Mega-flock of Two-barred Crossbills in Gloucestershire

Saturday 16th November 2013
Male Two-barred Crossbill
Sometimes things just come together in birding and you get one of those memorable days. Already heading for Woorgreens in the forest (despite gloomy conditions), exciting news came through from Lewis Thompson that he had located several TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS feeding in trees along the Gloucestershire Way beyond Kensley Lodge; in fact near the location Gavin Black originally found them last Saturday. I spent the morning watching what turned out to be at least 15 birds, possibly around 20. A small number of Common Crossbills were around too, but nearly all the Crossbills I saw were Two-barred. The Two-bars were predominantly feeding on the small cones of Western Hemlock and Larch, and sometimes seen taking buds, and were also reported on Alder. Lots of Siskins and Lesser Redpolls around too. An absolutely amazing experience, including hearing the distinctive calls including the piping 'trumpet' calls and song too. Oh, nearly forgot, a lifer too.
What you looking at?
Five males together - this DSLR image gives a more accurate rendition of the colouring - smaller but more vivid red than Common Crossbill
Female Two-barred Crossbill
 More shots:
The Great Grey Shrike was also present again on the clear-fell area towards Crabtree Hill, and it was nice to see that too.
Long-range Great Grey Shrike
Friday 15th November
On Friday morning I joined James and a small number of other birders at 6.30am at WWT Slimbridge for a look at the two Glossy Ibises which have been roosting on South Lake for several days now. Asleep at first, the Ibises gradually woke up. They were flushed initially by a Buzzard along with most of the other waders, but after circling a couple of times landed back on the central causeway giving very nice views as it got light. Three GCP Common Cranes also present were typically very vocal provided additonal atmosphere on this frosty clear morning. The Ibises departed around 7.45am south for their daytime feeding haunt, wherever that is.
Glossy Ibises, WWT South Lake

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