The Crossbill influx, October 2017

On 27th October 2017, Shaun Gelling alerted Neil Morris to a flock of some 100 Crossbills in South Barrule Plantation, Isle of Man. As there was open public access to the site at the time, the news was released.

Many of the birds concerned were noticeably stout-billed and several showed obvious, though narrow, white tips to the median coverts, greater coverts and tertials.

Two-barred Crossbill

Of the birds reported and described so far, none have shown the thick white fringes or other features diagnostic of Two-barred Crossbill. Hence, to date, these birds are considered to be within the normal variation of Common Crossbill. For example, see image 1.

Parrot Crossbills

Brian Liggins obtained some excellent photographs of one or two birds which appear to show characters of Parrot Crossbill. See images 11 and 14. The identification of large-billed Crossbills is not straightforward. It is hoped that further images as well as sound recordings can be obtained which will clinch beyond any doubt the identification of the birds concerned.

Scottish Crossbill

As well as Parrot Crossbill, there has been some discussion that Scottish Crossbill might also be involved in the influx, though this will be impossible to prove without sound recordings.

Please send in your Crossbill images

Below is a series of images showing, for purposes of comparison, different birds photographed over the period.

We await further images and encourage everyone who has photographed Crossbills this autumn on the Isle of Man to send them in so we can add them below for further comparison.

Site closure

We regret to advise that the site is now closed to the public from Monday 13 November to at least Friday 17 November 2017.

(Click on images to expand)


Image 1
Common Crossbill 27 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Common Crossbill 27 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Image 2
Common Crossbill 27 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Common Crossbill 27 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Image 3
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Image 4
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Image 5
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Image 6
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Image 7
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Common Crossbill 29 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Image 8
Common Crossbill 30 Oct 2017 John Donnelly)
Common Crossbill 30 Oct 2017 (John Donnelly)
Image 9
Common Crossbill 30 Oct 2017 John Donnelly)
Common Crossbill 30 Oct 2017 (John Donnelly)
Image 10
Common Crossbill 30 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Common Crossbill 30 Oct 2017 (Peter Christian)
Image 11
Putative Parrot Crossbill 04 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Putative Parrot Crossbill 04 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Image 12
Common Crossbill 04 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Common Crossbill 04 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Image 13
Common Crossbill 04 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Common Crossbill 04 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Image 14
Putative Parrot Crossbill 04 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Putative Parrot Crossbill 04 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Image 15
Common Crossbill 08 Nov 2017 (John Donnelly)
Common Crossbill 08 Nov 2017 (John Donnelly)
Image 16
Common Crossbill 08 Nov 2017 (John Donnelly)
Common Crossbill 08 Nov 2017 (John Donnelly)
Image 17
Common Crossbill 08 Nov 2017 (John Donnelly)
Common Crossbill 08 Nov 2017 (John Donnelly)
Image 18
Common Crossbill 08 Nov 2017 (John Donnelly)
Common Crossbill 08 Nov 2017 (John Donnelly)
Image 19
Common Crossbill 10 Nov 2017 (Peter Christian)
Common Crossbill 10 Nov 2017 (Peter Christian)
Image 20
Common Crossbill 10 Nov 2017 (Peter Christian)
Common Crossbill 10 Nov 2017 (Peter Christian)
Image 21
Common Crossbill 10 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)
Common Crossbill 10 Nov 2017 (Brian Liggins)