Our first stop was Diamondfield Jack - a site that crossbill researcher Craig Benkman (who will be the banquet speaker when the Western Field Ornithologist's meeting is in Boise this fall - http://www.westernfieldornithologists.org/conference.php) had suggested to Terry. We arrived to snow flurries that got a little heavier ... We split up & spread out a bit and, despite the elevation & weather, the site was pretty birdy. We soon heard a Fox Sparrow (year bird for me!) belting it out in the distance and then Mike spotted an adult Northern Goshawk that blew by us while we were admiring a Red-naped Sapsucker. Then, Mark, Dave, & Terry started whistling & waving their arms and we figured we better run ... They'd heard some crossbills! Soon after we all arrived on the scene, 5 crossbills obliged and flew out over us calling (though tough to put into words, to those of us with some experience hearing Red Crossbills in a variety of areas, these call notes sounded noticeably longer and less 'voicy' than other crossbills) and proceeded to land in the top of a Lodgepole Pine not too far from the parking area. I pulled out my scope and we enjoyed decent views of both males & females (only got pics of a cooperative female) as they were feeding on the pine branches.
We made a few other stops en route, including along the Snake River in Buhl and -briefly as I had a soccer game to get to ;-) - at Mountain Home Reservoir and were able to see/hear several year birds, including a singing Yellow Warbler, several Least Sandpipers, and Black-necked Stilts. I also enjoyed a pair of Gray Partridge - if only b/c this species is still eluding Heidi (wouldn't be a lifer for her so I won't feel bad if she misses it!)!!
All in all, a great day as I really enjoyed conversations with Dave & Mike in the car and also appreciated the opportunity to observe a unique bird taxa (forecasted to be upgraded to full species status with the next revision of the American Ornithologist's Union checklist) that is endemic to Idaho!