Dipper caviar


Kokanee Creek is thickening with gorgeous surface and anchor ice as temperatures plummet and remain below freezing this week.  Yet, dippers seem undeterred. Dippers appeared to delight in the variety of expanding new ice perches.

This dipper dove off of a sheet of surface ice, and resurfaced with several Kokanee eggs. Dipper with 2 Kokanee eggs in open beak

This dipper waded and dove off ice in the upper regions of the spawning channel and emerged with what I first thought was a worm, until I saw the eyeball and then assumed it was a fry. Turned out to be an alevin. During the winter, fertilized eggs develop in spawning channel gravel, eventually hatching into tiny alevins. Alevins are still larvae and cannot feed themselves. The alevin’s orange yolk sack provides all their nutrients. It doesn’t become a fry until it’s developed enough to be able to feed itself. Dipper eats an alevin

So, as we slide into 2022, I am left wondering: are the fertilized eggs or the alevin the dipper’s cavier? 


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8 Responses to Dipper caviar

  1. Joan Arnott says:

    Happy New Year Alistair,
    Thank you for all the amazing photos and information you share!
    Best regards,
    Joan Arnott

  2. Grace says:

    Happy New Year Alistair. Thank you for your beautiful photos and fascinating facts. I look forward to many more in the coming year. All the very best of good health and good cheer in these times of change and disruption.

  3. Karen Pidcock says:

    This tops the remarkable photo images you’ve taken…imho, Alistair!!
    But keep them coming in 2022, and stay well as you can. Thanks a whole lot for this NYE gift of 2021!

  4. Susi says:

    Fantastic photos and fascinating information. Thank you Cynthia!

  5. Mary Williams says:

    I live in Missouri and enjoy all your photos and the knowledge you share! Happy New Year to you and your family! Looking forward to more in 2022! Stay Healthy!

  6. Allan Hobden says:

    Kudos Alistair…thanks for all the great pics and explanations/stories to boot..and looks like we did make it to 2022! Happy New Year!

  7. Amanuensis says:

    Text credit used with permission from the incomparable Cynthia Fraser.

  8. Colleen says:

    SUCH great photos! I finally know what they eat! All this time I could never figure it out!
    Thank you for a year full of wonder, enjoyment and learning that I receive from your blog.

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