Jan 10th   Leave a comment

There have been some crossbills around Kilrenney and Cellardyke since New year. I tried to see them last week, but only got lucky today. Unusually the crossbills are in dense young conifers and are not making any calls at all. I walked past a group of at least five twice before I found them. Then I was rewarded with the best views of crossbills I have ever had. The flock was feeding, quite oblivious, only a few meters away from me, and because the trees are so young, often at eye level. I usually have to squint up to a distant bird at the top of a very big tree. The flock is commuting between the taller conifers in Innergellie Wood at Kilrenny and the line of conifers between Windmill Road and Silverdykes Caravan Park. It was the first time I have walked down this line of trees. There is a couple of paths threaded through the pine and alder trees. It was a nice walk, with lots of birds around including fieldfares and grey partridges. But I walked around the entire area, a good bit of Cellardyke and all of Kilrenny Common before finally seeing the crossbills, exactly where I started the walk. Still better late than never. Crossbills are big, chunky finches with their outstanding namesake parroty bills -well worth the effort every time. There was a mix of colourful males (bright red) and females (bright green) and sub-adults (goldish), adding to the general tiny parrot feel.

One of the male crossbills today showing off its pliers of a bill to prise open conifer cones to get at the seeds (this is more or less all that crossbills ever eat). Where there are conifers, there are crossbills.
And one of the females

Posted January 10, 2021 by wildcrail in Sightings

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