Thursday, 19 February 2015

Many wing bars

Today (Wednesday) was our last day in the mountains and whilst the girls enjoyed a final ski I enjoyed sunny and warm conditions with much less wind than yesterday. Crossbills were obvious today and there were lots of 2BCs! I saw at least 3 pairs and they were singing and courtship feeding so it looks like they will at least attempt to breed here which will be one of only a handful of breeding records ever recorded in the Norwegian bird record database. I had an equal number of Common Crossbills and they were also in pairs. There is a very heavy crop of cones on the spruce trees and the spruce forests extend as far as the eye can see so there is likely to be a very large number of crossbills breeding in this area.

I had both male and female 2BCs singing which is not mentioned in BWP although it is mentioned for Common Crossbill. This time use of playback did result in one pair coming to investigate but does not seem to be a particularly useful method for locating this species. I located most of the birds walking slowly around the area and listening for them as they were quite vocal and by the end of the morning I had become proficient in separating Common and Two-barred on their normal (non trumpet) call. They are a pretty confiding species although due to the deep snow I was reliant on them being close to the road and on the right side of the tree of which eventually both a male and a female (although from different pairs) eventually obliged.

On the way home we stopped at a fjord where I had been told there were a pair of Mandarins and sure enough they were there among 60 or so Mallards. It was quite a barren fjord and not so easy to understand what was keeping them here.

male 2BC in the sun

female 2BC
courtship feeding

male in profile
curious female
both crossbills and Waxwings have barbed tongues which must come in useful when feeding


male Common and Two barred Crossbills. Even when the wing bars are not on show the difference in the red colour allows them to be separated

male Mandarin



  1. Excelentes fotografías Rixy, me ha gustado mucho tu blog y me hago seguidor. Saludos cordiales desde España.