Monday, 22 July 2013

Three times two!

Yesterday I headed to Norfolk with Oliver Simms and Ian for a day's birding, with the primary hope that one of the Two-barred Crossbills from yesterday would be pinned down, or another would be found. As we approached the Norfolk coast, news of a probable briefly at Lynford in the Thetford Forest wasn't enough to get us to change direction. We instead decided to spend some time at Titchwell and see what happened from there. Titchwell was enjoyable, with a few passage waders. An adult Little Stint was the highlight while I was impressed by the number of Avocets. We also saw three Spoonbills, two Common Sandpipers, two Whimbrel, quite a few Bar-tailed Godwits and Knots, three Spotted Redshanks and at least five immature Little Gulls. Next, we stopped off for and were successful with Montagu's Harrier.
Little Gulls

Mid-afternoon we decided we didn't have time to check the pine-littered coastal sites that we had hoped to, and headed home quite content with a pleasant few hours' birding. As we were driving through the Thetford Forest, the pager went off with the breaking rarity tone and Ian checked it to see that a juvenile Two-barred Crossbill had been confirmed and was showing just a few minutes ago at Lynford! We were only fifteen minutes away and found the site without too much trouble, getting on a juvenile TWO-BARRED CROSSBILL straight away! We enjoyed good views of this bird but soon another juvenile appeared, the two feeding side-by-side. This was pretty incredible stuff (especially as the arboretum is so far inland) so we couldn't quite believe it when a rather prim female then appeared (although briefly). Cracking stuff, and nice to see a decent-sized flock of Common Crossbills there, too. My fifteenth lifer of the year and mission of the day accomplished!

female Two-barred Crossbill
One of the juvenile Two-barred Crossbills
Another Two-barred Crossbill