Brown Dipper Nest

Feb. 15, 2017   Last Sunday I went back to Homan River, located at the base of Mt. Onechi to see if the brown dippers (kawagarasu) had started their nest building yet. One of them saw my approach, and it flew off up the stream as fast and straight as an arrow. As I wanted to find the nest, I walked up a few hundred meters more and then found a hidden spot among some bamboo by the river. After 20 minutes or so, one flew past me up the stream with some moss in its beak. I walked up another 100 meters and sat down again, hidden from view, and a dipper soon flashed by in the same direction grasping something in its mouth. In this way, it took a few hours to finally locate the nest under a flat , large rock in the center of the stream. Next morning, a few hours before daybreak, I returned and set up a small blind about 10 meters from the nest entrance. I left the blind alone for a few days to allow the dippers to become accustomed to its presence. I returned before daybreak once again and set up my gear and waited quietly for the sunrise. It was a snowy morning quite cold and overcast, but finally the light rose enough for me to be able to notice their shapes flitting by in the shadows. Over the next few hours, the camera  captured some rather dark video and photos as the nest was situated within the forest under some trees. I plan on returning this weekend before sunset, to try to photograph in western light, and better exposure.


In the video below, see if you can see the dipper flash by 3 seconds before the end at normal speed.

A few days later, I went to  Shioji mountain where the plum trees where beginning to bloom. There were many birds about, and I was happy to see a male and female red-flanked bluetail (ruri bitaki) cavorting around. They stayed in the same area for some time, and were very preoccupied with each other, so I was able to approach quite close. The first 2 pictures are the male, and the following 2 are the female.

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 A Daurian’s redstart  posing on a plum branch above, and the first plum blossoms of spring below.  I am glad that spring is almost here.



3 thoughts on “Brown Dipper Nest”

  1. I noticed – super quick!! A great hiding place for a nest, to be sure!

    Yesterday I was visiting a local hawaiiana store looking for cool stuff. There were a few bird books, and one was definitely owned by a bird enthusiast because inside there were many newspaper clippings about local Hawaiian birds. Many warnings about the extinction or less frequently viewed local birds. One in particular caught my eye – the Sharma Thrush. Very vocal and once common on Tantalus. The clipping mentioned their disappearance from the area. I couldn’t believe it, but after thinking about it I realized it was probably true, because on my last visit I’d noticed the lack of song from them. So sad!!

    Another bird book written for a child’s interest was on the shelf – from 1940 with illustrations. If it were geared towards the older audience, I would have snatched it up.

    Thanks for the bird photos – color my day.




    1. Thanks for the kind and interesting comment. The sharma thrush. Yes, I remember their beautiful voice. They are an introduced species, and rather hardy, so I wonder why they have deserted the Tantalus area.


  2. Tom, On my many trips to Kauai back in the 80s and 90s I noticed many white tailed tropic birds gliding around the distant cliff faces and also back in valleys of waterfalls. There was a brief time when white tailed tropic birds graced the back on Manoa Valley!! I saw them on several occasions during the time I lived on Round Top. I just remembered that tape of Kauai I took when I camped out along the Na Pali coast trail. I video taped them from a distance – they gave the area a Jurassic feel, like a brontosaurus might just lumber by at any time. By the way, I haven’t forgotten about those video tapes. I’ve been keeping tabs on eBay auctions and also watching Craigslist for anyone selling a Betamax player.


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