As I type, it is snowing in Wanstead, although rather pathetically. The media (damn them!) has been building up this apocalyptic snow-storm for about a week now; it stands to reason that it is going to be a complete non-event. Today was very much not a non-event, which makes it an event I suppose. 2012 has continued to surprise with a series of completely unexpected and rather tasty birds. Though I rarely stray off patch, a few weeks ago a short excursion netted a rather smart Spanish Sparrow and a rather nice Dark-eyed Junco. Unseasonal to say the least. So when last week news broke of a Parrot Crossbill in Sussex, followed shortly after by, of all things, a Paddyfield Warbler should be wintering in India, naturally it followed that Bradders would be going for both of them at the weekend. OK, twist my arm then.....
|Who cares what you assign it as? Quality.|
Not to worry, as soon the Crossbill came in and demonstrated to one and all why it had been picked out. The beak was immense, though not monumental - I guess there is a lot of variation - but the bird itself was extremely chunky, noticeably larger than the Common Crossbills it was associating with. Tick, I think. Crossbills are a funny one - I've seen large-billed Crossbills in the Caledonian pine forests, and without much thought bunged them down as Scottish, for no other reason than I felt they were commoner than Parrot, hence I was being conservative. Ahem. In reality, whilst perhaps not approaching the minefield that is Redpoll speciation, they are indistinct enough to probably not be doable in the field, so who knows what I saw. Does Scottish Crossbill travel? Are any large-billed Crossbills away from Abernethy automatically Parrot? Pass. I have no idea. Call it Parrot as that's the one I need, job's a goodun.
|Some Geese. About 3 was the general concensus.|
I have saved the best bit 'til last. On the way back I made Bradders stop at the Basin. It's mostly frozen now, and was crammed with wildfowl. And what was there? Two Wigeon? Three Wigeon? Four? No!! Five Wigeon!! Yes, FIVE Wigeon. That's a flock! Superb stuff!
|A portion of FLOCK|