Tough little bird

Observers: Larry Arbanas
Remote Name:
Date: 01/22/2007
Time: 07:25 PM -0500

A silly poem:

Just look at your cool jacket with the High-tech zipper.
Mine's kinda worn, all tattered and torn.
You think you're so hip, but today I'm way hipper,
'Cuz I just saw the American Dipper!

What a treat! Late yesterday Kathy Duvall and I were scouting places in Lee Vining Canyon for me to film. We went down Poole Power Plant Rd. and briefly stopped at the Aspen Campground near the waterfall. Since it was getting dark, I decided to go back today. There are the most beautiful frozen water forms at that waterfall and it was a great opportunity to get great shots in the motionless frozen movement of these winter wonders. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye was real movement of the bird kind and bobbing up and down on one of the unfrozen large rock outcrops was the fabulous Aspen Campground American Dipper(a not yet recognized AOU name for this particular bird). It walked on a thin ledge under a little water flow and kept leaping up for little tidbit bug/worm critters that somehow survive in the cold water conditions of Lee Vining Creek in January. It flew to another rock outcrop, dived into the chilllllly froth and disappeared, at least from my view. Now I can go back to the Bay Area with visions of Dippers dancing in my head. How to get there: Turn West off Hwy 395 onto Hwy 120 towards Yosemite. Keep driving until you get to the entrance for Poole Power Plant Rd., this is on the South(left) side of the road just shy of the closed snow gate. Turn left onto this little spur and immediately turn right toward Aspen Campground. Once you see the the official ASPEN CAMPGROUND sign on your left(South) proceed exactly one-quarter mile and park mostly on the road, as there's smaller shoulders there than on Kate Moss. Look to your left and start walking across Poole Power Plant Rd., carefully down the small, but tricky rock slope, then across the snow to campground #22. By this time you'll hear mostly nothing else but the waterfall and that's your spot to see Dippers and to get amazing photos of those frozen water forms. Keep on birding and reporting your findings, dear Eastern Sierra friends!