Tag Archives: Red Crossbill

Type 2 Red Crossbill in Bucks County, PA

While observing the Allen’s Hummingbird in Babe Webster’s Yard last Thursday, Thanksgiving, I watched and recorded a Red Crossbill call from the tops of different trees throughout the yard. The bird was a lifer for me as I’ve only heard them flying over the Cape Henlopen SP Hawk Watch back at the end of September. I was able to record call as I was taking a video of the Allen’s and the crossbill. Here’s the video:

I sent the video to Matt Young of Cornell, who confirmed the bird as a Type 2 Red Crossbill. Matt is studying Red Crossbills and published an article on eBird earlier this fall. Also, links to more of his publications can be seen over at the ABA Blog. Here’s what Matt had to say about the bird and the spectrogram he sent me:

“Nice find, a Type 2. There have been a few type 2’s in Massachusetts, but no others in the Northeast. Type 2 have been steadily moving eastward though out over the Plains. In the past month I have them confirmed from Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Illinois.”

Type 2 Red Crossbill, Spectrogram from Matt Young

Type 2 Red Crossbills reported to eBird since August 2012.

Matt was discussing the sighting with Doug Gross ,from the PA Game Commission, and it could be the first documented record of a Type 2 Red Crossbill for Pennsylvania!

Type 2 Red Crossbills have been documented to breed across the country, but are more dense in the western portion. Here’s more on the geographic range (source: American Museum of Natural History):

“In the East, breeding by this form has been documented in the southern Appalachian mountains, the state of New York, and the upper peninsula of Michigan. Breeding may also extend to the pine barrens of New Jersey and other coniferous forests along the Atlantic coast. In the Rocky Mountain west, this form is relatively common in conifer forests at all elevations, including foothill areas where other forms are less frequent. In the Pacific Northwest, this crossbill is found mainly on the drier east side of the Cascades, but it also occurs along the Pacific coast of Oregon and California (including San Francisco’s Presidio and Golden Gate Park). It is perhaps the most common crossbill in the Sierra Nevada and other California ranges, as well as the Mogollon Rim of Arizona and various mountains of New Mexico. Type 2 birds are probably frequent in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Occasional crossbills in southern pine forests, from east Texas and Mississippi to the Carolinas, are likely to be of this form.”

Make sure to send any Red Crossbill recordings to Matt Young to confirm the bird or birds to “Type.” After confirmation, enter your sightings to “Type” in eBird! Recordings can be sent to may6 A cornell DOT edu.

Curious about what the other winter finches are up to? Check out the Status of Winter Finch Irruptions in the Northeast!

The video was taken with a Samsung Stratosphere on a Vortex Skyline 80 Spotting Scope using the Phone Skope Universal Adapter set up.

Phone Skope makes custom adapters for any smartphone and spotting scope combination. Be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter.

RBA: Birdline Delaware, November 22nd, 2012

Sharp-shinned Hawk, Photo by Chuck Fullmer

Here is the weekly RBA compiled by Andy Ednie that includes photos of birds mentioned. Thanks for all of the photo contributions! Click on links throughout the post to see the original postings to DE Birds. If you would like to have your photos of birds mentioned below added, feel free to email them to timschreckengost AT gmail DOT com.

* Delaware
* Statewide
* November 22, 2012
* DEST1211.22

Hotline: Birdline Delaware
Date: November 22, 2012
Number: 302-658-2747
To Report: Andy Ednie 302-792-9591 (VOICE)
Compiler: Andy Ednie (ednieap@verizon.net)
Coverage: Delaware, Delmarva Peninsula, nearby Delaware Valley, Southern
New Jersey, Maryland
Transcriber: Andy Ednie (ednieap@verizon.net)

For Thursday, November 22nd, this is the Turkeyline from the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Greenville. The 2012 Delaware state annual list remains at 328 species. Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Although we have no Turkeys to report, there was a sighting of 11 NORTHERN BOBWHITES at Raymond Pool in Bombay Hook.

The previous reported ANNA’S HUMMINGBIRD in Newark continues to be seen this week. That bird is at Diane and Steve Freebery’s house at 257 Delaplane Ave., in Middle Run Manor off Kirkwood Highway. Birders are welcome to come see this bird, walk down the driveway and sit on the back porch for the best viewing. There are two feeders, and the hummer often sits in the vines and rose bushes on the trellis next to the steps.

The year of the Crossbills continues with a small flock of WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in the pinetum at Winterthur Museum in Greenville. Lots of RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES and CEDAR WAXWINGS were also there. A flock of 20 RED CROSSBILLS was seen flying over Ashland Nature Center on Monday, along with a flock of AMERICAN PIPITS. RED CROSSBILL was also seen on the Ashland Hawk Watch on Saturday.

No place in Delaware has had winter flinches like Cape Henlopen State Park. Four EVENING GROSBEAKS were reported flying over on Saturday. Several flocks of PINE SISKINS were also reported. But the best has been the CROSSBILLS; over 100 RED CROSSBILLS were reported at Ft Miles over the weekend. Flocks of 15-20 were seen though the week. More CROSSBILLS were reported at the primitive youth campground near Herring Point. Along with the hordes of RED CROSSBILLS have been the more uncommon WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS. Also reported at the cape this weekend were several CAVE SWALLOWS. Two were seen flying over Ft. Miles and another was seen from the hawk watch.  Also reported was PINE WARBLER, EASTERN PHOEBE and a flock of 75 SNOW BUNTINGS, out at the point.

Red Crossbill, Photo by Chuck Fullmer

Red Crossbill, Photo by Chuck Fullmer

Red Crossbill, Photo by Chuck Fullmer

A female COMMON EIDER was seen off the north jetty at Indian River Inlet on Sunday. BLACK SCOTERS were the most common duck seen there. RUDDY TURNSTONE and a single BONAPARTE’S GULL were also reported. A LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL was found at Silver Lake in Rehoboth Beach, but no CANVASBACKS were seen. Five HOODED MERGANSERS and a WOOD DUCK were found at the ponds at Canal Pointe, along with the previously reported RED-HEADED WOODPECKER. BUFFLEHEAD and RUDDY DUCKS were reported at Bald Eagle creek in Bay Vista. A LINCOLN’S SPARROW was also found there, along with BLACK VULTURES, BALD EAGLES and all three species of NUTHATCH.

LONG-TAILED DUCK, HORNED GREBE, and PURPLE SANDPIPERS were seen from the Cape May-Lewes Ferry this weekend. A LAUGHING GULL still remains at Lewes Beach. COMMON GOLDENEYES were reported at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge along with SNOWY EGRET and LESSER YELLOWLEGS. There is a big flock of SNOW GEESE at the Broadkill Beach impoundments at Prime Hook, including several BLUE GEESE. NORTHERN PINTAIL and RUDDY DUCKS were also seen there.

The first SHORT-EARED OWL of the season was reported along the Port Mahon Road at Little Creek Wildlife Area on Sunday. A PEREGRINE FALCON was also reported there. There were 7 MARBLED GODWITS and a single BLACK-NECKED STILT among the hundreds of AMERICAN AVOCETS at Raymond Pool in Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge this week. Also reported were both SHORT and LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS. AMERICAN BITTERN and BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERONS, along with late FORSTER’S TERNS and SEASIDE SPARROWS were also seen. Waterfowl included TUNDRA SWAN, GREATER SCAUP, NORTHERN SHOVELER and PINTAIL. A BARRED OWL was seen at Finis Woods, along with RUSTY BLACKBIRDS. WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS continue to be seen by the visitor’s center. A pair of AMERICAN WOODCOCKS were found at Blackbird State Forrest.

The flock of BRANT at Battery Park in New Castle has grown to 13 birds this week. Also reported were 2 LESSER SCAUP. A RUBY-CROWNED KINGLET and several NORTHERN FLICKERS were seen at the Gambacorta Marsh near Dobbinsville.

Hoopes’ Reservoir had 200 RING-NECKED DUCKS plus 8 RUDDY DUCKS, and 10 PIED-BILLED GREBES last weekend. There was also 25 HOODED MERGANSERS seen in Carpenter’s Cove off the Rt 82 causeway.

A MUTE SWAN was reported in the duPont’s pond off Pleasant Hill Rd in White Clay Creek State Park near Newark. An AMERICAN PIPIT was found at the Newark Reservoir this week. A late CHIPPING SPARROW was found at Middle Run Nature Preserve along with HERMIT THRUSH and both HAIRY and DOWNY WOODPECKERS. A PILEATED WOODPECKER was seen along the White Clay Creek.

There was a report of a pair of YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKERS eating persimmons in Hockessin. Two SAPSUCKERS were also found in Arden by the Guild Hall. Another SAPSUCKER was reported at Ashland Nature Center. WHITE and RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES were reported coming to feeders in Chapman Woods near Newark and in Bear. Also, at the later location were HAIRY WOODPECKER and PURPLE FINCH, plus BELTED KINGFISHER by the local retention pond.

The hawk watches are winding down, going into their final week. Ashland Hawk Watch recorded a PEREGRINE FALCON on Saturday and a MERLIN on Sunday. Another MERLIN was seen today, going after a TURKEY VULTURE. A good flight of hawks last Saturday produced 35 RED-TAILS, 2 RED-SHOULDERS and a NORTHERN HARRIER. There was also a fly-over COMMON LOON.

The Cape Henlopen Hawk Watch has had only a few SHARP-SHINNS, COOPER’S and RED-TAILED HAWKS this week, plus PEREGRINE and 3 BALD EAGLES on Tuesday. The hawk watch has also been good for waterfowl, including GREATER and LESSER

There has also been a report of a pair of PEREGRINE FALCONS hanging around the water tower near Graylyn Crest in Brandywine Hundred. Let’s see what happens there this spring. BALD EAGLES were reported at both hawk watches today, and at Bombay Hook and Prime Hook. This being Thanksgiving; how do you turn an EAGLE into a TURKEY? Have him play in Philadelphia!

Many thanks to those people that helped put together the Birdline this week including:, Diane and Steve Freebery, Tim Schreckengost, Kar DeGeiso, David Beattie, Bill Stewart, Ian Stewart, Andrew Bogush, Alissa Kegelman, Derek Stoner, Joe Sebastiani, Todd Fellenbaum, Mason Sieges, Jim White, Lynn Smith, Sue Gruver, Al Guarente, Rachael Shapiro, Chuck Brandt, and Frank Meranghi Also, special thanks to our two hawk-counters, Tonya Mommone and Jennifer Ottinger for their excellent work. Please call your reports to me at 302-792-9591 or email to ednieap@verizon.net. Until next time, Happy
Thanksgiving and good eating!!!

-end transcript

To see more of Chuck’s wonderful photos, check out his Flickr Photostream!

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Photo by Chuck Fullmer

Status of Winter Finch Irruptions in the Northeast–October 2012

There are a number of winter finches that are predicted to irrupt into the northeast this fall and winter due to poor cone and seed crops. Red-breasted Nuthatches, Red Crossbills, and Pine Siskins have been reported in decent numbers throughout much of the region already. I will go through the status of each winter finch in the northeast thus far. Click on each map to see the sightings for the entire country and Canada. These sightings are from August through October 2012.

Pine Grosbeaks are supposed to make a decent flight into southern Ontario, but have yet to do so. There are only a few scattered reports in the northeast.

Pine Grosbeak at Rocky Mountain National Park, Photo by Kyle Horton

Pine Grosbeak sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

As predicted, Purple Finches are being reported in good numbers throughout much of the northeast and as far south as North Carolina.

Purple Finch sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Red Crossills are making a nice movement south with birds being reported as far south as Georgia. There are reports in southern Delaware of flyover birds at Cape Henlopen State Park. If possible, take a recording of birds calling or singing and send them to Matt Young at The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (may6 AT cornell DOT edu).

Matt wrote a nice piece on eBird discussing each Type of Red Crossbill and included spectrograms and audio files of flight calls for each type.

*North American Red Crossbill Types: Status and Flight Call Identification

Red Crossbill sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

White-winged Crossbills are not supposed to be irruptive in the northeast this year, but birds may wander into the area. There have been scattered reports throughout the northeast with reports coming from north of New York only.

White-winged Crossbill sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Common Redpolls are predicted to make a southerly appearance, but have yet to do so. Last winter, a decent-sized flock showed up along Lake Erie at Presque Isle State Park at the end of December (2011). It may be a month or two before they start showing up in the northeast.

Common Redpoll at Algonquin Provincial Park, Photo by Kyle Horton

Common Redpoll sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Always check Common Redpoll flocks for the illusive Hoary Redpoll. For confirmation, try taking photographs and detailed field notes for validity. There have been no reports in the northeast yet this fall.

Hoary Redpoll sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

I have been seeing reports of large flocks of Pine Siskins throughout the northeast over the last two weeks. They are predicted to move south, but could irrupt over much of the country due to their opportunistic feeding habits.

Pine Siskin, Photo by Nate Fronk

Pine Siskin sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Evening Grosbeaks, the ABA Bird of the Year, are supposed to make an appearance into the northeast. Birds have been reported in the northeast, but mostly north of Pennsylvania. Keep and eye on your feeders for this gorgeous bird over the next few weeks and throughout the winter.

Evening Grosbeak sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Red-breasted Nuthatches are being reported in every state except for Florida, with higher concentrations coming from north of North Carolina.

Red-breasted Nuthatch, Photo by Nate Fronk

Red-breasted Nuthatch sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Bohemian Waxwings are expected to make a southerly flight this year, but none have showed up in the northeast, yet.

Bohemian Waxwing sightings in the northeast from August to October 2012.

Check out Ron Pittaway’s Winter Finch Forecast for more details and make sure to report all sightings to eBird so you can add to these cool maps!

Red Crossbill Irruption in 2012?

Every year as fall approaches I think to myself, “Will there be an irruptive species this fall/winter and what will it be?”. Well this year we might just have two. Red-breasted Nuthatches are already making their way south in record numbers. Typically a more uncommon winter resident in central Pennsylvania, reports are already popping up throughout the region and even the state.

There has been some speculation that this year may also be an irruptive year for Red Crossbills. Increased reports in both the mid-west and north east give  a pretty clear indication that these birds are definitely moving further south and in larger numbers than usual. These winged nomads may be showing up shortly in search of a cone bearing trees.

The prospect of having a large number of Red Crossbills in Pennsylvania really causes me quite a bit of excitement. I have never found a Red Crossbill in Pennsylvania and would love to add it to my state list and hopefully quite a few counties too.

The range map (generated in eBird) below shows all the reports in 2012 for Red Crossbills, including a lone report on August 25 in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Red Crossbill sightings in 2012 (eBird.org)

Remember to keep an eye and ear out as fall migration approaches. Also remember to submit all birding outings to eBird.org, so that fantastic maps like the ones above can continue to inform us about bird distributions.