Male Two-barred Crossbill – Lynford Arboretum
Spent this morning at Lynford Arboretum, a well deserved birding break from relentless digging on the allotment! As I pulled into the car park a group of birders had their cameras and scopes pointing skyward – up to five Two-barred Crossbills were apparently feeding in the nearby pines. Two-barred Crossbill breed in Russia and rarely occur in Britain, except following an eruption – as occurred last autumn ( see posts for 20 & 22 July, 2013 ), when they usually over-winter.. Although reasonably close, the small flock which also contained several regular Common Crossbill, were buried deep inside the tops of the trees, only appearing periodically on the outer edge of the canopy. I watched the birds, several males and a female, for half an hour or so before deciding to look for some of the other Lynford specialities. I crossed the entrance track and by the visitors hut I heard and then saw two more Crossbills – one was definitely a male Two-barred. At the feeding station there was no sign of the elusive Hawfinches so I strolled down to the lake to view the paddock – no sign of any here either. A brief diversion along the stream trail produced nothing of particular interest so I headed back towards the car park. By the monument a singing Firecrest eventually gave acceptable views then it was back to the feeding station to stake out Hawfinch – apparently a female had been seen just a few minutes after I’d left. Another half hour or so wait and a small flock arrived in the Hornbeams nearby the feeders – what looked like at least one male with three or four females. Other birds of interest around the feeding station included Redwing, Brambling – a fine spring male, Siskin, Marsh Tit and a Treecreeper feeding on the fat balls!
A couple more grab-shots of two different male Two-barred Crossbills
..and a male Common Crossbill for handy comparison
One of a group of four or five Hawfinch in Hornbeams, near the feeding station
A nice array of late winter birds, together with a fly-over Wood Lark, making a truly excellent mornings Breckland birding