Saturday, September 8, 2012

Another Life Bird-Red Crossbill!

After striking out on the Black Vulture in Millbury again this morning, I decided to head home given the fact that all of my local bird spots were quiet so figured I'd go home and do my cooking for the week as well as  cleaning and then head out to Barre in the late afternoon hoping to get one of the Black Vultures heading to their night time roosting spot.  The lasagna would be cooling, the sausage cacciatore simmering and I'd be washing my kitchen floor when I'd hear a Swainson's Thrush calling from the computer room which could only mean one thing, an incoming call as that's my ring tone!  My caller ID would ID the caller as Kevin and that too could only mean one thing, A COOL FRICKIN BIRD!  And sure enough Kevin would tell me he had a large flock of Red Crossbills on Coldbrook Road at Rutland State Park and he'd give me the specifics and I'd thank him, hang up and call Alan making sure he was aware of the find too as that would be a life bird for him as well.  Alan sounded tired as he was bush whacking in some Stinging Nettle earlier in the morning, but he too wanted the bird and after a few wasted minutes of wondering if I should just meet him up there with my car as I needed to be in that area for the BV anyhow, we soon realized we'd be better off joining forces as he thought the spot Kevin had it was at one area of Coldbrook and I thought the other so if we went together we'd hit both spots and get the bird!

Anyhow, we'd get there and it wouldn't take long to hear quite a few Red-breasted Nuthatch's nearby which was music to my ears given my fascination with their numbers this year and needless to say we had 12 of these birds in less than a quarter mile radius which is pretty darn impressive if I do say so myself!  Sigh, such classy looking birds.

We'd be to the area Kevin told us he got them and all we heard at first were the nuthatch's so got back in the car figuring they were travelling along Coldbrook road so figured we'd get lucky and meet up with them along the way but would decide to turn around about a mile or so as we weren't getting any birds at all so headed back.  It would be then we'd hear the chatter call of the Red Crossbills and see a couple of them land in some high pine trees which made getting photos and good looks at them close to impossible!

As you can see in the photo above.  It would be then I'd realize how much easier it is to bird for hawks, gulls, shorebirds, ducks, etc as passerine birding can be a literal pain in the neck and I'd be feeling it at this point considering I hadn't exercised my neck muscles all that much since spring migration and frankly they were out of shape! ;-)  Soon enough we'd hear their flight call and see about 12 of them in a tight flock heading toward the area Kevin had them originally so we headed back hoping they were there.

And after hearing the Red-breasted Nuthatches again it wouldn't take us long to hear the crossbills and they'd land close by and in a BARE TREE much to our delight.

All the photos are lousy but love them just the same and I believe the shot above gives you a little look at the crossbill these birds are known for.

And this one where you can see the male on the upper left of the picture.

Best picture I got color wise of a female.

Another lousy shot but love it as it shows that short, notched tail that almost seems to short for this birds chunky body!!

All I can say is this bird species is swoon worthy.  I remember the first year I started birding and shorebirds, gulls, etc were never a thought as I was captivated by small songbirds with boreal birds being my biggest fascination given the fact I got into birding in November and the Pine Siskins were out in full force so spent many nights with my Peterson guide oohing and aahing over all of the beauties.  The crossbills in particular transfixed me with their odd shaped bills and pretty colors so it was a treat to add another northern finch to my modest but growing list.  I'm really hoping they stick around this winter as it will definitely warm my heart on a cold winters day to see these birds through out the season.

Needless to say, I didn't head back out to Barre myself afterwards for the Black Vulture with the storms we were foretasted to get (in fact, we'd be caught in a down pour in Oakham on the way back home).   I'm now hoping the chance of rain tomorrow morning will keep the vultures in trees first thing in the morning so I can get the Black Vulture closer to home rather than heading out to Barre again as my Millbury life birds are always my favorites!

Take care all.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Glad you finally caught up with some the Red Crossbills...I have been having such good luck with them I'm glad others are seeing them too.


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