Another crossbill conundrum
by Martin G.
This is a rapid fire post. Too much a goin’ on. A rare Arctic Alcid to look for in the morning. Lynford Arboretum in Norfolk had pucka Two-barred Crossbill ’till maybe around mid October. Look like reports since that period have however involved the photo photographed and shown above and below. Came to my attention in twitter post and chat with Jonny Rankin and Dawn Balmer. Previously (as pointed out by Nick Watmough, below) flagged up as peculiar by Graham Clarke on his blog. in early November.
This one wasn’t doesn’t look right, immediately suggesting something that looked intermediate between Common Crossbill and Two-barred Crossbill. Jonny, Rob Wilson, Dawn Balmer, Dave Astins (who all saw the bird in the field) and Keith Betton all engaged in the convo also on Facebook and I don’t think any thought it was a Two barred. It was of interest to me having seen a very similar bird back in the early 1990’s – also at a sight which held a real Two-barred Crossbill, at Bedgebury in Kent. I wrote on note on that bird which was published with Billy Morton sketch in Birding World. Years later I came across a specimen in the British Museum. It looked very much like the Kent bird, and seems similar to this Norfolk male. The specimen (of unknown origin) seemed ‘intermediate in plumage and biometrics between Common and Two-barred. Whether intermediate means just extreme wing-barred Common , or hybrid type, I don’t know. Both I think are possibilities
All those seeing the Lynford bird report only hearing Common Crossbill calls- no tooting :).
Recording of any calls coming definitely from this wing barred bird would be very interesting.
There are more details on the ‘intermediate’ looking specimen above, included in a note in Birding World Vol. 10 no. 2. More on that again I guess.