News of a group of up to 12 Parrot Crossbills at Holt over the last few weeks and the forecast of a sunny day had me travelling to Holt Country Park this morning. I haven't twitched for a while, preferring the quiet of normal birding, but I did have a desire to see something more unusual. I felt that as the birds had been around a fair while and it being a weekday I would turn up and have to find them myself, a challenge I was looking forward to.
Well I turned up to a near full car park and some 70 or so birdspotters all looking directly up into the top of some Larch trees. No surprises what they were looking at, but I had been warned that Common Crossbills were also present and caution was required. I made my way to "the spot" and before I could get my tripod up I was offered views through two other people's 'scopes. Now this really was very kind of them as they genuinely wanted me/any new arrival to see the bird quickly first, in case it flew off. It was extremely kind, but somehow the whole experience just lacked what I was looking for, not the Parrot Crossbill of which there were at least three, just how it all happened. I only have myself to blame for going I guess, and to be fair I too was a part of the group.
I managed a few snaps but the birds were quite far off at the top of the tree and all the prime spots were taken with massive lenses and the machine gun fire of shutters. I hung back and took a few pics. Then to the sound of bleeping pagers and tales of far distant birds seen on overseas trips as people chatted while leaving, I left.
Snow Buntings, but to no avail. The ever present Turnstones by the car park did however oblige.