My first Dipper sighting at Cotton Dell Nature Reserve in Staffordshire (15th August 2014)

I was determined I wanted to see a dipper. I had never seen one, and although I had looked along the River Churnet in Staffordshire and had sightings of a grey and yellow wagtail, I had never seen a dipper.

So me and my Mum set off to Cotton Dell Nature reserve which is part of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

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If we didn’t see a dipper today, we certainly wouldn’t be disappointed. The scenery and tranquil river was definitely worth the visit whether we saw any wildlife or not.

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After asking a farmer on his tractor for directions, we headed off on the Cotton Dell trail along the river. We kept our eyes peeled but weren’t having much luck. Luckily, like me, my Mum is more than happy to sit and wait for one particular animal. Our patience paid off. Walking along the river I saw a head peeping over a rock. Then I saw the white chest and I knew it was a dipper. We approached it quietly but before I had time to get a good photograph he flew off down the river. It was enough for me to see one as we didn’t see another that day.

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TIPS ON SEEING A DIPPER

* According to the farmer, this dipper stays pretty close to a small bridge on the river. The bridge has a large metal statue of a fairy on top.

* If travelling by car the postcode for the car park closest to the reserve is ST10 3AG.

* A map of the area can be found in the public toilets by the car park. It’s a bit of a tricky road to find from the car park to the nature reserve, but this map should help…

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And if in doubt, look out for a friendly farmer on a tractor who will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

 

That day was another highlight of my Summer holidays. We saw a dipper which was a big tick. We had a lot of laughs during our walk and we discovered a very quaint woodland garden restaurant called ‘Ramblers Retreat’ at the end of the trail. The sun was shining and we sat outside eating ice cream. 

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