Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Redpoll anyone ?

Mealy anyone ?
Feeding in scrub

Fellow Warwickshire birder Richard Harbird recently discovered a flock of 150 Lesser Redpoll at Morton Bagot, so given its only a short walk I headed over to take a look. In the company of Paul Hands, we first saw the birds edging along the farm on the other side of the scrub field but they swirled up together to land on the wires. An amazing sight so close to home. 

Richard's blog indicated there could be a Mealy among the flock of Lessers. One bird clearly stood out as a possible contender however I couldn't get more than one photograph of the bird.

Whilst Common/Mealy is always the most likely candidate when faced with a large, pale-looking Redpoll. However, the suite of ID features that need to be evaluated include the 'base colour' of the mantle, the paleness and streakiness (or otherwise) of the rump and the extent of fringing on the wing feathers (white wing bars does not necessarily exclude Lesser). 

As these can't be seen in the photograph, it is not possible to go beyond 'redpoll sp.' for the individual in question. 

The ID features for Arctic Redpoll include the extent of white on the rump and the amount (if any!) of streaking on the vent and undertail coverts. Unfortunately, neither of these two features were visible in my pictures either.


  1. Hi Neil,

    Your Redpoll looks like the bird I photographed on Jan 21. It seems no larger than the Lessers, which is troubling. But its a pretty startling bird for a Lesser Redpoll. Personally, I'm getting a bit sick of looking through them, but I guess I'll keep at it.


  2. I'm relying on you nailing some more photos. I heard it got reported on newlines as a Mealy ! I wonder who else has been down.