[CT Birds] [MASSBIRD] Wellfleet crossbills

B Inskeep binskeep at optonline.net
Wed Dec 12 06:56:46 EST 2012

I'm not sure if anyone reported these to the list although I entered data into ebird - we (Tom Fiore and myself) observed 45 Red and 8 White-winged Crossbills at Hammonasset at the West Beach parking lot on Saturday 12/8 around 12:30 pm. We hung around the area for an hour or so, enjoying this occurrence. The White-winged were often feeding on the ground at close range and the Reds mainly on cones in the trees but were also very approachable for excellent views. This was a first for me seeing both species at once and with such good views. In the mix were also many Red-breasted Nuthatches.

Brenda Inskeep

On Dec 12, 2012, at 5:31 AM, Tina and Peter Green <petermgreen at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Here's some info to think about pertinent to the crossbill numbers we've been seeing in CT. Can anyone supply data for CT?
> Tina Green
> Westport
> Sent from my iPhone
> Begin forwarded message:
>> From: Blair Nikula <odenews at odenews.org>
>> Date: December 11, 2012, 9:42:37 PM EST
>> To: Massbird <Massbird at world.std.com>, "capecodbirds at yahoogroups.com" <capecodbirds at yahoogroups.com>
>> Subject: [MASSBIRD] Wellfleet crossbills
>> Reply-To: Blair Nikula <odenews at odenews.org>
>> This is a belated post, but I, too, found lots of crossbills in Wellfleet on Sunday (12/9).  There were at least 150 White-wingeds at Indian Neck, mostly foraging in, and on the ground around, the Japanese black pines.  I could find no Reds here and only a single Common Redpoll.  Later, at the Marconi site, mostly in the vicinity of the park headquarters building, I saw another 125+ White-wingeds, 4 Reds, and 175+ redpolls (one flock of 100+).  Unfortunately, most of the redpolls were seen in flight only, so I didn't have much opportunity to look for potential Hoaries.
>> There seems to have been significant influx of crossbills, at least here on the Cape, over the past week or so (and redpolls too). Though there were good numbers around earlier, they seem to be just about everywhere now.  I've been to Indian Neck a couple of times previously over the past month, specifically looking for crossbills, without finding a single one.  And ditto Marconi.
>> This crossbill flight is of historical proportions - unprecedented in my 40+ years of birding.  To put in in some perspective, the high count for White-winged Crossbill on the Cape Cod CBC (going back to 1930!) was 204 birds in 1963; the second highest count was just 12 birds!  And the species has been recorded only 10 times in the 80 years.  Red Crossbills have been somewhat more numerous, at least historically, having been recorded 17 times with a high count of 479 birds (also in 1963).  However, the last time a Red was recorded on the Cape Cod CBC was in 1977!
>> So, it's unlikely most of us will ever see anything like this again in our lifetimes.  And don't assume these birds will be around all winter.  They may be, but that's far from guaranteed.  Most of the many siskins that were around a month or two ago have moved on (at least here on the Cape), as have the much smaller numbers of Evening Grosbeaks.  So make the most of it while it lasts.
>> Blair Nikula
>> -- 
>> 2 Gilbert Lane
>> Harwich Port, MA  02646
>> http://www.odenews.org/
>> http://www.capecodbirds.org/
>> You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus - Mark Twain
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