I parked in the car park just over the level crossing, where there were several other cars. Checking with some other birders I was given directions into the woods where I found a number of birders peering up into the tops of some fairly distant pine trees.
I had not bothered to bring my scope as I had been told they were showing 'very well', but a scope was definitely required. However I had good views through my bins, and looked through a couple of other peoples scopes. I saw around 10 birds, at one point they all flew around calling which was lovely. After taking a few record shots with my 300mm zoom lens, I returned to the van for lunch intending to go back afterwards with my scope.
I enjoyed my lunch and a chat with a nice couple parked nearby who were very interested in my Bongo. On returning to have another look at the crossbills they had moved off. I had a good walk round but didn't see them again.
|Spot the Bongo|
|The walk back alongside the railway line|
I wanted to check out the St Helens picnic site with a view to overnight parking there next year. There is a sign which says No Camping / BBQS with a picture of a tent (!) but no mention of motorhomes or campervans. I think it would be ok for an occasional wild camp - I noted that the toilets are closed from 1st November to 31st March. I spotted another Bongo there, the only one I saw all day until one on the A14, nearly back to Felixstowe.
A number of Hawfinches had been seen at Lynford so as I still had a bit of time I drove up to have a look. I parked in the forestry car park and walked down through the Arboretum. As I arrived at the paddock there were 6 Hawfinch briefly in the tops of trees across the far side of the field. 3 flew off but the light was not good and they were too far away for pictures.
Note to self: Always take your scope and make sure to keep the holder for my phone in the pocket for digi-scoping distant birds!
Arrived back home about 5.15pm, distance travelled 197km.