Confiding Crossbills.

28th January 2015
It's been exceptionally quiet locally on the bird front this autumn and early winter. However, the weather is very benign for the time of year and that is a bonus for our wildlife. It was a reasonable day yesterday so we headed over to the Forest of Dean for a few hours just for a change of scenery. There were about fifteen Hawfinches flying around the tree tops for most of the time we were there but they remained, as usual, very shy.
If I lived over there I would find a quiet location away from people walking, where I could lay some seed down for a period of time and get the Hawfinches coming in to feed. Then once the area is established as a feeding zone, just get under cover before dawn one morning and reap your rewards. However, this is not really practical when you have to drive fifty miles each way to do this. I have achieved it once, but I fear it would be more hit than miss, I mean if you are living locally and you get disturbed it's not too bad, but after travelling all that way disturbance is a real pain. I'm afraid that's the way it will have to be, my only hope is if I find somewhere which they frequent on a regular basis for wild food, then I would take a chance for a couple of mornings.

Moving on; outside Parkend church, in the forest, there were a flock of Crossbills collecting grit up on the church roof presumably to aid their digestion, then they were subsequently coming down to drink in some roadside puddles. They were very confiding and allowed observation at quite close quarters, unfortunately the situation was not very photogenic. Nevertheless, it was very nice to see them up so close and I was able to sit on a small stool in between two cars and take a few shots. There was quite a lot of disturbance from cars and people so there was not much opportunity for any decent images.
Please see UK Birds, Crossbills.