Sunday, December 15, 2013

Loxia overload....14.12.2013.

After hearing the recently discovered Parrot Crossbill's where still present at Budby in Notts on Friday,Chris and myself headed over to rural Notts this morning to hopefully get Chris his second 'lifer' of the year.After a quick stop for a welcome brekkie at Mcdonalds,we arrived at the minimal parking for this site just outside Budby village,got the kit together and made our way onto the heath.At first no birds were seen at all,then suddenly they all appeared in a nearby Oak and briefly flew down to drink.Well that was easy....they then flew again to a nearby Scots Pine and settled down to feed.We watched them for a good hour or so and got superb views as they dispatched cones by snapping them of at the base and then holding them down with one foot while they prised the seeds out of the cones with expert precision.It had been 22 years since i had last seen this species and i had forgotten what a powerful bill,head and neck this 'Northern' Crozzer had and they looked distinctly larger and more bull headed than their Common cousins.After a while the whole flock flew again back to the Oak from which they had originally arrived and began to descend to drink again,allowing some chances for all to see them in the open and on the ground,superb!!.After talking to a few fellow birders,we decided to drive over to the north side of Sheffield and try to see the Two-barred Crossbill flock that has been present for several weeks now at Broomhead Reservoir.We eventually found the correct Res after a wrong turn and managed to just about park safely and then made our way to where the birds were being watched...or that's what we thought.As we arrived at the group of people,nobody was even looking at them and i asked where they were and they said they had flown off...crap,i turned around looked up and there they were.We were now enjoying our first flock of Two-barred was turning out to be a VERY good day.The flock contained 5 stonking males and 2 females and it was great to see again the difference in build and size of bill with this more delicate species compared to the monster Parrots from earlier,what a privilege and really educational for us both.As we watched these beauties we added a third species of Crozzer for the day,as several flocks of Common's flew over calling,to my ears sounding different to the 'Piping' Northern Bullie like call of Parrot heard earlier,with Common's being more a clipped 'Chip chip'.We visited an area of feeders nearby and saw a few Common Crozzers perched up in some Spruces and added a few woodland species to our sightings for the day which included Coal Tit,Nuthatch and Great-spotted Woodpecker and as we made our way back to the car a Grey Wagtail flew overhead.As the light began to deteriorate we mad our way back to the M1 and homeward bound with a cracking day under our belts.
Female Parrot Crossbill,Budby Common.

Female Parrot Crossbill,Budby Common.

Record shot of part of the 'Parrot' flock at Budby Common.

Drinking 'Parrot's' at Budby Common.

Drinking 'Parrots' at Budby Common.

Record shot of 6 of the 7 Two-barred Crossbills at Broomhead Res.