Friday, December 07, 2012

Crossbills

Yesterday was a crisp, clear, bright day - a marvelous day for birding and wonderful light for photography. I drove to the Massachusetts shore. Crossbills were being reported in the campground at Salisbury Beach.

The cone-laden pine trees hosted flocks of White-winged Crossbills and Red Crossbills, the most concentrated winter irruption of these boreal species that I have seen. Here is an early sampling. I'll post additional photos soon.

White-winged Crossbill (male)

Red Crossbill (female and male)
 Crossbills usually travel in single species flock (Sibley), but there was a mixed flock (or two separate flocks which decided to forage in the same trees), as seen in this photo ...

White-winged Crossbill (l) and Red Crossbill (r)
Red-breasted Nuthatches were clearly another irruptive boreal species, with numbers almost rivaling the crossbills ...

Red-breasted Nuthatch
 As I stood with two other birders was watching the crossbills feeding, my binoculars picked up a Common Redpoll. I casually named the bird. A few moments later, one of the birders said, "Thank you. That's a life bird." It is always gratifying to help others add to their observations.

Common Redpoll
 In the estuary near the campground, Bonaparte's Gull provided an accesible display of their tern-like hovering ...

Bonaparte's Gull
At Plum Island, a scan of the ocean produced a rare Western Grebe, plus Horned Grebe, Common and Red-throated Loon, Razorbills, Surf and Black Scoters, Common Eider, and Red-breasted Merganser, all fairly close to shore but too distant for photography. At the waters edge was a flock of Sanderling and Dunlin ...

Sandering (l) and Dunlin (r)
A day of Good Birding!!

2 comments:

Terry said...

Quite a successful day of birding. I'm hoping to see some Crossbill's here this year. (Mi.) The Higgins Lake State Park has a lot of pines and cones. We already have the Red Breated Nuthatches. Great photos.

KaHolly said...

You were able to capture some absolutely great photos!! Enjoyed my scroll. Thanks for sharing your day of birding.

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