Saturday, 10 April 2010

Word from the island’s early risers was that a Crossbill and a Tree Pipit had flown over early in the morning and, even better, a Tree Sparrow had been seen briefly on the South End. The latter was soon rediscovered near the observatory and was seen repeatedly throughout the day as it flew around the island calling loudly wherever it went. Similarly to the previous day, the weather was perfectly calm and sunny from beginning to end allowing the mist nets to be kept open all afternoon. 90 Chiffchaffs and 87 Willow Warblers were counted during the day and many of them were trapped and ringed along with six Blackcaps, 14 Goldfinches and a variety of other common passerines. A redpoll was caught at Cristin and, upon scrutiny, was identified as a Common Redpoll – the first one this year. Other sightings included five Lesser Redpolls, a Great Tit, four Siskins, ten Goldcrests, two Rooks, a Song Thrush and a couple of Collared Doves.

Common Redpoll (c) Steve Stansfield

While hardly a striking individual, the pictured Redpoll was identified as a Common Redpoll rather than than a Lesser Redpoll on numerous fairly subtle features. For example: the ground colour of the flanks is white, where Lesser Redpolls would normally have a stronger brown hue; the wing-bars are broad and white - typically more buff in Lesser; the silvery wash around the head and nape is more typical of Common; the wing measurements were well within the expected range of Common, although still just within the upper limit of Lesser. That said, there is a lot of variation within both species and we are finding that some birds (this one included) are very difficult to assign to either type on current knowledge. Presumably there is still plenty to learn about these birds.

1 comment:

  1. What's the difference plse between Common and Lesser Redpolls.Also any chance of the day's sightings being posted at this time of year.