PARROT CROSSBILLS at Budby Common
Col and I had been hoping to do this trip for some time, we’d just been waiting for some decent weather that coincided with some time off work. The last couple of months has seen a small influx of Parrot Crossbills into Britain, mostly in the southeast of the country, but when some birds appeared a bit nearer in Nottinghamshire I was finally tempted to make an effort to see some. With the weather forecast today looking favourable we were finally on our way – by 5am we’d left Carlisle and by 8am we’d arrived at Budby Common. Navigating our way across the common was quite challenging however, and with no other birders about we were kind of struggling to know exactly where we should be going. Rather fortuitously we eventually saw two birders who’d just seen the birds beyond the second set of cattlegrids. Annoyingly, just as we got to the tree the birds were in, they flew off calling, no time for scope views, just unsatisfactory ‘bin views as they disappeared into the distance and landed in the top of a distant pine. And then they flew off again and we lost them completely. All very frustrating! After about 20 minutes a few other birders arrived and thankfully the birds reappeared. Phew!
We had a quick look for a Great Grey Shrike but we knew it was really elusive so we decided to make our way back to the car, informing dozens of birders where to go for the Parrot Crossbills as we did so. Other birds on the common included a Green Woodpecker, Jay and Brambling.
TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS at Broomhead Reservoir
An hours drive away to the NW of Budby Common lies Broomhead Reservoir in South Yorkshire, the location for a small flock of Two-barred Crossbills. We parked up and were soon watching these cracking birds…
What a sight! Up to 5 males and two females, awesome. The only other Two-barred Crossbill I’ve ever seen was a female way back in 1998 in the Forest of Dean, so it was really great to catch up with the species again. A few Red Kites were seen alongside the A1(M) as we headed north. A superb day, what a fantastic start to the year.