During the earlier part of the year,I heard of a place quite local, where decent numbers of Crossbill were showing.I`d only ever seen fly overs of this bird, when I visited Kielder Forest a few years back.Arriving early on a lovely frosty morning, I positioned myself in readiness of the birds to arrive! An hour or so elapsed before one came into view, a lovely brick red male.These are the only bird with a crossed mandible,hence the name.They are designed to pick out the seeds from the pine cones, on which they feed.
Some years there are really good eruptions of Crossbills to our shores with some stopping on to breed.They breed in the earlier months of the year, when the pine cone crop is at its most abundant.
This pair were attempting to mate.The male is not fully coloured up yet so he appears to be a first year bird.The females are olive green in colour but in this light its difficult to see!
Again a nice looking male in breeding plummage, one which I found on another trip there!
This female is showing her true colours here atop a pine tree.They always seem to be at the very highest point of the trees, making them a good subject to photograph.They infrequently resort to the ground where they come down to drink, but those I`ve seen have been well up in the canopy.They are not a common bird with an estimated 2000 breeding pairs, but again that depends on the pine crops.I hope you`ve enjoyed looking at the photos of the Crossbills,as it was a bit of a challenge, involving 3 seperate trips and a lot of waiting around,but I was glad I put in the effort and am happy sharing with you my results..