Norfolk Parrots

Steve Blain
A rare opportunity to go birding in some sunshine this winter meant looking for Parrot Crossbills, but such fantastic views got in the way of doing some digiscoping!

Check out that bird top-left – a bill like a macaw!

It was my first chance to get out in some sunshine for weeks so I headed up to Norfolk.  The flock of Parrot Crossbills at Holt Country Park were the main object of my desires so we headed there first.  We heard them as soon as we got out the car – but they headed off over our heads and away.  That was the last we saw of them!  After a couple of hours we decided to move on.

The divers off Stiffkey were distant, but were in good company with a handful of Long-tailed Ducks, a Slav Grebe, a Black Brant type, and a spanking Med Gull.  Unfortunately none of this stuff was very digiscopable!  As it was now lunchtime we headed back to Holt to try and find the Parrots again.

As we pulled up in the car park we glanced over to the clearfell and could see a group of birders stood in the middle.  A quick look at the bare pine above them and there were crossbills!  Hastily getting the scopes out and zooming in a little revealed their gloriously humongous bills!  We hurried over to the group of birders.

The group of 15 Parrot Crossbills were all teed up on the dead pine and would occasionally drop down to a small puddle to take a sip of water.  Of course I missed them coming down to drink every time as I was too busy actually looking at how huge the bills were.  Some of these birds were approaching ‘Macaw Crossbills’, not merely Parrots!  Sometimes you have to forsake getting images for the pure pleasure watching a bird up-close brings.

Part of the flock of 15 Parrot Crossbills, Holt Country Park, Norfolk, 22nd February 2014. All taken with a Nikon V1, Swarovski ATS 80 HD, and 25-50x zoom eyepiece.

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