I'd been putting off this trip since the New Year, due to the 'bug' and stormy weather but today was the day...... And visit no. 5 to the area (I'd only dipped once!) and hopefully get the TBC's on the 2014 lists? I'd have gone again whatever, we may never get another chance locally!
I arrived mid morning and having walked to the 'log pile' bumped into Pete Nickless who was just leaving; to hear those gut wrenching words.... "Ahh Jim you should have been here two minutes ago - all three just showed amazingly well"! I won't repeat what I said .....
I was just stood there, hoping for lightning to strike twice - when it did less than five minutes later! The now familiar call of TBC rang out amongst a flock of Common Crossbills flying in and landing in the nearby Larches. I think they were well and truly on the list - 26 in this shot!
But on an adjacent Larch, still calling - the three that mattered! The two males are quite distinct - one being much more brightly coloured!
They separated out and (still in record shot mode) here's the three individuals overhead .....Female first.
The stunning bright male I'd photographed on the first and third visits.....
Plus the pale male!
Jim Winsper and his wife were the only other birders there enjoying the moment and it was Jim's wife who alerted me to one of the males (the pale bird sadly) who had dropped down low against the dark woodland background.......
It took a nanosecond to realise much better images were now on the cards!! All pretty similar apart from a simple turn of the head! But these will do nicely?
And then with the bird staying put, I attempted something slightly crazy! I adjusted the ISO from 400 down to 100, used manual focus to avoid the twig clutter and fired off a few cable release shots on live view!
Gloomy light, a shutter speed of 1/40 sec and a plea.....don't you dare move! He didn't :-)
Two-barred Crossbill - what you might call showing well :-)