A Headless Dipper

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Decapitated dipper

Spring rushes past in a blur, but there has been the occasional moment to find my feet at the new house as tradesmen come and go and the smell of emulsion reeks out over the fields.

I found the dismembered remains of a young bird in the long grass on Saturday, and puzzled over its identity for some time before recognising it as a dipper. Dippers have a nest in the bridge below the house, and it has been fun to watch the adults buzz up and down the bubbling water with their beaks full of grubs. This unfortunate fledgeling must have been caught napping by a sparrowhawk’s ambush, and it’s interesting to note that the body was found more than five hundred yards away from where it must have been caught. The little dipper was really nothing more than a scrap of flesh so perhaps it’s unsurprising that it could be carried over a long distance, but I am interested to see that after all that effort, the hunter simply ate off the head and left the rest of the carcass untouched.

I’ve been keeping a tally of the bird species I’ve encountered at the new place, and this has reached thirty five yesterday morning to the cheery tune of a yellowhammer. I have a feeling that this is just the tip of the iceberg.


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