Saturday, March 22, 2014

Crossbills South Yorkshire style. 14.3.2014

With a fine calm, sunny day the opportunity to get out early was too good to miss!  We headed for the Broomhead area in the Peak Park where, for many weeks, observers have been entertained by a mixed party of Common and Two-barred Crossbills.  As my trip had been planned far ahead I was increasingly pessimistic of catching these birds but, as the weeks went by and the birds remained , I became more and more excited by the prospect of seeing them.

And so we did!  A group of Common Crossbills feeding high in a conifer contained a single male Two-barred Crossbill  which showed off its markings to good effect. It insisted , at one point, of moving around the rear of the tree but, eventually, gave full and satisfactory views. I'd never seen the species before and, as a first impression, I felt it looked a little more streamlined, slimmer even, than Common Crossbill. We had good views previous to them moving off slightly so we were unable to establish whether other birds were present given five/six have been recorded.  Not bad to see three crossbill species within three days and to compare bill shapes and sizes too!!

We moved on to the wooded valley near Wortley and enjoyed good views of a Dipper carrying nesting material and of three Grey Wagtails in the same area along with a good variety of woodland birds. Later, and after the obligatory Yorkshire mobile breakfast, we moved to Worsborough Reservoir and walked around the whole periphery, including part of Rockley. This was where we had great views of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker last year at this time but, on this occasion, such was not to be repeated. A Chiffchaff sang, whilst nearby, a Willow Tit called amongst a wide variety of common woodland birds and waterfowl on the reservoir itself.

The weather had begun to change slightly, with cloud coming in and it becoming much colder. Visits to several other places provided good birding, but nothing new, and so with late afternoon approaching we decided to retrace our steps after yet another productive and enjoyable day.