Date: 2/5/19 6:10 pm
From: Nick Bonomo via CTBirds <ctbirds...>
Subject: [CT Birds] Sterling Red Crossbills
Hi all,

This morning I had 3+ RED CROSSBILLS in Pachaug State Forest in the town of
Sterling. This is likely part of a wintering group that has been seen just
over the border at Nicholas Farm Management Area, Rhode Island, where
crossbills have been reported since late November. Given the presence of
Pitch Pine (or something like it) with loads of cones, these birds should
be chase-able to some degree.

The only problem is that this is part of what seems to be a reasonably
large area, so encountering the birds may take a fair amount of time and
luck. And a bit of a walk. Knowing the flight call of Red Crossbill
(especially Type 10) is very helpful in locating them.

Immediately west of the CT/RI line, along Newport Rd in Sterling, is a
gated dirt State Forest Road (labeled as such on Google Maps). Park at this
gate and walk north. The road forks more than once, so try to stay on the
road as labeled on Google Maps. After one mile, among the mixed Eastern
White Pine and deciduous trees, you will start to notice a few cone-laden
Pitch Pine. You may begin to encounter Red-breasted Nuthatches at this
point, as they are also taking advantage of this food source. The Pitch
Pine density should increase as you head further north. The trails soon
really begin to fork and bend in different directions, especially east of
the sand dirt bike/ATV course that is visible on satellite view. The
crossbills are most likely to be encountered near the Pitch Pines.

Approximate coordinates for the target area:
41.685731, -71.792973

A shorter hike would be available if you can park at the end of Deerfield
Shores, but I took a quick swing through there and found a densely settled
neighborhood that didn't really have any public-looking parking, so I left.

In addition to the crossbills, I had 5 Red-breasted Nuthatches in the Pitch
Pines, a Purple Finch calling from the backyard opposite the gate on
Newport Rd, and a single flyover Common Redpoll.

Nick Bonomo
Wallingford, CT
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