Sunday, 3 November 2013

Two-barred Crossbill.....?

It was still blowing a strong wind out there this morning so I decided to stay away from the north coast and go inland in the hope of some shelter.
I had been to Lynford Arboretum in late July when the Two-barred Crossbills were first reported from there (see 'A second bite of the cherry'). But the male bird which is currently present looked very fine indeed and with a supporting cast of Hawfinch and Firecrest, I reckoned it would be as good a place to go as any.
Almost the second I arrived the male bird was showing well at the top of one of the larches near the entrance. I got a couple of  record shots before it and the Common Crossbills it was with took flight.

Two-barred Crossbill - or is it?
Having just compared the shots of this bird to those on-line of male TB Crossbills at Lynford, I can't help wondering now if this is a well marked male Common Crossbill. The wing-bars don't look as broad as photos I have seen on the web and the white on the tertials appears more like an even fringe rather than a white tip. In my humble, honest opinion, I don't think this is right for TB Crossbill!

Close-up of wing
With the Crossbills having left the area, I went looking for Hawfinches. I gave it a good hour but didn't see any. I joined a few other birders at a spot over looking a paddock where they are often seen but a female Bullfinch and several female type Common Crossbills were the closest we got.
I returned to the larches at the entrance in the hope of getting some further views of the TB Crossbill as well as maybe a Firecrest, but I was all out of luck.
With about one and half hours of decent light left, I decided to go over to the BTO Nunnery Lakes reserve in Thetford. A Ring Ouzel had been reported present about fifty yards from the hide and I thought it might be possible to get a photo.
I reached the spot at about 3.30pm. Dawn Balmer from the BTO was already present and pointed out the hawthorn where the bird had been last seen. We waited a short while before it popped out near the top feeding on berries. Views were a little distant but good enough for a record shot.

Female Ring Ouzel, Nunnery Lakes, Thetford, Norfolk
At almost 4pm, the sun dropped down below the horizon, the light had been good enough up to that point but it was now very weak. I wasn't going to get any better shots and was happy with my views of what is an excellent record for an inland site at this time of year.
I packed up and headed for home.
Opinions on the Crossbill are welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating - I wonder if this applies to the Broomhead birds?