Thursday, 17 October 2013

Thursday 17th. October 2013

Having read reports on Alan's / Sissinghurst Birds etc. , and from Stephen Message on KOS ,  I had a quick look at the forecast for the Sissinghurst area , which proved to be better than here at home , so I set off early for the Hemsted Forest in deepest Kent , in the search of Crossbills . Driving through pouring rain on the way , I arrived about 0830 in much better conditions . Not having been to the site before , I was glad to see three birders in the distance along the main track , and headed for them across the main clearing , with half a dozen Common Crossbills , and I found out later , a Two-barred male as well . By the time I reached the three birders , the small flock had disappeared , so it was down to the waiting game . We had a few sightings , all at distance and high up in the Pines , but even with the largest lens they would have been small in the frame . Small flocks showed then disappeared , but always arriving calling . Eventually a male and female Common Crossbill settled
briefly close enough to get a shot in the top of the single Oak . Sometimes it was 45-60 minutes between sightings , but when another pair of Commons , and a male Two-barred posed together in
the same tree , it was well worth the wait . Later the Two-barred flew around the clearing , calling , and landed in the single Oak , but then the dreaded scourge of the ' twig in the way' came
into play , spoiling what would have been the shot of the day . Early afternoon proved very quiet , so I took myself off for a 45 minute walk in the area where the Crossbills often flew off to when they left . During that walk , I didn't see a single specimen , nor did I hear a single call . When I circled back to where the gathered birders were , I could see they were intently watching an area of standing water where birds had been coming down to drink during the morning . I arrived at the same time as they did , and spotted two birds in the gloom at the edge of the water . The dull one , presumably the female flew immediately , but the male stayed a few seconds drinking . I fired off 7 shots , the bird flew off , and looking at the back of the camera , it looked like a shot at night . I've lightened it up ,
but it is still poor , but could it just have been my third species of Crossbill of the day ? With that large bill , could it be a male Parrot Crossbill ? The other birders seemed pretty sure that it was a male and female drinking at the water in the gloom , and they had seen them in the trees before they flew down . I only had a glimpse of the pair in the gloom .


Warren Baker said...

I wouldn't like to say either way Greenie, are you gonna claim it :-)

Phil said...

Decisions, decisions Greenie. Like Warren, I wouldn't like to say. Well done with the other Crossbills anyway.

Alan Pavey said...

Glad you had a good day Greenie, that looks very good for male Parrot but as I say in my blog I'm not very experienced with this species.

Marianne said...

Wowsers, well done Greenie. I don't really have the confidence to go there with the possible Parrot so I'll join the fence-sitters, but the Two-barred is an absolute corker. It's stuff like this that really makes me think I ought to get a car!

Ken. said...

Dispite the weather conditions you did very well with the Crossbills. Great Two Barred photo.
Parrot Crossbill, is it, isn't it? What a close call.
Have you sent your pic to someone who can tell you one way or the other?