|The waterfall at Gibson's cave.|
On Good Friday though we thought we'd head to the Lakes for a day out but we didn't get far when we saw the traffic going that way was very, very heavy. Fortunately we had a backup plan and we took a turn off to Upper Teesdale. This area is different to the lakes but is also stunning and a lot of it is a huge national nature reserve. I had a wonderful time but I also saw a lot of wonderful things there! One of which was a complete first for me! The scenery at the place we went to last (Bowlees visitor centre) was lovely. It was basically a really nice forest with a stream running right the way through the middle of it. This runs to the river Tees which has some impressive waterfalls on it.
|Coltsfoot Flower (Tussilago farfara)|
The walk up to Bowlees was quite fun. We walked along the side seeing some interesting birds, we even saw a Nuthatch in the feeding area! When we got to the end of the walk we found a place called Gibsons Cave which is literally right under a Waterfall!
|Me looking at High Force waterfall|
As a new species for me I had to find out more about them, so, here are some facts:
- Well you may have guessed how they get their name, the Crossbill has a crossed-bill at the end. An old tale related to Easter is that they got this and their colour from trying to pull the nails out of Jesus's hands and feet when he was on the cross.
- They have quite a large head and are quite a chunky bird in themselves.
|A pair of crossbills|
- One reason why I probably haven't seen them before is because they're usually at the top of pine trees either nesting or eating.
- During the Summer months around 40,000 breeding pairs can be seen.
- I'm not sure how many there are in winter but I read that they have a long breeding season in some parts of their territory - they have been recorded as breeding in every month of the year!
- They're seen in a lot of the UK but not in central England, the centre of Ireland and some of the far corners of the country.
|A male crossbill (Loxia curvirostra)|
- They're a Green status probably as there hasn't been any decline in them. The only threat that I can think of to them would be deforesting of pine trees.
- They're about 16cm long with a 29cm wingspan. Both Males and Females weigh a rather light 43g.
- They first breed at 1 year old and they usually live until the ripe old age of 2 years, but the oldest was only 3 years, 2 months and 10 days.
- So why do they have a crossed bill? Well it allows them to crack open conifer seeds which not many other birds eat. This might be why their population is stable as they have a regular food source and not much competition for it.
Here are some links to some more information:
Hope you enjoyed,