I belong to a bird watchers e-mail list fro MA. and read that there had been sightings of Red Crossbills and Common Red Polls at one of my favorite spots, Salisbury Beach Reservation in Salisbury, MA.
I headed out just after 8 AM and arrived at 9 AM, but there was no birds at all! No song, no movement....so I waited a bit and finally some action! It was a flock of 14 Red Crossbills. I was excited at the prospect of getting some close looks and photos of these uncommon to our area birds and was not disappointed. The failure of the pine cone crop in northern Maine and Canada has driven both the Red Crossbill and the White Wing Crossbills down to our area in search of food, but the Red Crossbill is alot less common than the WW Crossbill.
Although I was thrilled with the Red Crossbills, my target bird for the day was the Common Red Poll since this has been quite a season for winter Finches and I was truly in need of good photos of these adorable fast moving birds. After the Red Crossbills had their fill of pine cone seed and flew off over the marshes, a nice flock of White Wing Crossbills flew in, about 20 or so, and with them a small flock of Common Red Polls.
I was able to position myself on a sand dune at the foot of a stand of pine trees and was treated to both Red Polls and WW Crossbills landing down on the sand and eating the fallen pine cone seeds. Mission accomplished!
There are also a lot of Red Breasted Nuthatches at the beach this year and are another fun little bird to see.