Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Crossbill Versus Pine Cone!

These days when I take Rex for his walk in Trinity Hill Woods ( and I do that a lot because it's sheltered and unmuddy) I always carry my scope and camera 'just in case'. Usually it doesn't see any action, but not today. I couldn't hear any Crossbills in the usual spot but I'd just got an inkling that they were very near, I could sense their presence (don't ask me how). Then I spotted a cone falling from a tree. Gotcha! A sure fire givaway sign that is. There were three of them, two gorgeous males and a female and I'm pleased to say that for a change the best views I got were of a male. I got a nice  series of photos of him doing what he does best, showing a pine cone who's boss!
First eye up your victim, then...
Deploy (not so secret) weapon, and...
...Tuck in! 
 Don't forget to discard seed wings to attract passing birders.
Look closely at this one.
The specialised bill in action. 
The cone is prized open and the bird retrieves the seed with its tongue. You can see the tongue in this photo probing between the scales of the cone, it's incredibly vivid red.
Something I've never seen before! What brilliant birds! :-)
Detail from above photo showing tongue more clearly.


Wilma said...

Very cool! Great shots.

Gavin Haig said...

Cracking photos, Karen. You certainly are the Crossbill Queen :o)

JRandSue said...

Well captured,outstanding shots.

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks folks, I'm very pleased with them, well worth the neck-ache! ;-)