Sunday, 21 October 2012



Cluj has the ability to surprise. The biodiversity of birds in the parks is frankly disappointing. Crows and pigeons, sparrows and the occasional great tit and some woodpeckers I haven't yet got a good look at. On the Somesh River which runs through the city there are mallard ducks and a rather lost looking mandarin duck, crows and pigeons. I haven't seen a kingfisher or a heron or egret. Imagine my surprise today to see a solitary bird on a rock step into the river and disappear. It could only be one thing, a dipper. A thrush sized water bird that literally walks underwater along the river bottom. Coming from the southeast of England where there are no dippers I was excited to see such a rarity, even more so because of the paucity of avian interest in Cluj. Our bird is probably a visitor rather than a long term city dweller. Dippers are usually found in fast flowing mountain streams but they are known to visit occasionally river gravels in winter according to the Collins Field guide to Birds of Britain and Europe. So our dipper was a day tripper.

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