tisdag 27 mars 2012

Crossbills - (Korsnebber)

The season for northern lights is inevitably coming to an end even if there might still be a chance to see the auroras for a couple of more weeks. Despite high solar activity lately, most parts of Northern Norway have experienced lots of grey and cloudy weather, and only occasionally the green glow of the aurora has been possible to glimpse through the thick cloud-cover.

The nights are getting light quickly now and the spring is marching in with new signs of spring coming almost each day. Birds arrive again from the south to their breeding areas in the north and without the dark skies "Northern Lights Photography" will focus more and more on the Scandinavian wildlife until the next season in September-October - in the year of solar maximum!

First out are some of the early breeders among birds up here - the crossbills. All over Scandinavia, the Two-barred crossbills (Loxia leucoptera) have occurred in higher than usual numbers after an invasion from the north-east (Russia) last year, and in many places they are still around feeding on their favourite food - cones of larch.

Two-barred crossbills (Loxia leucoptera) feeding on larch

Two-barred crossbill (Loxia leucoptera) - male

Two-barred crossbill (Loxia leucoptera) - male

The unusual shape of the bill - giving them the name crossbills - is an adaptation to assist in the extraction of the seeds from the cones as can be seen on the short video-clip of common crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) below:

Common crossbill (Loxia curvirostra) feeding on cones in Tromsø