Monday, 8 July 2019

8th July 2019 Unst NW2 Overcast

We briefly saw a Chiffchaff in our garden early this morning being another sure sign of post-breeding dispersal. A seawatch from Lamba Ness was uneventful apart from 2 Red-throated Divers flying north. Skaw proved birdless so I headed home and commenced mowing the lawn whilst Brenda was painting an external wall. On carrying cuttings to our manure heap I heard 'chip chip chip' and saw 3 Crossbills approaching from the northeast. I called to Brenda as the Crossbills half-circled over our house when one landed in our rosa regosa and immediately started trumpeting! I exclaimed 'Two-barred', dropped the cuttings mid-lawn, squeezed past the ladder but saw the two accompanying Crossbills continue southwest. Indoors, I quickly grabbed my camera, headed back out and much to my surprise and relief the female Two-barred Crossbill was still sat atop our rosa trumpeting! It appeared to be attempting to call the other two Crossbills back as it kept constantly calling for c.3 minutes before falling silent and began feeding on small caterpillars around the rose flowers. After a few minutes it stopped feeding and just sat quietly perched on a single twig for around an hour before it recommenced feeding. Steve and Sue Gantlett arrived and successfully saw and photographed it before it flew off towards Norwick beach. Brydon and Conrad were arriving home and 5pm so we decided to team-up and check some more sites. At the School pines, a brief burst of playback, and a stunning male Two-barred Crossbill flew up to the treetops calling - brilliant!

First-summer female Two-barred Crossbill at Millfield
with a link to a sound recording of it trumpeting here

Steve Gantlett at Millfield

Adult male Two-barred Crossbill at Baltasound School