On Sunday Ramsay called itching to take a trip to see some winter finches. A couple spots around Rochester have been reliably reporting good flocks of crossbills and redpolls at the Holy Sepulchre cemetery and Pine Grosbeaks at campground area of Webster Park along Lake Ontario.
We had great luck immediately when we arrived at #21 in the Riverside/Holy Sepulchre cemetery. First White-winged Crossbills were all over the sweet gum, and soon both Pine Siskins and Common Redpolls arrived. We got great looks as all three species foraged together between bouts of being startled into the air by first a Cooper’s Hawk and then a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Interestingly, the nearby Merlin didn’t harass the finches, but did attempt to escort the accipiters out of the cemetery.
We then drove to Webster Park and took the brushy loop near the campground. We walked down the first couple hundred feet and everything was quiet until suddenly there was an explosion of Pine Grosbeak calls nearby, but behind a row of conifers. We walked around and soon found 7 female type Pine Grosbeaks nibbling on berries. We were able to get great looks for a couple minutes before an accipiter chased them all off. Walking back towards our car we refound the finches and this time there was a male with them. Again, we were able to get great looks as they perched, calling non-stop.