Breckland Birder

Breckland Birder
Crossbill in Breckland, Norfolk Photo by Paul Newport

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Croxton Heath and Threxton, Norfolk

Croxton Heath
I arrived at Croxton Heath at about 0700.  Although cloudy, it remained dry and was once again very mild for the time of year. Some brief brighter intervals were welcomed from about 0900.
As with previous visits, my intention was to watch Crossbills at their regular watering location. As soon as I arrived at the given location Crossbills were already present and indeed, varying numbers came and went throughout my stay with the best single count of about 10 birds.
My previous visit to this location saw a Crossbill which appeared different from the Common Crossbills, and on this visit he was seen again drinking at the puddle. This particular bird has white tips to the greater coverts and white fringes to the primaries, however, the bill appears deeper than Common Crossbill and I was considering this bird as the having Parrot Crossbill characteristics.  Any feedback would be welcomed as I have no experience with Parrot Crossbills.
Crossbill at Croxton Heath, Norfolk 19/02/14...or is this Parrot Crossbill
 A single Woodlark was seen flying overhead calling, the habitat here is very typical for breeding for this species.  Several Skylarks were singing overhead, 3 male Yellowhammers were seen and Song Thrush was singing.
The walk back along Harling Drove produced small numbers of Redwings in Silver Birch woodland.

A late afternoon/sunset visit to Threxton produced at least 2 Chiffhaffs, one of which was seen away from the Threxton STW along the lane in bushes and Oak trees.  A singing Goldcrest was in the single Yew tree in the churchyard.
Further along the lane in the Watton Brook valley was 5+ Stock Doves, 2 Grey Herons, a pair of Egyptian Geese and Mallard.
Back at the church at sunset a Kestrel was seen on the tower.

Finally, any comments on the Crossbill at Croxton Heath would be welcomed via e-mail or as a comment on this post.
I have had response about the bird above and it is a Common Crossbill....perhaps wishful thinking on my part.  This is timely to show that both sexes of Common Crossbills do have some variation in their plumages which may cause some debate, however, the structure of the bird should assist in the identification.  I have no experience with Parrot Crossbills...perhaps I was concentrating too much on the bill structure as I thought this looked deeper than on Common Crossbill.

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