After a whole month being at home, watching and waiting on the two barred Crossbills, I myself could finally go and see them. Of course I could have gone to see them before Christmas, but the reser seemed further away than it actually was so diddnt bother. Then over Christmas I realised it was much closer, but had to endure the wait to see if they would still be around for me.
I tried to set off as early as possible to try and get the Iceland gull before it left the roost, but it had gone when I arrived, which was about 9.00. I had caught two buses to get there and now had a trek to actually get to Broomhead.
There was a very thick frost the night before so everything was very still and cold for my walk, but the sky was blue and there were birds about as I arrived, which made things look very promising indeed
The first reser on the way up had quiet a few things on it, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Mallards, Moorhens and the like, and the woods around had a few things around; mixed tit flock, robins, pheasants and a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over which was nice to see.
Moving on up I made it to the edge of Broomhead reser. Everything was very still and the only birds on the reser were a pair of cormorants and a pair of goosander. I continued wandering round the area where the crossbills were meant to be but had no luck. However I did bump into a few other birders and they told me of the birds' favorite haunts.
I had no luck though, with only a brief glimpse and call from a common crossbill my only lead. After a while though some other birders managed to track down a large flock of around 50 common crossbills. No two barreds though. But I have only ever seen common crossbills once before so I was well choughed by this point. There was also a lovely male siskin with them, and a female bullfinch nearby.
Sadly they flew off before I got the camera out for some record shots. The next hour was spent wandering round looking for where they had gone, for even though there were no two barred in there, it seemed the best chance off finding them. I also wanted a record shot of a common crossbill.
At 12 o'clock I returned to the spot where they were meant to be and after a quick look spotted a small group of crossbills feeding in silence in the larches. My bins are rubbish and I could not catch them with the scope so I had no idea if there were any two barreds or not due to the sun being behind them.
However, another birder came up after about 5 mins, and after a few mins looking he confirmed that there were indeed two barred crossbills in the group, and then managed to find one in the scope. After a while they came down a little and I was able to get a decent view, even without the bins. Within the flock there were 4 males and 3 females, or so I was told, as I could not really get to grips with them due to the silhouettes and poor bins. I did manage some shots, but they were very poor, enough though to put in this blog for my retirement to look back on...
-Two Barred Crossbills
I spent about half an hour watching them feed before some dog came and scared them off. Its not nice when it ends like that, but I decided it was probably a good sign to get heading back, as I still had revision to be getting on with and that would not wait. Its my intention to get back up once my exams are finished, so hopefully they will stick around. Watch this space!
So, a review. What can I say, its the first time I have properly seen common Crossbill and the first time ever for two barred, now the 4th rarest bird I have ever seen. I eventually got some great views though they were sadly cut short, but they were well worth the trek and bus fare. Hopefully I will be able to get back at some point