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.
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.
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.
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.
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)