“Among all the countless waterfalls I have met in the course of ten years’ exploration in the Sierra, whether among the icy peaks, or warm foothills, or in the profound yosemitic canons…not one was found without its Ouzel. No canon is too cold for this bird, none too lonely, provided it be rich in falling water. Find a fall, or cascade, or rushing rapid, anywhere upon a clear stream, and there you will surely find its complementary Ouzel, flitting about in the spray, diving in foaming eddies, whirling like a leaf among beaten foam-bells…“ — John Muir
Today, Muir’s Ouzel is more commonly called a Dipper. Their remarkable swimming and diving abilities have long attracted wonder. For many, the fascination of the Dipper’s life history is only added to by their preferred habitat of fast-flowing alpine streams, where they dip below the surface, foraging for caddis and mayfly nymphs. This bird is truly more of water than sky.
The Dippers, by Stephanie Tyler and Stephen Ormerod provides us with as complete a natural history of this unique bird as you can find. This comprehensive volume is also part of a classic series that we have come to admire more and more over the years. Each volume of the Poyser Bird Series is a true budget-buster, but definitely worth it. The Poyser books form the heart and soul of our ornithology collection. Here’s just a few from the Land Library’s shelves:
The Raven by Derek Ratcliffe, The Nuthatches by Erik Matthysen, Weather and Bird Behavior by Norman Elkins, The Magpies: The Ecology and Behavior of Black-billed and Yellow-billed Magpies by Tim Birkhead.
A series-within-a-series, the Poyser books also include over a dozen volumes on raptors, including the following:
The Gyrfalcon by Richard Sale & Eugene Potopov, The Goshawk by Robert Kenward, Raptors of the World by James Ferguson-Lees & David A. Christie, The Kestrel by Andrew Village, The Golden Eagle by Jeff Watson
Here’s hoping the Land Library continues to grow its collection of Poyser books to share with naturalists for years and years to come. And we also hope your summer’s rambles uncovers a Dipper or two!