Thursday, 5 December 2013
Parrot Crossbills at Holt, Norfolk
A flock of Parrot Crossbills have been frequenting Holt Country Park in North Norfolk for the past few weeks and I have been toying with the idea of going to see them, but with one thing and another, I just just never got around to it! That changed at the weekend with myself and my friend Chris Orders making the journey on Sunday.
On arrival at the car park there were a few cars, but no Parrot Crossbills. We went for a walk through the woodland to see if we could find the birds, but nothing. On returning to the now much fuller car park there was still no sign, but it was still early, so no time to start worrying. A car then pulled in and we recognised the driver from earlier, he had found the birds a little way off and had come back to tell everyone, very decent of him! We all piled into our cars and raced off to the new site, where the birds were found high in some pine trees where there were seen feeding and even gently feeding each other, very nice. They came a bit lower, hence the picture above and even drank from a puddle by the road and then they flew some distance. The views we had were exceptional and we left having added another 'tick' in our books.
The Parrot Crossbill comes from North and Eastern Europe and is a lot more scarce then the Common Crossbill, but pretty similar in appearance. The Parrot is slightly bigger, with a bigger head, bill and a thicker neck. The large, thick bill is roughly as deep as it is long, giving a more 'blunt' look to the tip. The call is a lot deeper and 'harder' than the Common Crossbill.