You see a plump, dark brown bird, feeding along a fast-flowing river in the west of Ireland. You glimpse a white breast, straightish bill and a shortish tail. What could it be? There are any number of species which it might be. A young Cormorant? A Dipper? A Ring Ouzel? Or a... well, ok, three species it might be. Ok, it's constantly diving in the whitewater, so probably not Ring Ouzel. Two species it might be then.
So, still perplexed, you have it narrowed down to (a) young Cormorant, or (b) Dipper.
We are happy to reveal here, exclusively, on the Kerry Birding Blog, a 100 percent foolproof, brand new identification feature, which can clinch this identification conundrum, one which has perplexed the finest minds of the finest birders for decades.
Dippers have pink thighs. Young Cormorants don't...
Simple as that.
See the photos below. Identification secured. Enough said. Boom! Back of the net.
Fast-flowing river, dark brown bird, white breast. What could it be? Well, in this case, a young Cormorant, until now, fiendishly difficult to separate from Dipper. Ignore the brownish bird with the red breast, on the left.
So what about this one? Hard to know. But WAIT!... is there a hint of pink there? Near the top of the legs? Location withheld, but not too far away (M.O'Clery).
Young Cormorant! I mean... Dipper!. No! Young Cormorant! No! Must be a Dipper... Wait, no... Ring Ouz... Oh, I don't know. Hang on... Let me have a closer look at the thighs... * (M.O'Clery).
It's a Dipper!
Thank you Kerry Birding Blog!
* Location withheld, but a different location from the above photo, which gives additional credibility to this whole ID criteria thing by now having a sample size of two.