12 Nov 2008

Two-barred Crossbill

A morning meeting in Thirsk allowed me to spend some time at the garden of a certain Mr & Mrs Uruqhart who, for several weeks now, have had a stunning male Two-barred Crossbill visiting their garden feeders. Despite the long hike up the hill to their fantastic house I decided to park by the main road. Sweating like the proverbial Bishop when he first saw the actress in her lingerie I arrived on site to find I'd missed the bird by 5 minutes. No problem though - with fewer people than at the weekend and with them all standing well back it soon reappeared.

I picked the Crossbill up in flight several times on call and it proclaimed its presence before actually arriving on the feeders. No bad behaviour today but the arrival of a bloke who stood behind me next to his wife and then proceeded to give a running commentary, in a loud voice, about the birds on the feeder less than 40 feet away:
'Oh look dear a Coal Tit. Now theres a Blue Tit and a Coal Tit together. Oh and theres a Great Tit. Look dear all three Tits together and now theres a Greenfinch'.

So much for field craft. I had to turn to check and see if the poor women was blind! Taking my leave I stuck a couple of pound coins in the collection bucket and took the long walk back to the car. A beautiful spot and the area was filled with birds - apart from those coming to the feeders there were Brambling, Chaffinch, Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting in the surrounding hedgerows.

With my meeting over and Yorkshire bathed in sunshine I took a detour back to the coast to get another, hopefully, closer view of the female Pied Wheatear at Reighton Holiday Park. Once again the bird was fairly distant but just as I'd packed up and was about to leave it flew over my head and landed on a nearby fence. Sorted!

As can be seen its looking pretty grubby after rooting around on the boulder clay cliffs. It looks like this bird has moulted some of its greater coverts hence its age being put as a first winter female. Two cracking birds. Not lifers but well worth seeing since my last Two-barred Crossbill was in the early eighties!

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