3rd November 2012 – Garden Redpolls…

We had a group of Lesser Redpolls in the garden today, one of which was noticeably paler than all the others – but that’s all it was I reckon, a pale Lesser. But the more I trawled through images on t’internet the more confused I became – there’s loads of photos of birds similar to my pale one that are (incorrectly?) labelled as Mealy…

Anyway, here’s a pic of one of the normal looking Lesser’s…

A standard looking Lesser Redpoll – very brown upperparts and face, brown washed wing-bars, short tail and wings. Flanks washed brown. Barely any contrast between mantle colour and wings. Brown mantle has very broad dark streaking.

Compare the bird above to the one in the following two images…

Overall paler looking than the bird above. Paler upperparts of bird contrasts with darker wings, whiter wing bars. Obvious white fringes to tertials, secondaries, primaries and primary coverts. Mantle colour paler with fine dark streaking. Long primary projection and long tail. Paler underparts with a buff wash on upper flanks. Obvious ‘tramlines’ on mantle (not really visible on these photos). Much paler face with bold buffy-white supercilium.

Variable aren’t they? I guess this is emphasised by fresh-looking youngsters and worn-looking adults. My bird gave the impression of being a bit ‘chunkier’ too. From what I can recall though Mealies have an overall ‘colder’ tone than this bird – more greyish looking…

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