Monday, December 30, 2013

Parrot Crossbill


A recent trip to Norfolk with a friend for a couple of days produced a flock of 8 Parrot Crossbills. On arriving at the site where the birds had been reported, it was clear we were probably in the right place. The habitat was typical of that of crossbills - we were surrounded by mature conifers. Scanning the tree-tops produced nothing and there was nothing to be heard either.
We noticed a small flock of birds land on a solitary bare tree trunk in the middle of an area of clearfell - the sort of place you might expect to instead see a shrike rather than a crossbill. After a while they flew in to the conifers, and it became apparent why they initially favoured the tree trunk. It was a freezing cold day, and blowing a gale, and it was only forecast to worsen as the day progressed. Up in the conifers the birds were being buffeted all over the place, with branches constantly blowing at them, and it didn't take long for them to return to the studier perches provided by the tree trunk. Apart from being a stockier bird, with a more pronounced bill, it is very similar in appearance to the Common Crossbill and Scottish Crossbill.

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