Wednesday, 3 December 2008

A well-marked MEALY REDPOLL

All of these images portray what I consider to be a very well-marked MEALY REDPOLL (Carduelis flammea) - one image of which shows the bird alongside a Lesser Redpoll (cabaret).
They were all taken by Steve Seal and Dave Hutton of a bird which wintered at Marsh Lane GP, West Midlands, from December 2007 to February 2008.
This is an extreme example, with sparse streaking on the white rump and heavy cloaked feathering on the nape and hindneck. This bird had one or two long streaks on the gleaming white undertail coverts and was boldly streaked on the sides and flanks. The bill was long and pointed.
Others argued (eg Martin Garner) that this was a Scandinavian Arctic Redpoll (exilipes) at the lower end of the cline. At the end of the day, considering the variation in both 'species', can we be sure who is right?