Tuesday 22nd October 2013
You dont always get a second chance in Birding. If you miss seeing a rare bird you might well have to wait a few years for the next one. Having missed the Parrot Crossbills at Shoeburyness I was very fortunate in only having to wait a few days for another chance. Again I was busy over the weekend so my first opportunity to go for the Parrots in Hemsted Forest near Cranbrook, Kent was Tuesday. With heavy rain forecast for the South East at mid day I needed an early start.The journey down early in the morning was uneventful until I got to Cranbrook itself. Could I find the site, could I 'eck. I lost all sense of direction and kept finding myself back where I started, usually the local Golf course!
Eventually, having lost valuable time I found a group of cars at an entrance to a large clearing in the forest. In the distance were a group of birders on the track in the centre of the clearing. The large square of recently planted trees was surrounded by mature pines and these were the focus of attention of the 10 or so birders already there.
Various species including Crossbills flew over the clearing to disappear beyond the trees. It was nearly an hour before a small group of Crossbills landed and started feeding in a relatively close Pine tree. As the group checked through the birds that were visible it became clear that two birds were definitely Parrot Crossbill. What a relief. Other flocks of Crossbills came and went in other pines around the clearing and it was possible to make comparisons, but despite waiting over an hour there were no further sightings of the Parrot Crossbills. As the rain got heavier it was time to go.