Crossbills, Redpolls and a Hungry Loon

Flocks of Red Crossbills (with a few White-winged Crossbills), Common Redpolls and Snow Buntings have taken up winter residence in the large campgrounds of the Salisbury State Reservation on the north side of the mouth of the Merrimack River. The winter populations of these birds vary from year to year and they are high this year. I have taken advantage of this to get a lot of photos.

I have posted Red Crossbill photos here before. Here’s a few more.

There was a large flock of Redpolls in the pines on my last trip and I was able to get a some good photos. The red forehead and black bib are distinctive.

The wind was very calm on this visit, so the river was not as choppy as usual. The reflections on the water add a nice touch to the pictures of a young Surf Scoter in flight and two male Long-tailed Ducks catching their breath between dives.

We watched a very hungry Common Loon foraging near the south bank of the river. He wolfed down three crabs in just a few minutes.

One thought on “Crossbills, Redpolls and a Hungry Loon

  1. That is a very fun post! I wish I could eat crabs that way, but I’m afraid we are not cut out for that. I wondered what the nutrition in the chitinous shells is. I did a search, and saw a paper of a study finding that that some animals, mostly omnivores, produce enzymes that allow them to digest chitin to a degree. Chickens make the stuff, and I bet loons and insectivores do too. Humans only a little. Mice and pigs – plenty.

    Cheers, Moon ________________________________

    Like

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