The Nire Valley

The Nire Valley
The Heart of the Comeragh Mountains.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Nire Valley Dipper - singing and swimming.

So often it is the little thing when pointed out, that is the most fascinating. Often waiting for walkers outside Hanora’s Cottage, guesthouse, I watch the most amazing of our native songbirds. You know what a song bird is? One of those little songsters that chatters away from sun -up to sun-down with its happy tune, you probably have your favourite, thrush, blackbird, lark the list goes on. But this one I am observing is fascinating, not for its song but for what it does.
It stands on the stones in the River Nire, now, the Nire is no gentle flowing river it tumbles playfully over the rocks and a weir at Labarts Bridge, and this little bird is standing on the rock, then without a moment of thought the little bird walks into the fast flowing river. I don't mean up to its ankles or knees I mean fully submerged. No need to fret as the Dipper reappears a little further down stream, fed, belly full of Caddis flies and other delights. The dipper is delightful to watch, the size and colour of a blackbird but with a white breast, and the apparent courage of a lion. 
The Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), gets its name from the way it bobs up and down while waiting on a rock just out of the water it has to be a strong bird in order to hold its self under water in fast moving rivers and streams, it comes equipped with a second set of eye-lids that act like swimming goggles so it can find its way around underwater. The Dipper is the national bird of Norway.
The walkers come out from the guesthouse, call to me and I leave with them for a days walk. When I get back that evening I show my walking colleagues the little diving song bird as we enjoy tea and scones over looking the Nire River. The Dipper can be seen in the Nire, near the Nire church all year round, so the next time you are passing stop and take a look at the submersible song bird.

The Dipper (Gabha dubh)

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