Thursday, 9 February 2017

"Dipped In" (part 1)

Dipper painting courtesy of RSPB

“Dipped In”  by Bryan Yorke – 9th February 2017.

Dippers everywhere! I was watching them on Tuesday beneath Nether Bridge on the Kent (I see them in more or less the same spot week in and week out),  and again yesterday I saw quite a few enjoying the fast flooded currents and flows of the Rothay, somewhere between Rydal and Ambleside whilst walking the back road which runs for most of its route alongside the River.  I guess in a strange sort of way it was the fabulous Dipper that got me started with my early birding career! So why the Dipper? Well I can honestly say when I was a child we did not have any Dippers close by to where I lived.
It had nothing whatsoever to do with seeing this special bird in the wild.  But it did have everything to do with Brooke Bond Tea and the splendid colourful “British Birds” photo cards which were placed within the outer wrapper of the tea packet. A series of 50 different bird cards were available of which you got one card per packet of tea purchased, but for some unknown reason the special one for me which took my fancy was always the Dipper with close second place going to our beautiful Wheatear! Strangely now looking back but that Dipper photo card had done something to me which probably I was not aware of at the time, but indirectly has stayed with me throughout life and given me so much pleasure throughout life not only looking at Dippers in reality but lots, lots more as well, and continues to do so today.

Also during the late 1950’s word must have got round our school that Yorkie was into birds! I remember that several kids from school or if not school from nearby where I lived would meet up to try and learn more about our feather friends. We would meet in my back yard or garden. A school friend Ken Tattersall turned up out of the blue at one of our meets with a shoe box under his arm, the box contained a poor injured House Sparrow which could not fly, he had travelled a long way from out Blackburn Road where he lived just below the Parish Church all the way up to our house at Hud Hey (which was over one mile or even further more).  He must have thought we could fix the injured bird.  But none of us could have prepared for what happened next when he opened the box and took out the bird which without warning ran across the back garden which was built on a grand elevated position and somehow incredibly it found this little hole of 6” square and ran through it and disappeared.  There was a drop of some 25ft into the farmers field which was directly below.  We all went quickly round and into the field to hopefully relocate the bird, but we searched everywhere without any luck at all.  So two things could have happened, 1 either the bird was being very evasive and went undetected or was it that 2) On the bird flying off such a elevated position allowed it to continue flying and flew off to safety.  No one will ever know, but the second theory is probably the best….”