Sunday, December 30, 2007

Here we go again

This year the blog will have a largely local feel. I intend to concentrate on my local patch at St-Lazare sand pits although I am also tempted to include the St-Lazare Pinade as part of the patch, given that they are one large chunk of continuous habitat, that would seem logical.

The winter period is unlikely to account for many posts from the site so I'll diversify as and when I see fit. This first posting deals with redpolls which have errupted south and are providing daily entertainment at my feeders.

The shots posted so far were from the last week and a half of 2007, I'll add more to this post if I get them.

Perhaps as many as 170 redpolls have been attending the feeders, I deliberately concentrated on nyger feeders as in the previous erruption, winter 2003/4, they proved to be the food of preference for the birds.

Reading 'Redpoll Challenge: 4 subspecies' posted on Ontbirds and ID-Frontiers by Ron Pittaway on 18-12-07 I'd like to say here and now, done it!

The challenge is to see all four of the redpoll types in one flock. On 22 December 2007 I had my first 'Snowball' Hornemann's Hoary Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni in a flock of c120 birds with two C h exilipes Hoary Redpolls, three 'Greater' Common Redpolls Carduelis flammea rostrata, a.k.a Greenland Redpoll and the rest nominate 'Southern Common Redpoll C flammea.

Since then, whenever the opportunity has arisen, I have been checking through the visiting flocks for it again and taking photographs of the other varities where possible. I have not been helped much by the local Cooper's Hawk and, on one memorable occasion, a Northern Grey Shrike but in the case of the latter, I did not mind too much, it was new for the garden list.

Below some shots of redpolls. I've made comments where ambiguity exists between the given knowledge on redpoll identification and the features shown by the individuals photographed.

I would be happy to discuss any of my comments, please feel free to leave a message using the blog system or email me at

The first batch are pretty standard Common Redpolls C flammea.

The preceding three shots show an interesting bird with limited dark streaking on the undertail coverts, some of which are possibly dark feather shafts. If also has a seemingly small bill but the rump is well streaked and not obviously white, I think Common Redpoll C flammea

After the ambiguous bird commented on earlier, the subsequent run of photos were all Common Redpolls C flammea.

The bird above has a single dark centered undertail covert but the bill is relatively large and its breast is rather pink. I think its a Common Redpoll C flammea.

A sequence of birds above showing some of the features of Hoary Redpoll C h exilipes but others of Common. They may all be Hoary, but I am only certain about the bird in the last two shots (same bird) which shows classic Hoary Redpoll C h exilipes features.

Three shots of the same 'Greater' Common Redpoll C f rostrata. The structure and size difference from the nominate C flammea , also present, is readily apparent.

1 comment:

Sparroworker said...

Happy New Year and the best of birding to come ...