03/04/2016 Birkdale NR, Southport

Common Crossbill: Third time lucky, a phrase which is too familiar amongst us birders and I've even experienced fourth, fifth and even sixth time lucky!
It was mid March when Patrick Earith and I dipped and again more recently; last weekend on a dank drizzly day with Dawn.
Today started off with that similar sinking feeling, no sign and no sound of any xbills, I even bumped in to some local birders who were waiting at gate 29.
I waited with these guys until I got hungry and decided to go for a wander.
This proved to be a very bad mistake as when I caught up again with these locals they told me I had just missed 31 xbills that came down to drink in the stream next to gate 29.

I was livid with myself.

Once I had composed myself I decided to go back to gate 29 and wait, it was here I bumped in to Eddie Jennings followed by Bill and Ruth Gorton.

Eventually the birds reappeared, they seemed to have come from the golf course pines and were just loafing around in the willows and birch trees in the clearing next to gate29.

Take a look at the awesome bill, these birds were well worth the wait.

The birds showed incredibly well, giving me great diagnostic views, from the females uniform colouration from olive to grayish, with greenish or  yellow chest and rumps. Their wing feathers blackish brown, without wingbars and blackish brown tail.
And the males with their large head and body painted deep brick red to reddish yellow. Wing feathers blackish brown again without wingbars!

These stocky finches have been in the area for ages and well worth a visit and as I was driving home I saw on BirdGuides there is now also a Black Redstart in the area too!