Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Bassingbourn DIPPER - literally less than a mile from the Hertfordshire border

The Bassingbourn DIPPER

A Chestnut-bellied Dipper was discovered By Giles and his wife at Bassingbourn Mill House on 21st April 2016. The bird continued to visit daily and after some good detective work, was found to be roosting beneath the house where the Mill river run through. The couple contacted the RSPB in September and told them of their exceptional find and invited Mark Ward, a Cambridgeshire member of staff over to the house to view. Mark was successful, connecting with the first Dipper in the county for many, many years. Over the next month, he arranged with the couple private Sunday access arrangements, so that almost 90 'special invited observers' were also able to connect, donating to Addenbrookes Hospital in the process. I was independently informed of the bird's presence on 20th October and after searching the Mill river and its tributaries, eventually located it on 30th, following a similar pattern of pre-roost behaviour by the bridge in Mill Lane. I returned several times that following week but other than seeing it from Giles' house just before dark, I never located it in good light for photographs. Having some spare time today, 22nd November, I decided to have a go at trying to find its daytime feeding area and after walking the Mill river from just north of Bassingbourn to its spring source half a mile SW of the village, it finally paid off! The bird is favouring a 400 yard stretch between the spring and Brook Road primarily at TL 328 432. Park just NW of the bridge at TL 327 437 (room for 3 cars), walk east along the road and then take the public footpath that skirts around the south side of the college and back west to the brook (see map).

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