Taking advantage of a brief respite in the appalling weather,I headed up the College Valley for a breath of fresh air.
Despite the fact it was snowing lightly when I parked at Hethpool,the distant song of a Mistle Thrush persuaded me to don waterproofs and head out.
On crossing the bridge over the College Burn towards Hethpool Mill,I was alerted by some persistent twittering and spent the next 15 minutes watching two Dippers, resplendent in their spring plumage, on a large rock in the stream near the bank.One ,the larger of the two(or so it seemed) was facing the other bird with its chest thrust out and puffed up,its head back, whilst twittering constantly.The other took up a less assertive and more submissive position,twittering constantly and bobbing.This went on for many minutes with the more assertive bird hardly changing position ,whilst its companion ,turned frequently , still bobbing ,before flying off then approaching again immediately scurrying through the water.Eventually one flew downstream followed by the other where the same behaviour was repeated before they went their separate ways one upstream and one downstream.
Courtship or a territorial dispute?Comments welcome please!
Shortly afterwards,a pair of Ravens flew by side by side,in a seemingly established relationship.
Otherwise ,apart from a Jay calling from Harrow Bog,a pair of Mistle Thrushes and a selection of the usual suspects-Wren,Hedge Sparrow,Pheasant etc all was fairly quiet,probably on account of the wintry weather.