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Flock of Crossbills (1 Viewer)


Well-known member
Yesterday I went to the nearby barrier island (Massachusetts coast) to walk my dogs and brought the 10x42 EDG. Had some satisfying views of osprey over the marsh, hundreds of scoters in the surf and some long-tail ducks. I sat on a beach log and rested my elbows on my knees watching the scoters swimming & diving amongst the 6-foot breaking waves. With the steadiness of my knee-bracing I could actually see through the waves and watch scoters swim down into them. They're such good swimmers they don't care if the wave breaks on top of them. That's where the fish are. It's effortless for them, a lot more arduous for me to be body-surfing them and getting pounded!

As I returned to the parking lot, I saw an acrobatic flock of small birds and assumed it was snow buntings. They wheeled around and landed a pine tree, beautifully spotlighted by the low January sun, and I managed to get my binos on them. It was 15+ white-winged crossbills! Amazing sighting for me, the best of the last couple months, I'd never see one before.

At first I thought they were all white-winged. I could only get a clean view of the half-dozen at the top of the tree, the others were lower down and partially obscured by branches. When I got home I checked out pictures in my Field Guide, I think the flock was actually a mixture of white-winged and red Crossbills. They launched and flew up the beach before I could sort it out. Going back today with hopes of catching them again!

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