Monday 16 September 2013

Two-barred Crossbills

I popped in to Lynford Arboretum on my way back to London from my dad's in North Norfolk at lunchtime. It didn't take long to locate a Two-barred Crossbill in with a dozen or so Common Crossbills, which showed for maybe 30 seconds before disappearing. It's the bird in the top photo - an obvious male, the bird has moulted through a lot of pinkish-red feathers on the head and body - but still retains plenty of traits that can safely identify it as a young bird. Photo is dreadful as it's handheld iPhonescoped...

About twenty minutes or so later, a few more crossbills dropped in to join those already feeding - among which were two further Two-barreds. On initial views I assumed them both to be young females, but more prolonged views of one individual (appearing in the third photo down) demonstrate it more likely to be a young male - among the predominately yellow tones, you can also see a reddish tinge coming through too.

I'm not sure whether the middle photo is of the bottom bird, or whether it's the duller female - it was hard to keep tabs on elusive birds in blustery treetops when blasting away blindly with the DSLR.

My guess is these must be the same birds that first turned up here in July. Coupled with an adult female that has been reported in recent days, it would make sense that these are the three youngsters now undergoing post-juvenile moult. Still, a really nice surprise and glad I called in - I nearly carried on home after initially missing the turning!

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