Monday, 14 October 2013

Seaside Parrot Crossbills

Southend scored the first autumn arrival in the UK of a potential invasion of these Russian monsters with oversize mandibles!

When news reached me that the four Parrot Crossbills were still at Gunners Park I was eager to check them out, but with the rain continuing to come down in sheets, I patiently held off my visit until the afternoon - thinking these birds are going no where fast in this filthy weather.

My patience was rewarded when arriving early afternoon in the dry, at a much changed Gunners Park - where did that housing estate spring from? All four birds were devouring pine cones in one small evergreen tree close to the seawall, with the two male and two female (one female, one 1st year/Juv - I reviewed all my images again) birds, all oblivious at the ever increasing crowd of birders which continued to grow and encircle the small pine tree in the brightening weather.

With such close and good views of that sizeable bill, for which the upper mandible looked particularly thick and heavy, it was a pleasure to observe the birds feed - making very light work of the fresh green pine cones. Whilst there I also got to hear that deep 'chup' 'chup' call as two of the birds briefly took flight around the pine tree.

Gunners Park, Southend, Essex, Female

Gunners Park, Southend, Essex, Male

Gunners Park, Southend, Essex, Male

Gunners Park, Southend, Essex, Male

I hope it's not the last time I get to see these birds this winter and the predicted 'invasion' comes to fruition, as they truly are value for money.

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