Sunday 17 December 2017

Parrot Crossbills, Upper Hollesley Common

A visit to Santon Downham on the 3rd December failed to produce any Parrot Crossbills. During a five hour visit, the best I managed was a couple of flight calls and a possible single bird high up in a distant Pine tree that disappeared before I could get the scope on it.

With encouraging news yesterday of a small group still in the Hollesley Common area we decided to make the trip this morning.  Arriving just after 8am we headed off along the path towards their favoured drinking pool carefully avoiding breaking the ice covering puddles along the track so as to hopefully encourage the birds to visit the same pool again this morning as in previous days.
We spent the first three hours standing under a large Pine tree surrounded by the calls of Goldcrest, Treecreeper, Stonechat and several Dartford Warblers but we hadn't managed any sightings of Crossbill. Then a small flock of birds were spotted flying into the distant line of Pine trees. After a brief feeding session, they again took flight and eventually landed in the tree we were standing under. Another brief feeding session and they headed down to the drinking pool.

With heavy rain forecast for most of the afternoon, we decided to head a few miles up the road and visit Hazelwood Common hopefully to connect with the Coues's Arctic Redpoll. Luckily within minutes of arriving the bird was found feeding among the stubble of the set-aside.