CROSS­BILL

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

GREENSHANK

Ju­ve­nile Green­shanks are noisy, easily star­tled, waders, who take off shout­ing out their ‘tew tew tew’ calls in husky teenage tones at the slight­est provo­ca­tion. They are not hard birds to iden­tify, with grey and white plumage and long, slightly up­turned bill and long grey-green legs. The rump is white, as is the back, un­like the smaller Wood Sand­piper and Green Sand­piper, which both have square white rumps. Cross­bills are ex­cep­tion­ally early breed­ers in the early spring and seem to spend the rest of the year wan­der­ing around in flocks look­ing for the best feed­ing grounds. They are most fre­quently en­coun­tered in ar­eas of ma­ture conifers, but dur­ing Au­gust, they may also be en­coun­tered fly­ing over in small flocks, re­peat­ing their fa­mous ‘chup chup’ con­tact calls. Only adult males are brick red, with younger birds be­ing var­i­ous shades of green, like the fe­males and the streakier, browner ju­ve­niles. As de­vour­ers of much seedy ma­te­rial, they need to drink clean wa­ter reg­u­larly, and even clear pud­dles in suit­able habi­tat can be a good place to look for drink­ing birds.

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