Tuesday, 15 October 2013

The Crossbill Tale!

With all the Crossbills being found, Two Barred and now Parrot, the two Steves have been checking out Hemsted regularly since around July! finally Steve B found a male Two Barred Crossbill on Sunday late afternoon! I was lucky enough to be at home only a couple of miles away and found the bird fairly quickly.
Yesterday there was a possibility that Parrot Crossbill was also in the area but maybe not conclusive. I spent a while listening to Two Barred and Parrot on Xeno Canto a great website for bird calls and songs last night! This morning at 7am I was at the forest nothing happened for the first quarter of an hour then a few Crossbills started whizzing around, two Sparrowhawks drifted over and a few alarm calls were heard including what I would describe as a single note not too different in tone from a Blackbird and definitely deeper than the other Crossbills calls, I couldn't find the bird and it appeared to stop when the Crossbills flew off. A Brambling then called as it flew over as I left for work at around 7.45am, a couple more Crossbills called then one single bird perched up a quick look through bins and I thought that does look a bit different, I grabbed the camera and snapped away unfortunately the bird wasn't that close, I started to re set up my scope and the bird flew off, it was there for just a few seconds really. My thought were that it could have been Parrot Crossbill and I sent a pic to Stephen who had since found a female Parrot Crossbill in the same spot and had put the news out. I've never seen Parrot Crossbill before, so was cautious, and as I looked at the pictures and chatted to Stephen who was pretty positive, I'm happy this was my first one, I would like to go back though and get some better pics, you can make your mind up from the one pic below of the Parrot against the Common Crossbill also taken this AM. Note the less tapered bill on the bottom picture and the curve on the underside of the lower mandible. Any comment of course are more than welcome.
Common Crossbill

Parrot Crossbill, not a great pic unfortunately


Warren Baker said...

I think you could make a case for Parrot Crossbill there Alan :-)

Phil said...

I would welcome any Alan, Parrot, Two barred or plain old Crossbill:-)!

Mike Buckland said...

Alan, I favour Common Crossbill as the ID of this bird, albeit based on this single slightly shaky shot. The upright stance and high crown are not typical of Parrot Crossbill which tend to be bull-headed, thick necked and the very deep bill tends to join the forehead such that there is little distinction between the bill and head in profile. Common Crossbills show a perplexing range of bill sizes and I suspect this is one at the upper end. However the jizz is pretty consistent and once you see a Parrot you will be certain. Keep looking, they must be out there sooner or later. Mike

Greenie said...

Alan ,
Thanks for that post , had a day out in the Forest today , realy enjoyable .

Helma said...

I had never even heard of a parrot crossbill Alan . Or of the ordinary but the parrot crossbill crossbill is new to me . Well great that you have found this and also could photograph .
Greetings, Helma

Magia da Inês said...

彡♡♡♫° ·.
Belos clicks.
Bom domingo! Bom fim de semana!
¸.•°♡♡♫° ·.