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Sunday 19 February 2012: Above the water

But also frequently in it. This is a Dipper (Cinclus cinclus), a lovely little bird found along fast flowing water, and happily for me resident on the Water of Leith in the centre of Edinburgh, only a short walk from my house. They feed underwater, diving in to chase small insects, like a miniature penguin, swimming beneath the surface. You'll often see them standing on a rock midstream, bobbing away and blinking. I always thought that the white eyelid you can see in this picture was the bird's 'third eyelid' or nictitating membrane that is used to keep the eye clean, but seems, although people used to think that, it is actually white feathers on the eyelids, flashed for social display purposes. I love watching them, especially in the middle of the city. Apparently it's Norway's national bird.

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