Today my aim was to mop up some year ticks and maybe add a lifer. before Xmas me and my mate went up to Nottinghamshire and really enjoyed the Parrot Crossbills and as they were still present it would be brilliant to get them for 2014. There was also a Firecrest nearby and those bloody Two-barred Crossbills were still present north of Sheffield.
At 07.00 I picked up my mate and we headed for Budby Common to catch up on the Parrot Crossbills. When we arrived we definitely were not alone but there was no sign of the birds. Half an hour went by when a chap walked past us and said the birds were visiting more trees about half a mile up the path the previous day. It was worth a look and soon we joined a handful of people watching the Parrot Crossbills. Soon word got around and we were soon joined by about 100 other birders. A Woodcock was also a bonus here.
Whilst waiting for the crossbills news came through of some Hawfinch around the car park at Rufford. It was a few minutes down the road so we headed there. An hour of looking produced nothing but we did meet an amazing chap whose website is definitely worth a look and I will be adding it to my blog list. Please look at nottighamwildlife.com. His photographs are absolutely stunning.
This was the third time I had been to see these birds and when we arrived it was not looking good, many birders in conversation rather than looking through bins. After a while I suggested we go for a walk and when we walked around a corner eight birders were watching something, five TWO-BARRED CROSSBILLS feeding high in the trees, bingo. At last and thses birds were cracking. They hung around for a few minutes before flying off and not relocated for the next 30 minutes.
More Hawfinch had been reported from this site so we decided to head here and spend the rest of the day looking for Hawfinch. None were located but I did add Mandarin Duck and Willow Tit to my year list.
A great day out and I wonder when I will see Parrot and Two-barred Crossbills on the same day again? Probably never.