Saw the mystery bird on Farnham Heath yesterday 24/3. Watched it singing and had at least 4 clear views of it and the drab Common Crossbill female flying and calling. All Jip-Jip!! Ok yes it looks good but I saw the real deal at Broomhead in Yorkshire last autumn and was amazed how what I assumed would be a hard species to pick up was in fact a doddle. Here there were hundreds of common crossbills which kept flying over in big flocks, but out of the metallic jip-jipping came a clear unmistakable kazoo like call. For the older reader I have the mental image of the mail pigeon’s trumpet call from the ‘Catch the Pigeon’ cartoon. Indeed many present agreed that it was very like Trumpeter finch. Not a hint of this yesterday, so unless this male is a ‘Tarzan’ reared by Common Crossbill parents, I can only trust my ears and put him down as a partly albinistic Common Crossbill. The whole genus are a ‘mare. Was at Alice Holt last week and had a joop-jooping Crossbill which landed and sang from a spruce tree. It was certainly not the song of a Common Crossbill, but couldn’t say its bill was obviously ‘Parrot’. But on balance this seems highly likely, or a hybrid??? Must happen Jock, Common and Parrot are all just too close!
By the way heads up for RSPB what a model restoration of heathland, Forestry Commission take note all that worthless plantation in Bourne Woods next door should be heath once more, yet they have actually replanted some nice heathy slopes!