Thursday, 30 November 2017


30 Nov - Another beautiful crisp sunny winter morning with a cold north wind. I headed to Wishmoor in Berks, part of the military heathland near Sandhurst, a surprisingly open area in densely populated SE England. After a wait of an hour or so, and after a couple of single flyover birds, the Parrot Crossbill flock that has been here for the last few days appeared and circled calling, then landed in the pines. Impressive birds with very chunky bills and thickset necks, even more so in superb light. Very good views of red males, and green immatures/females, feeding in the pines, and flying down to bathe. Well worth the trip. Also around the heath 3-4 Dartford Warblers and several Stonechats, and a Woodcock flushed early morning. A short trip out late afternoon gave good views of a hunting Short-eared Owl, which emerged before sunset and in good light, always exciting to see these fantastic, charismatic birds. The hedgerows here were full of hungry Fieldfares and Redwings, though getting photos clear of twigs and branches was more of a challenge. A good day all round, and fantastic weather and winter sunlight.

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