Worcestershire Record No. 23 November 2007 p. 76


Steve Davies

In 2007 I took over the BTO Waterways Bird Survey (WBS) along Dowles Brook from Michael Harrison who had been monitoring the site for the past 16 years (see Worcestershire Record 21,April 2007). Michael kindly showed me the “Harrison Route” along the banks of Dowles which I was to follow for my transect.

Following the fieldwork 2007 season I am pleased to report the strong possibility of a fourth Dipper territory within the survey area. A pair were seen feeding in riffles by the bridge at the end of the transect at the old ford on a number of occasions. Song from the male was also heard. No nest site and no juveniles were recorded on any visit. This could be accounted for by the territory being on the periphery of the survey site and juveniles dispersing beyond the observed area.

Dippers from the other breeding territories appear to have successfully fledged; at least four juveniles were recorded on later visits. This would appear to bode well for the health of the brook.

It is to be hoped that the heavy rainfall and flooding towards the end of the summer does not have a deleterious effect on Dipper populations along Dowles. Their early breeding season will have no doubt benefited this species. No nest losses due to flooding were observed by myself in 2007.

2007 is the last year of WBS (a detailed mapping method) monitoring as the BTO is transferring sites such as Dowles Brook to the Waterways Breeding Bird Survey (WBBS) which requires just two visits in the breeding season(one early and one late in the breeding season).

It will be interesting to see if that possible fourth territory will be there in 2008.

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