there little dipping dance.
    constructeur likes this.