Monday, 22 June 2009

I Like You Just As You Are

It is that time of year where (part of) my attention drifts from birds to dragonflies !

A good find today at a site, in Donside. A female Azure Dameselfly, and the rare blue form at that....and in the pissing rain ! Apologies for poor photo due to rain and bad light, but you can clearly see what it is.

My better/other half had found several males at this site a few weeks ago but I got this cracking female one today suggesting an active population.

This is the most northerly population for Azure Damsel in the UK, certainly that has been reported through the usual gateways, so it just shows you what you can find if you bother to look ! Until this year they were unreported for the region, except an unconfirmed record from the 19th century near Aberdeen and one from South Kincardineshire in the early 20th Century.


dougiepreston said...

I have just taken the first of what I hope are many Crossbill recordings, and I was hoping you might give me your opinion of the sonogram in the link;

I gather your not a great fan of Birdforum, so feel free to email me if you prefer...



Loxia Fan said...

Hi Dougie,

Well Done ! I have been keen to corespond with someone recording irrupting crossbills in the Northern Isles as I feel that this is very important area of knowledge - the dead specimens from oil rigs don't call !

Re BirdForum, no, they don't seem to like me so I am banned from there! Sorry I can't contribute on there.....

Your sonogram is on a different scale from what I use but it sure looks like Fc4, or 4E , or "glip" for any Sound Approachers.

This is interesting as this call type appears to be very prolific within Scotland then tails off. In 2007 about 25% of the common crossbills GRG caught were 4E types. They have practically gone off the radar....until now ??? I have had a few singles.

Let's hope it is an irruption year ! Would you be willing to correspond with more calls ? I am thinking of sending a recording kit to Fair Isle so they can get some too. We can then compare the call types on the Northern Isles with any changes we see in mainland Scotland and England. There may well be differences as different populations of crossbills may be migrating along different axis.



dougiepreston said...

Cheers for that.

I've got a copy of the Sound Approach on its way in the post, and can't wait to get to grips with it...

I'll happily record any Crossbills up here if I can. Though I've only started, so don't expect anything fantastic anytime soon!!! Just a shame I've taken it up too late for the Two-barred invasion last Autumn eh! (there were lots of Commons in with them also!)

Cheers for now.


Loxia Fan said...

Hey Dougie,

Sound Approach is an excellent source for crossbill (and other) calls - it is very well produced and the recordings by Magnus are first rate.

Your comment about lots of Commons mixed in with the two barreds has reminded me that there may have been an influx last summer/autumn. The predominant common crossbill call on the mainland of N. Scotland just now seems to be a particular variant of Fc1 - they are everywhere, including breeding in the pinewoods just now. I even caught one along with two pine crossbills a couple of weeks ago. They weren't here in those numbers previously, but we have had a strange year with lots of cone failures so I had put it down to established birds moving around, with the less adapted ones moving on. It is possible that these Fc1 are migrants from last year. Xbills giving call combs' 1B have been the dominant type for the last 3 years (since the big irruption), though were present in medium numbers before the influx. So, the situation is complex trying to separate what comes in and 'tops' up a population as opposed to fluctuation of 'resident' or localised breeders. That is why your sound recordings are so important - they are definitely birds on the move !

Don't worry about 'amazing' quality or anything like that - the recordings will be enough to get a sonogram from, though wind may be a major factor for you ! Some of my best archived recordings are ones I made when I first started with a Monocor mic and a Sony Minidisc - my best Scottish Crossbill excitement call is with that setup, for example.

Alastair said...


There are three photos of crossbill sp on BirdGuides posted the other day from Finstown in Orkney, there is some discussion as to what these are - not sure if anyone has sorted them out yet, I thought you might be the man for the job? On Birdguides they are under Common Crossbill ( if you search the photo library - or via Orkbird photo files if you have access to that) My interest is that I'm moving up there in a few weeks time (currently with nowhere to live ....)

Hugh Harrop said...

Hi Lindsay

I have just uploaded a recording and a sonogram to

Would appreciate your thoughts if you get a chance.


Hugh Harrop