As the weather cools down from a scorching hot summer, I'm finally able to go out birding just a bit more, and a couple of weekends ago I went again on one of my favorite canyon jaunts. The area I visit has a bit of everything - a lovely riparian scrub corridor, more mature trees set further back, small patches of grassland, and even a slow moving reservoir. As for birds, well, they weren't quite as varied, but I did see one of my favorites - the American dippers that are ubiquitous in that area, two of them. They love the more rushing parts of the Provo River, and often oblige me with great views. This time, I was thrilled to see the paler edging on their feathers, which indicates these are younger birds hatched just this summer. They've learned the ropes quite well and were foraging briskly, diving in and out of the splashing water to nip at bugs along the way.
These birds may be here year-round, but perhaps because of their dull gray plumage I always consider them more as autumn or winter birds. They are also more secretive in summer, but get much more visible this time of year. No matter whether it is the early flush of spring, the rage of summer heat, the retreat of autumn, or the dead of winter, however, these sweet dippers never fail to enliven a bird walk and make me smile.