Sunday, 29 January 2012

Pale Mealy Redpoll, 29th Jan

Stumbled upon around 20 Lesser Redpolls on my patch late morning today, including two Mealy Redpolls. One of the birds appeared particularly pale (especially when seen in flight), and for a brief period of time I flirted with the possibility of an exilipes.

However, better views confirmed it to be 'just' a pale Mealy Redpoll although it was sporting a nice metal ring on its right leg - yep, it was last week's bird. Last week, I suggested it was a first-winter female. However, it appears to be a first-winter male - a faint pink wash is apparent on the upper breast, and there is also the slightest hint of a pink tinge in the rump.

The bottom photo demonstrates quite nicely the strong and regular streaking on the upperparts - a feature I do not associate with exilipes (usually much finer, whispy and irregular streaking). Then there are the other obvious features - a broad streak on the longest undertail covert coupled with finer streaks on several other UTCs, the white (but finely-streaked) rump, the base colour to the upperparts, large bill and so on.

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