Way back in July I created a drinking pool in Haldon Forest to try to get the forest birds to come there to drink. There is a small population of Crossbills resident there but they are virtually impossible to photograph unless you make some plans and preparations. I have been trying for around 8 weeks to entice them to use the pool. Crossbills are entirely seedeaters and the only real opportunity to get close to them is when they come to the ground to drink. However, this late summer and early autumn has been really wet and we have hardly had it dry enough for any other standing water to dry out which would leave "my" pool as the only drinking source. After a few days without rain, today seemed to be a good one to go and "stake out" the pool. As soon as I arrived and after disturbing 4 Roe Deer just by the pool, I sat in the hide next to it and heard Crossbills very nearby noisily moving in the conifers all around me. I had a really good feeling about my chance of success but with quietness returning very quickly, my optimism started to fade. After an hour, suddenly a Coal Tit landed in the pool and I took a few photos. Then bingo, after 8 weeks and perhaps 50 hours of trying, there in the tiny pool was a small family group of drinking Crossbills including one adult male, more than one female and juveniles. They drank quickly and after 15 seconds or so, all of them lifted off from the pool and the encounter was over. I managed just one half decent photograph!
The pool seems to be successful after quite a wait.