Saturday, 26 December 2015

Boxing Day Redpolls

I admit it, these things really do my head in. I find the 'subtle' differences between Lesser, Mealy, and Coue's Arctic Redpolls very difficult to master. I spent a good while watching a flock of 60 Redpolls at Broom this morning and although there were some clear Lessers in the flock, there were also a lot of intermediate birds too.  The birds above are some of those which weren't obvious Lessers (although the top two are perhaps rather debatable...)

(The images are straight from my GX7 via my iPad. I may get around to re-editing them, or I may not)


  1. It's hard to label any of these Mealies without hearing their ringing, trisyllabic call; the bird in the second-last photo looks the best candidate, as it has the greyest head and lacks a brown wash across the chest. When I moved to the UK from Canada, the first (Lesser) Redpoll I saw looked nothing like the Mealies (aka 'Common's) I was familiar with because of that brown wash. Although immature/female Mealies have browner bodies than males, still the head should be greyer (and the body generally larger) than a Lesser's.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I agree with what you're saying but there are lots of intermediate birds in western Scandinavia which seems to have traits of both. What I really want to know is where is the dividing line between a pale Lesser Redpoll and a browner Mealy - something I suspect we'll never get to the bottom of before they're all lumped again.


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