Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Worth the wait.....

05.30 - alarm clock goes off
05.50 - depart the house
07.30 - arrive Lynford Arboretum. Target bird, 2-barred crossbill. Seen frequently over the past month or more and dipped already this year and a lifer for me. Two birders already on site. Lots of siskins and coal-tits in the trees.
08.15 (timings approximate!!). First 3 (common) crossbills appear. More calling overhead.
09.30. Group of around 8-10 birds including at least one male appears and land in the trees. Much excitement. Feed for about 5 minutes in the larches. No 2-bars
Next hour. Small groups overfly but don't land for long. Some excitement as siskin (with wing-bar) misidentified as 2-bar....
11.00. Much more excitement. Pager says 2-bars seen by the bridge 15 minutes ago. However - which bridge???? Small group of 6 of us set off to explore. No other birders around by the nearest bridge, nor any suitable trees. Return in case the 2-bars come back to their favourite spot.
11.45. About 30 birders on site. 7-10 common crossbills appear.
12.00. people start losing interest and volume of conversation goes up as people go back to car park for their sandwiches. Not many birds moving. I strike up a conversation with a local birder who also needs it as a lifer..
13.05. My new best friend goes back to his car for his lunch.
13.08. Bingo. Large flock of 30 or more birds arrives. Mass panic as scopes are trained. "got it" goes up. Typically against the light, top of the tree, hanging down from a branch.
13.09 Get a good 5 seconds view. Enough to clinch the id before it disappears into the branches. Male with outstanding white bars on the wings. Looked redder than common males.
13.10. Other bloke returns from car park in a bit of a hurry with about 5 others in tow. Next 5 minutes lots of false alarms as flock moves  into and out of trees without anyone convincingly getting onto it.
13.15. Good views at last. Everyone gets onto a gorgeous male 2-bar feeding on larches. Stayed for about 5 minutes before flying off with flock. Success after a 6 hour wait but worth it.