Serin,Isla's middle name...

Serin,Isla's middle name...

Monday, 30 January 2012

Parrot Crossbill,West Sussex.Lifer

Hello fellow bloggers & readers of this blog.
Got up early this morning as i had a 6am job to Heathrow.Originally i was going to drop the lovely people off at Heathrow around 8am and head north to Stockers Lake,Rickmansworth for a few hours to mainly look for Red Crested Pochard amongst other things,before going back to Heathrow to pick some other people up but news of a Parrott Crossbill in West Sussex the last 3 Days meant i hopped it down the A3 to Blackdown Hill,near Haslemere as this is the first one seen in England since 2000 and first in Sussex since around 1880,i don't remember that record too well.

I arrived around 9am,the place is easy enough to find,a few narrow lanes but me and the bus of love got in there ok.I made my way from the car par,through the Pine Forest encountering a couple of Goldcrest,a few tits,wrens but not too much else although it appeared perfect habitat for Crossbills.It was cold,about -2c and as i made my way through the forest and to a clearing it was obvious that the place had had a dusting of snow albeit very very light.Walking along the path,which was high up with a valley below i had 4 Crossbills but a quick check and they were all common,next up were 8 siskins,then a nuthatch.I noticed some other birders the other side of the Valley high up looking at some tall pines away from the main forest.I hurried round and within 10 minutes at the top of a tall pine tree was the large female parrot crossbill,big bulky bird,big beak,just looked bigger and bulkier than the many other Crossbills i saw there.It hung around for a minute or so before flying off to the main forest,then it flew back,high above us,calling,slightly different sound than the commons,then off again,not to be seen again by me in the next hour and a half before i left.I had a wander off from the others for a few minutes,the views of this place are quite spectacular and its somewhere i will definatly go back to,had no idea it was there to be honest.This is one of the pools which the Crossbills drink out of apparantly,frozen!!

On my wander i had a distsant Buzzard,Woodlark and a Stonechat,it started snowing briefly,hardly a surprise as we must of been 800 feet up at least.I went back to my fellow birders who had no luck,i decided to have a slow walk back to the car as i had a pick up at Heathrow.I went back the way i came and before i hit the forest from the ridge i had 5 Crossbills,none of them Parrot and a few wrens and 8 Siskin,the sun was starting to come out now and on entering the forest there seemed to be a large Crossbill flock although i couldn't hear or see a parrot.I had another nuthatch,few tits,a Green Woodpecker and just before i got to the car park a Firecrest was low in a bush,showing very well,managed to put a couple of other birders onto it,which is always nice,one got a picture of it and has promised to send it to me(cheers Ted).
I made my way round to Heathrow through the Surrey countryside,lots of heathland,something we are not used to in Essex,got a feeling it won't be long until i am back that way....

PS i am on the look out for some cheap start up photography gear,second hand,if anyone knows anyone or anything going,please let me know.Know nothing about it so need a bit of tuition too lol

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