Sunday, January 16, 2011

You gotta roll with it !

You have only got to mention Arctic Redpoll and my eyes gloss over and my mind blanks, it all stems from winter 1994 when this species was virtually everywhere in South Yorkshire but try as I may I was unable to find one despite trying very hard for 3 months and having some big redpoll flocks on my doorstep. Since then I have purposefully avoided reported Arctic Redpolls like the plague, as it is by far the biggest gap on my British list and I have relegated it to 'one day I will visit Shetland and see a proper one'. Well today I did see one and it was a proper one, even if it was a Coues' Arctic Redpoll and not a Hornemann's (from Scandinavia and not Greenland). It had all the classic features, large unstreaked white rump, clean white flanks, no undertail covert streaks, small 'pinched in' bill, large size with broad shoulders and head and rather elongated body. Whats more the views were great at very close range and often at eye level, the bird was very striking even when alongside the 10+ Common Redpolls in the flock of 38 birds.

So, am I happy ? well... (I laugh) Redpolls do my head in ! I think its because I sense that they are evolving faster than I can type and as a set are simply not the complete deal yet. But for now, I am happy just to roll with it !

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