Sunday, 17 November 2013

Crossbill Crazy!!

These days birding time is limited and as predicted the Two-barred Crossbill was seen midweek and Saturday at Leith Hill Surrey. The weather forecast predicted fog early morning clearing by 10am then the remainder of the day would by almost wind free with low cloud.

I headed for the Cricket pavilion which seems to be the most regular spot for this bird. On arrival there was a flock of c25 Common Crossbill at the small pond a few had been caught in the mist nets set up at the location. Sam Bailey and Paul Stephenson were busy removing the birds from the nets. The birds were then taken and processed before release.
(Crossbill Male)
I was grateful to Sam and Paul for taking the time to explain the difficult process of ageing young Crossbill. The birds were measured, photographed and then released.  I would not have a better opportunity than this to photograph this species.
(Crossbill Female)
At this time there had been no news of the Two-barred Crossbill but it transpires the bird had been seen earlier on in the day. I returned to the pavilion to stake out the area for the remainder of the day.
(Common Crossbill)
There seemed to be more Crossbill in the area today, this may have been due to the weather conditions which were making it easier to locate the flocks. Two flocks were seen during the afternoon one containing 21 birds stopped off in the Oak trees above the pond. Another flock of 13+ birds flew across the open area behind the pavilion.

Circumstances had conspired against me once again. The hill was fog free early am and the Two barred did not return to the pavilion! However I saw the processing of net caught Crossbill and took some crippling pictures of birds in the hand! That was worth the trip alone. Roll on next weekend and favourable weather conditions!!

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