Dipper poo that is! Over the past few weeks I (and Paul before he headed back to Romania), ably assisted by Andre, Jane, Lloyd, Sarah, Vince, Paul Ashworth, Martin Georg, Brendan Sheils and Adrienne Stratford, have been hitting the Dipper roosts of Mid-Wales in a big way. On a short-term employment to the BTO my usual Dipper roost monitoring has been expanded in area and objectives. The BTO are looking at DNA in Dippers using a small feather clipping and in addition Cardiff University are looking to see if Cryptosporidium occurs in Dipper poo. Now it does't usually take long for me to scare the crap out of any roosting Dipper but somehow when you want them to they just don't want to go! Despite the majority of rather retentive individuals we have sourced over 50 poo samples and nearly 300 feather clippings from rivers as widely separated as the Dyfi in the North, the Tywi in the south and the entire width of Wales from the Ystwyth to the Teme.
These samples will shortly be wending their way to the respective researchers and hopefully I can report findings here at some point in the near future.
A Dipper swimming (photo taken back in 2008)
As for the Dippers thenselves - in the past 30 days we have caught just over 300 different Dippers including 146 new birds, 130 + retraps and at least 19 controls (mostly of birds we ringed ourselves as pulli earlier this year). A full breakdown will be posted once the season has finished completely.