Category
A
Status
Irregular
Breeding status
First Record
Last Recorded

Crossbill Loxia curvirostra


Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Mike Cunningham
  Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012 Photo: © Mike Cunningham (visit site)

In the late 1800s, Crossbills were an irruptive visitor to the islands. MacCulloch wrote to to Smith 'The Crossbill is most uncertain in its visits. Many years will sometimes pass without a single one being heard of. When they do come, it is generally in large flocks. I have known them arrive in early autumn and do great havoc among the apples, which they cut up to get at the pips. Sometimes they make their appearance in the winter, seemingly driven from the Continent by the cold.'

Smith's first sighting was of a male in Sark on 25 June 1866 - 'I saw a very fine red-plumaged bird in a small fir-plantation in the grounds of the Lord of Sark'. The following day he was requested by a bird catcher in Guernsey to name some birds doing considerable damage in gardens around town. Thinking that they may be Crossbills, Smith requested the bird catcher to bring him some specimens which the bird catcher said he could easily do as people were destroying them on account of the damage they were doing. In a day or two, the bird catcher brought him one live and two dead Crossbills and said that as many as 40 had been shot in one persons garden because of the damage they were doing. During these irruptions birds were very tame and, as Dobson wrote, 'fall easy victim to the gun and many have been knocked down by sticks.'

Smith's only other record was of four birds in 1876. He writes 'I did not hear any more of Crossbills in the Islands till December, 1876, when Mr. Couch sent me a skin of one in reddish plumage writing at the same time to say - "The Crossbill I sent from its being so late in the season when it was shot - the 11th of December; there were four of them in a tree by Haviland Hall. I happened to go into the person's home who shot it, and his children had it playing with. [sic]."' Couch provided Smith with many of his specimens and he obviously deprived the children of their plaything!

Up to the publication of Dobson's book, there were several more records: 2 birds which were shot in 1871 seen by Miss Carey in a taxidermists shop in 1872 (not recorded by Smith), two at Hauteville from 7 to 14 July 1911, a pair was supposed to have nested at Calais in St Martin in 1927 and, on November 12 1930, two birds were seen in the Catel (Dobson). Dobson does not give any further details of the breding attempt other than to say that it was 'according to Dr Kinnersley' . Crossbills did bred in Jersey in 1930 so this record may be genuine.

Since Dobson, Crossbills have still been an irruptive visitor and, until recently, were a very rare bird in Guernsey. Between 1950 and 1970 there was only one record - a 'flock' was seen in Herm on 11 July 1958. In the 1970s, there were three records involving 10 birds and in the 1980s 3 records involving 6 birds. However during the 1990s several irruptions years took place. Irruption years took place in 1990, 1993 and 1997. The situtation is similar in the other islands; in Sark two birds were ringed and another seen at La Fougeraie16-18 August 1972 and another on Harbour Hill on 12 July 1983. In Alderney, there is only one record prior to the publication of Conder and that is of a bird seen on 29 August 1966.

Smith noticed that irruptions tended to occur during the summer months and this pattern continues today. In 1990, the first indication that an irruption may be imminent came on 20 June when 4 birds were seen at Fauxquets Valley. In July, 5 birds were seen at Le Gouffre on 17th (Transactions) and, on the 22nd, a second-year male was found dead at Petit Bot and two birds seen at the Reservoir and a bird was also seen in a garden at La Fallaize, St Martin sometime during the month (perhaps the bird found dead?). Single records were received in August and September at Pleinmont (1 on 28 August) and the Reservoir (3 on 6 September) and then in October there were four records: 3 at the Reservoir on the 6th, 4 at the Vaux de Monel on the 9th, 4 at the Catioroc and 2 at Pleinmont on the 12th.

No birds were recorded in 1991 and in 1992 only two spring records were recieved, one at Icart on 5th April and 5 at Fauxquet Valley between 19th and 31 May. These are unsual as there are very few spring records for Guernsey.

In 1993, another, smaller, influx took place. After a record of a male bird in Herm on 2 July, a series of records were received in August and September. Three birds were seen at L'Erée headland on 24 August and between 30 Auguts and 10 September parties of between 2 and 3 birds were seen at Le Guet. Three birds were also seen in Herm on 30 Sept and and at Albecq on 9 September.

By far the largest influx took place in 1997. Again, the first birds were seen in mid-summer - 8 birds were seen at Pleinmont and one bird at Paradis on 30 June. In July the influx continued and parties of 1-5 birds were seen at various places across the islands including, the Marais Nord, Le Guet, Saumarez and Cambridge Parks, Candie Gardens and Pleinmont. The irruption was widespread as reports also came in from Sark (Transactions). The number of records tailed off in August but 12 birds were seen at the Reservoir on 15 August and one bird was there the following day. No birds were recorded in September but another influx of birds occurred in October and between 21 and 31 October birds recorded from four localities - 2 at Saumarez Park on 21st, 1 at Pleinmont on 25th and 2 there in 26th and another seen at Trinity Cottages on 31st. As a result of that influx, 2-7 birds stayed to winter at Saumarez Park from 12 November to 24 December. There is only one other wintering record from Guernsey - 3 birds were seen there 7-26 November 1972 and two birds 7-14 January 1973.

As can be seen from the above, most records come from areas with stands of conifers. In irruption years, sites such as Le Guet, the Reservoir, Pleinmont, Saumarez Park and Herm are as good a place to see Crossbills but birds can turn up almost anywhere. Birds have also been seen in broad-leaved woods such as Fauxquet Valley and some of the island's other parks.



View all photos (8)
Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Mike Cunningham
Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Mike Cunningham (visit site)

Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 7/11/2012. Photo: © Mike Cunningham
Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 7/11/2012. Photo: © Mike Cunningham (visit site)

Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 7/11/2012. Photo: © Anthony Loaring
Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 7/11/2012. Photo: © Anthony Loaring (visit site)

Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 7/11/2012. Photo: © Royston Carré
Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 7/11/2012. Photo: © Royston Carré (visit site)

Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Royston Carré
Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Royston Carré (visit site)

Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Royston Carré
Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Royston Carré (visit site)

Crossbill photographed at Jerbourg [JER] on 18/6/2017. Photo: © lorna harborow
Crossbill photographed at Jerbourg [JER] on 18/6/2017. Photo: © lorna harborow (visit site)

Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Cindy  Carre
Crossbill photographed at Saumarez Park [SAU] on 6/11/2012. Photo: © Cindy Carre (visit site)

 


View database records (122)
Crossbill Herm 2/7/1993 1
Crossbill L'Eree 24/8/1993 3
Crossbill Herm 30/8/1993 3
Crossbill Le Guet 30/8/1993 2
Crossbill Le Guet 2/9/1993 3
Crossbill Le Guet 3/9/1993 10/9/1993 3
Crossbill Albecq 9/9/1993 4
Crossbill Pleinmont 18/9/1993 2
Crossbill Paradis 30/6/1997 1
Crossbill Pleinmont 30/6/1997 1-8
Crossbill Saumarez Park 2/7/1997 3
Crossbill Le Guet 3/7/1997 18/7/1997 1-5
Crossbill Pleinmont 6/7/1997 3
Crossbill Cambridge Park 7/7/1997 3
Crossbill Candie Gardens 8/7/1997 1
Crossbill Marais Nord/Vale Marais 12/7/1997 1
Crossbill Reservoir 15/8/1997 12+
Crossbill Reservoir 16/8/1997 1
Crossbill Saumarez Park 21/10/1997 2
Crossbill Pleinmont 25/10/1997 1
Crossbill Pleinmont 26/10/1997 2
Crossbill Trinity 31/10/1997 1
Crossbill Saumarez Park 12/11/1997 30/11/1997 2-6
Crossbill Saumarez Park 2/12/1997 24/12/1997 7
Crossbill L'Eree 29/7/1999 1
Crossbill Fort Saumarez 12/8/1999 1
Crossbill Saumarez Park 2/3/2000 3/3/2000 4
Crossbill Saints 2/11/2001 2
Crossbill Unknown 30/6/2002 6-8
Crossbill Pleinmont 18/8/2002 6
Crossbill Trinity 19/8/2002 12
Crossbill Vaux de Monel 23/8/2002 3
Crossbill Trinity 25/8/2002 1
Crossbill Pleinmont 13/9/2002 1
Crossbill Pleinmont 27/9/2002 2
Crossbill Pleinmont 28/9/2002 5
Crossbill Pleinmont 30/9/2002 2
Crossbill Pleinmont 9/7/2005 3
Crossbill Pleinmont 10/7/2005 16
Crossbill Vale Pond 10/7/2005 20
Crossbill Pezeries 15/7/2005 28
Crossbill Portelet 15/7/2005 28
Crossbill Reservoir 15/7/2005 6
Crossbill Pleinmont 20/8/2005 ca5
Crossbill La Villette Hotel 25/8/2005 1
Crossbill Pleinmont 9/9/2005 1
Crossbill Pezeries 10/9/2005 2
Crossbill Pleinmont 15/10/2005 1
Crossbill Herm 27/10/2007 2
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 14/10/2009 1
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 15/10/2009 1
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 26/6/2010 c.22
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 1/7/2010 c.13
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 1/7/2010 14
Common Crossbill Rue de la Boullerie [BIL] 1/7/2010 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 2/7/2010 8/10
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 3/7/2010 5
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 4/7/2010 14
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 4/7/2010 20
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 4/7/2010 30
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 10/7/2010 1
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 12/7/2010 4
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 12/7/2010 6
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 13/7/2010 1+
Common Crossbill Rue des Grons, STM [GRM] 17/7/2010 4
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 18/7/2010 6
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 18/7/2010 9
Common Crossbill Rue de la Boullerie, St Andrew's 20/7/2010 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 20/7/2010 8+
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 20/7/2010 5
Common Crossbill Vaux de Monel [MON] 23/7/2010 3
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 30/9/2010 9
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 7/10/2010 10
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 17/10/2010 8
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 17/10/2010 8
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 30/10/2010 1
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 29/10/2011 12
Common Crossbill Brock road [St Sampson] 9/8/2012 3
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 10/8/2012 4
Common Crossbill Vaux de Monel [MON] 12/8/2012 2
Common Crossbill Rue des Hougues, STA [H04] 20/8/2012 2
Common Crossbill Rue des Hougues, STA [H04] 24/8/2012 1+
Common Crossbill Fort Saumarez [FSA] 1/9/2012 2
Common Crossbill Pezeries [PEZ] 4/9/2012 3+
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 7/9/2012 5
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 20/10/2012 4
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 6/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 6/11/2012 2
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 6/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 6/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 7/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 7/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 8/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 8/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 9/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 9/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Portelet [PET] 9/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Saumarez Park [SAU] 10/11/2012 1
Common Crossbill Trinity [TRI] 13/7/2013 14
Common Crossbill Vaux de Monel [MON] 14/7/2013 2
Common Crossbill Vaux de Monel [MON] 14/7/2013 2
Common Crossbill Portelet [PET] 9/8/2013 4
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 27/6/2014 4
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 27/6/2014 4
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 27/6/2014 3
Common Crossbill Prevote [PRV] 28/6/2014 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 16/8/2014 3
Common Crossbill Vaux de Monel [MON] 26/6/2015 2
Common Crossbill Vaux de Monel [MON] 26/6/2015 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 4/10/2015 1
Common Crossbill Pezeries [PEZ] 4/10/2015 2
Common Crossbill Pezeries [PEZ] 4/10/2015 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 10/10/2015 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 10/10/2015 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 10/10/2015 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 10/10/2015 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 25/10/2015 7
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 25/10/2015 6
Common Crossbill Vaux de Monel [MON] 2/11/2015 2
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 17/7/2017 1
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 17/7/2017 1
Common Crossbill Pleinmont [PLE] 19/10/2017 8