Monday, 18 February 2008

Bury Ditches - Crossbill mission

One Shropshire bird which has consistently avoided a close encounter with my lens is the Crossbill. With thoughts turning to a forthcoming 'alpine mission' to Vancouver, this Sunday was possibly my last chance for a County session, especially one in the South!

The car temperature guage indicated -8'C, I had another coffee with the engine running....

A 9.30 clear blue sky arrival and not a dog walker in sight! Nursing a dodgy ankle I gingerly walked up to the hill fort with nothing but Tits and Robins for company. An hour later, I was cursing a wasted journey and heading back down when the sound of Crossbill calling sort of rekindled my enthusiasm!!

Yes...... sat on one of the Larches off the track were a pair of Crossbills, ready for their breakfast cones (even Crossbills deserve a lie in on a day like this!)










Larch cones are obviously the food of choice at the moment and it was fascinating to watch that 'cross bill' prise open the cones and swallow the seed simultaneously casting aside the unwanted debris.















The female, in a squirrel like moment decided to make off with a complete cone - off to the Crossbill larder maybe.







I did say I'd never had a close encounter of the camera kind with Crossbills.... Trouble was, the birds as ever were above. Don't be picky Jim, these will do for now......



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