View Full Version : Crossbill Irruption

Wednesday 29th June 2005, 11:45

Wednesday 29th June 2005, 12:54
In the Netherlands, two weeks ago there were a few days with very strong (westward) migration, which made everyone wary of a possible irruption, but now only small groups are reported. Spring was cold here, so maybe they managed to raise their chicks for a change… and since we just witnessed a heatwave, the availability of food could have collapsed.

Wednesday 29th June 2005, 15:43
It would be good if there was an irruption. I only saw one on my local patch last year in Perthshire.

Wednesday 29th June 2005, 17:32
The ones I saw recently were in spruce I'm afraid!

Wednesday 29th June 2005, 19:11
Had a flock of about 30 (probably) Common fly in to pines from over Slochd Summit on the A9 today....certainly looked as if these birds may have been moving in to the area. Also several similar sized flocks have appeared in recent weeks around the Grantown area, certainly a noticable increase in the presence of birds here. My thoughts too that there does seem to be a small irruption happening.


Wednesday 29th June 2005, 22:10
I agree breeding does seem to have been good this year......plenty of juveniles about. Watched a nice family of Parrots the other day. A friend told me of an interesting recent sighting..........a "large-billed" bird apparently paired with what appeared to be a Common (and he's a fairly experienced Crossbill observer too, living in Abernethy forest most of his life). That could throw a really big spanner in the works, pity the record remains uncorroborated ;)


Thursday 30th June 2005, 11:51
Hi folks, and greetings from a former Scottish crossbill enthusiast. I'm still an enthusiast, just not in Scotland anymore. I haven't seen any crossbills recently myself and a check of a few relevant websites doesn't show any indications of an irruption in this part of the world. There has been a scatter of records of Common Crossbill in Denmark over the past month or so, often at migration watchpoints, but if anything the numbers involved are lower than last year, and the birds involved have been migrating east or north rather than west. Over in Sweden there have been no crossbills recorded at Falsterbo for at least the last month which again is a pretty good indication that they are not irrupting from this part of the world.



Thursday 30th June 2005, 12:37
Try Devilla Forest near Dunfermline. There have been accepted Scottish Crossbills there - if you believe it ! ?

Black Wood of Rannoch has had Scotbills as well in recent times.


I read about it the 2003 bird report. Do you believe the record to be true? I am quite open minded and if it has gone through the local record committee that is good enough for me.

The Lomond hills are also quite good around here.

Thursday 30th June 2005, 16:37
Joe Jordan hide is the westernmost hide at birding hotspot Holkham, N Norfolk.

Thursday 30th June 2005, 16:38
Had 2 Crossbills on my fenland local patch just recently, flying over.

Friday 1st July 2005, 04:34
Generally we have a good movements of Crossbills in the end of July and especially in August. Then we can see a good number of Two-barred Crossbills. Normally this movement comes from NE > SE. I have not heard about the opposite movement.
Now we see only a local flocks, where are juvenile and adult birds together.

Tuesday 5th July 2005, 14:58
I think I saw it on SOC website - about decisions on Scottish Rarities ?

It is possible, though without morphometrics or acoustic data I would not "call" it ! I don't know if these were supplied ?

I grew up in Glenrothes so I know exactly what you mean about the Lomonds ! I think they are sporadic there though, and only Common ?


Yes only common. During the last invasion there was a big party feeding along the road down to shell bay.

I have very little experience of Scottish Crossbill. I would'nt like to call one in Fife! I saw Parrot Crossbill for the first time recently in Finland. They're belters!

Tuesday 5th July 2005, 19:45
Had a family group out here today 1m 1 f and 3 juv's,(North Sea)
As usual no fear at all ,had to step over the juv's on the deck.

Wednesday 6th July 2005, 18:59
Presumably immigrants.

Thursday 7th July 2005, 13:46
The ones on the offshore platform are most likely incoming.

The ones in England possibly - there seems to be sporadic sightings reported popping up all over the South of England just now ! Could be birds that have bred there and are forming Winter flocks or it could be birds from the continent arriving. More likely the latter but I can't say without breeding records.

I notice some observers are saying they are in Larches - if so Larch cones are still green and ripening ( at least they are up here ) and it may suggest they are feeding on this in the absence of other stuff - Spruce, Pine. Without knowing the area I can't honestly say.

I have seen birds in Deeside feeding on ripening Larch ( in July last year ) and my tentative feeling was that they were a flock of immigrants, inc. juvs, proliferating Westwards up the Dee Valley. Later data with calls and dispersal patterns seemed to confirm this, though the interpretation is subjective ( as always with xbills !).

Keep your eyes ( and ears ) peeled down South just now !


Hi Lindsay,

You are right in that Crossbills are turning up in the SE. There is a mobile flock of ten plus in Black Park, Bucks, in larches. These are the first ones in the park since 2003 (that I know of!). There have also been a number of sightings in Berks and Oxon where none have been reported since 2003 as well.



Friday 8th July 2005, 12:50
About 10 Crossbills here in Merseyside yesterday, in the Knowsley / Prescot area. This is not too unusual at this time of year, in fact looking at our database, 9 out of the 17 records for St Helens have been in July or early August. I don't know of any local breeding areas, the nearest regular breeding site is probably Wales.


Friday 8th July 2005, 23:40
This evening Durham City
14 left a small scots pine plantation & continued west over farmland calling

Heard there again on sunday

50+ a fortnight ago at Black Banks, Wolsingham, Co.Durham

Saturday 9th July 2005, 12:16
Thanks guys,

It sounds like they are indeed coming in from the East and heading Westwards which is typical. Have had some other info PM'd to me which does seem to confirm Common Crossbill movements - how big it will be we will need to wait and see ! Possibility of Parrots too so keep that in mind. These not only look sturdier in the mandibles but in flight they also appear much "heavier" and bigger, at least to my eyes the do ! Certainly the resident Scottish ones are.


July update..sent to me from birdtrack

Dear BirdTrack Recorder

Crossbills have also been turning up in small flocks across Britain and these may well originate from Scandinavia. When high numbers coincide with a failure in food supply over a wide area, such as in 1990, large numbers of Crossbills move south and west in search of food. In 1990, records spanned May to September and the largest numbers were in late July and August. The midwinter estimates were half a million in Scotland and 40,000 in Kielder Forest (Borders)! Listen out for their 'kip-kip' flight call.

sylvia staffs
Saturday 9th July 2005, 12:22
Hello everyone

A male Two barred Crosbill has been reported on the pager this morning at Atherstone in Warwickshire (very close to the Staffs Border!!!) with 40 common Crossbills


Saturday 9th July 2005, 13:42
Looking at the most recent Danish records over the last week or so there has been a small but noticeable increase in the numbers recorded. Still not big numbers, with the largest flock recorded being 30 birds, but this time most of the birds have been migrating somehere between south and west in direction, so they could end-up in the UK.

By the way Lindsay, I agree with you about identifying Parrot Crossbill in flight. To my eyes they appear obviously big-headed.



Adey Baker
Saturday 9th July 2005, 14:20
Hello everyone

A male Two barred Crosbill has been reported on the pager this morning at Atherstone in Warwickshire (very close to the Staffs Border!!!) with 40 common Crossbills


This was, apparently, 'reported' at about 9:30am this morning but there don't seem to be any reports since then. Didn't I see a reference somewhere to a Common Crossbill at this site with white wing-bars?

Might have to pop over and have a look if there are no definite follow-up reports.

Saturday 9th July 2005, 16:55
Yep indeed, RBA reported that there was a white wingbarred Common knocking around in there; as many will probably know its a fairly regular feature amongst the species.

Adey Baker
Saturday 9th July 2005, 17:07
...but a two-barred is also a possibility.


Not round these parts, it isn't ;) We never seem to get any BB rarities, locally!

Steve Lister
Sunday 10th July 2005, 10:38
Flock of 65 Crossbills in a private Leics wood yesterday, same place where I saw 30 a month ago.


James Lowther
Monday 11th July 2005, 08:42
Saw about 20 in woods nr Dulverton, Exmoor at the wknd.

Monday 11th July 2005, 10:18
Thanks for those guys - still some records on Birdguides coming in to but interestingly none from up here yet ex. Fair isle !

Should have said above, incoming Parrot Crossbills probably more likely in Autumn/early Winter.


Steve Lister
Tuesday 12th July 2005, 09:20
Heard what sounded like a big flock in larch plantations in Belvoir area, NE Leicestershire, yesterday and a flock of 24 was reported on Bardon Hill, NW Leics, on Saturday. Flocks of 14 and 15 were seen at Rutland Water early last week.
By Leics/Rutland standards this is a large influx.


Wednesday 13th July 2005, 12:19
Another 9 out here today 5ad 4 juv's