Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Common As Muck

Howdy all. Appologies for paucity of posting but it is crazy time again for me - birds are nesting and it is all go for the season !

Sunday and Monday this week I had quite a lot of Common Crossbills in mid Deeside. It was difficult tracking them with the high winds but interesting stuff all the same. Most were in parties of 6 to 8 though I did have a flock of 22. The smaller parties are probably fragmented family groups. Birds were singing and displaying which is always great to watch, though no great recordings as the wind was howling !

I have been finding quite a lot of Common Crossbill parties in the native pinewoods and plantations since December 08, particularly in mid and lower Deeside. These birds have all been feeding on Scots pine as there has been little else for them to munch. Contrary to popular belief they can forage from unopened Scots Pine cones - just not very efficiently. This year they have not had much choice. However, most will seek out those trees where the cones have started to open - I found one such tree with a Parrot, 3 Scotties and a Common near Banchory in December (see post below from December).

Last week caught up with some Scottish 'Pine' Crossbills at a native pinewood:

It is going to be all hands on deck for the next 3 months plus I have loads to write up, so will appologize now if the posts are not forthcoming ! Do stay tuned in just incase........


Loxops said...

Cheers for the that. It helps explain a mate's recent sighting of 5 on a Black Pine in Fife(see BF).
Still quiet down here in the regular sites - It's only a matter of time though!

Paul said...

How often do you find mixed species flocks Lindsay? I suspect that a lot of the groups of birds that I have encountered may be mixed, based on my (admittedly limited)understanding of calls.

I'm looking forward to your forthcoming NESBR article!