Tuesday, February 3, 2009

White-winged Crossbills! - 02 Feb 2009

This afternoon the sun was still shining at 3 pm. so I took a quick run up to the Tyler Rd. Cemetery to look for the White-winged Crossbills that Jeff Schultz and Chuck Owens found and photographed yesterday. Entering the cemetery at the first road past the Visteon entrance I scanned the spruce trees and listened for any signs of activity. Hearing nothing I drove to the back of the cemetery and scanned the Visteon pond for gulls - finding only Herring and Ring-billed Gulls.

As I drove back toward the middle entrance I noticed a few spruce seeds floating by in the light breeze, and thought that I'd need to see more in order to find any crossbills. But I looked up into the backlit trees lining the entrance and saw a Red-breasted Nuthatch working a batch of cones. It was only then that I saw a bright red male White-winged Crossbill just a few feet away working on its own batch of cones. Opening the roof of the Escape I pointed the D300 and Sigma 400 mm f/5.6 and took a number of frames (~30) of the bird before it moved out into the open. It paused briefly for a few photos before continuing on it way, flying to the opposite side of the tree.

I then pulled out onto Tyler Rd. and watched it, plus a 2nd male, feed approximately 20 feet above me. With the sun now at my back I was able to fire off another few photos (~150 - I love this camera!) of the feeding birds before the two males followed 4 other birds that flushed from the top of the spruce.
All of them flew toward the Visteon entrance, and my attempts to relocate them failed. So after a few more passes w/o any birds, I headed for home. My encounter lasted maybe 5 minutes, but I was thrilled to get a some keeper images of a bird I may never see this far south again!

1 comment:

James said...

Jerry Nice pic's,I was there at 3;23 first photo, at trees on west drive must of had same luck. This was my fourth trip there. I had one pose for my 200 plus pic's.

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