Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The Crossbill - Another Elusive Bird

 Only once previously have I ever observed the Crossbill and that was several years ago now. 
On that occasion I got one very dull poor image of a male and female together.
At the weekend I was setting off to walk through a large woodland area that at this time and on into the summer I usually visit quite regularly.

I met a local birding colleague who advised me of the location in the woodland where he had observed three Crossbill earlier that afternoon. So off I went in search of this elusive species, with little hope of finding them of course. I positioned myself under several tall Fir trees and within a few minutes I could hear the pine cones dropping from one of the trees, which is a sure sign that the Crossbill was at work above feeding on the seeds from the cones.

Quite a neck aching job looking up into tall trees for a period of time, but I eventually located the three birds that my birding colleague mentioned. At first the shots were difficult as they remained behind foliage. Later they all moved to the end tree of the row and I was able to get some better shots.




A bird usually seen on migration in England, but there is a variation of the species named the Scottish Crossbill that is resident in Scotland. The males are reddish to orange and females are green/grey in colour. 









24 comments:

  1. Fascinating little bird, lovely photos Roy. That beak is evolved for the particular task in hand I suppose.

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    1. Thanks Denise, yes they prize open the cones with those beaks.

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  2. Excellent shots Roy. This bird is not easy to photograph.
    Only ever seen them twice. Once at Sandy RSPB, and once where I stay in Wales.

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    1. Thanks Keith. I think it was Sandy I observed the other ones.

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  3. Great series of photos! Glad they came out from hiding so you could be better look at them.

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  4. Roy

    i believe there is a population at Lynford Arboretum in Norfolk. Good place for Hawfinch in winter. i've seen xbill there a few times though all in winter.

    I have seen crossbill at Titchwell!

    nice pics btw

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  5. Lovely series of a species I haven't seen in the UK for some time. Well worth the aching neck muscles Roy.

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  6. Hey Roy...So glad you was able to get these wonderful shots.. well worth the stiff neck for! ; )
    Amazing bird I have only seen once the Red Crossbill and just enough to tell that it was!!
    Nice ones the first, and the third for the bottom!
    Grace

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  7. Hi Roy

    Great you got a chance to see them. We have had lots here this winter some years I don't see any and I was quite interested to see photos of yours.

    All the best.
    Guy

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    1. I was lucky that someone sent me in the right direction Guy.

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  8. How wonderful. We had an irruption here in New England last fall. We have Red Crossbills (which I missed) and White-winged Crossbills which I got.

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    1. Thanks Steve, they are a rarity around here.

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  9. WOW!! What a beautiful bird this is! I can imagine that it was hard to find, but you have found it and fixed can explain. I think anyway that they have much nicer than we buitelnad birds in the Netherlands in lol ......

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  10. Oh Roy! I am so glad you got to see them and get such wonderful shots! Congrats!

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    1. I was so lucky Kathie to meet a local birding colleague who pointed me in the right direction.

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  11. great to get shots of this lovely bird. I think I have only seen it twice but not as good views as your photos so thanks. Margaret

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    1. Thanks Margaret, it was a neck aching job though.

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  12. Wonderful shots of an illusive bird. The bill is so unusual.

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    1. Thanks Mary. They use it for forcing the cones open. Very well made.!

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