Letter: Crossed beaks?

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The Independent Online
Sir: I advise Jean Thomas to return for a closer look at the six 'colourful birds' (Letters, 3 March) she observed while walking in the Shropshire hills, or she may find the area inundated with disappointed twitchers.

Pine Grosbeaks are extremely rare and in the last 15 years only two have been recorded, these being single individuals found on remote offshore islands. To be able to see six on mainland Britain is an experience few serious birdwatchers could ignore.

I would suggest the birds she saw were the more likely, but equally attractive, Crossbills.

Yours faithfully,


Weston under Wetherley,


5 March