Last night myself and Vince checked the remaining 22 bridges in our main Dipper study area in South Shropshire/Powys/Hereford, this time on the River Onny. Numbers of birds found in the lower reaches were reasonably good but as we got into the upper reaches the birds tailed off considerably. One bird which had been colour-ringed as a breeding male at one of the upper-reaches bridges was re-trapped 8 km downstream. Two things were very noticeable. 1. I've never seen the rivers this low before, at any time of the year and 2. There are many fewer young birds present this autumn.
In 2010, 109 roost sites were counted and 147 Dippers found. In 2011 a total of 118 sites were checked and only 122 Dippers found including 9 birds at new bridges not counted in 2010 (a reduction of approx 25%). Hopefully some of the other missing birds have gone off downstream too, where the water flow is a bit higher (well, actually flowing!!).