Monday, 21 October 2013

Parrot and Two-Barred Crossbills

I have to admit that today's photographs are pretty poor but I make no apologies for including record shots of two life ticks. The day dawned very wet and windy and Martin and I were determined to go somewhere, particularly myself as I have been deprived of birding for nearly a week.

We could have gone to twitch the Semipalmated Plover at Hayling Island or searched for the Great Grey Shrike at Ambersham. In the end we decided that a visit to Hemsted Forest in Kent was the order of the day, several Parrot Crossbills and a single Two-Barred Crossbill had been showing well lately. Thus we set off in heavy rain but with a promise that it would be dry by late morning and a possible hint of sunshine by late afternoon. 

On arriving at the car park the news was half good as the Parrots were to be found easily. Well that was assuming that you had half decent eyesight. I am not sure what was wrong but I found it difficult to pick up the birds in the poor light. However after half an hour it became much easier to find them but they were very difficult to photograph. We counted a total of six but none really showed well.  I did notice that one of the males, on several occasions, flew back to a calling female and passed food to her, obviously a well bonded pair getting things sorted out early.

Bigger head, bigger bill and thicker neck - a Common Crossbill on steroids!!


After a brief break for lunch we relocated to the ride and set up opposite the oak tree, after what seemed an age a flock of about a dozen Common Crossbills alighted in the top branches. Rather than try to locate the bird I just pressed the shutter release repeatedly trying to capture all the birds before they departed. Sure enough as I moved the viewfinder on to the last bird I could see the white bars plainly, and then the birds were gone. Soon after the birds returned to a tall pine just in from the car park and a "flock" of birders managed to single out the Two-Barred with most people getting a distant sighting. Martin hadn't picked up the bird when it was showing its bars so we waited for the fairly mobile flock to return and finally success for him too. A great day out and perhaps a chance at the SP later in the week - if it hangs about.


1 comment:

  1. Glad you managed to get all three Dave, not an easy task to get them on camera.