Wing-barred Crossbills

Have been meaning to sift through my photos of last week’s Crossbills for a few days now, and only got around to it last night, spurred on after reading the Loxia Fantastica blog – well worth a read for some informed comment on crossbills in general, and the current wing-barred Crossbills that are cropping up amongst the irruptive hordes here and there at the moment in particular: http://pinemuncher.blogspot.com/

So without further ado, here are some grainy photos of 3 birds that showed faint wing-bars from my flock of 27 Crossbills:

barred bill1

barred bill2

barred bill3

Not pulse-quickening stuff, I grant you – there have been individuals here in Shetland in recent days with much more extensive markings – check out DS’s picture of a male on the Fair Isle Bird Observatory site: http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk/Sightings/2009/Deryk_Shaw/DSCN2648edit.jpg Is it just me or are there more wing-barred individuals amongst this year’s irruption than usual?

On a not entirely unrelated tangent, I’m now kitted out with a super-posh shotgun microphone and digital recording thingy, courtesy of a work colleague who normally uses such things in his recording studio. Inevitably, of my flock of  Crossbills there has been no sign ever since he lent me the equipment. Still, will be out and about in the isles this weekend, so I may yet get a chance to record some and see what call they’re giving. I hear that cat casualties are being collected for deuterium level analysis, so for the sake of the bigger picture we may get some clues in due course where this lot came from.

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