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Old Tuesday 31st October 2006, 14:24   #1
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Redpoll ID Thread, Winter 06/07

With the winter approaching have decided to target Redpolls as one of my target species for the winter here in Stockholm. Thought I would start a thread and run it over the winter with a view to gleaning as much information as possible on the finer points of Redpoll identification.

Common Redpoll(Carduelis Flammea) will be the common species here in Stockholm. Arctic Redpoll(Carduelis Hornemanni) will be the main prize, should I be lucky enough to come across and identify one. Had a couple of probable 1st winter Arctics last winter which I did not quite nail to my satisfaction, frustratingly. Disscussion on Lesser Redpoll(ssp. Cabaret) also very welcome. Not sure of the status of these birds in Stockholm as yet....

Am thinking a thread would be quite instructive to anyone who wishes to contribute to or simply follow it. Hope to get plenty of images this year in due course, some of which may be the subject of raging debate!!
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Old Tuesday 31st October 2006, 15:44   #2
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All the Redpolls I've seen in Stockholm in previous years have been flammea. I'll certainly follow your thread and post any interesting shots/descriptions I get this winter for ID. Would be nice to see an Arctic or two!
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Old Tuesday 31st October 2006, 15:49   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macswede
All the Redpolls I've seen in Stockholm in previous years have been flammea. I'll certainly follow your thread and post any interesting shots/descriptions I get this winter for ID. Would be nice to see an Arctic or two!
Graham
Cheers Graham, should be interesting...
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Old Monday 4th December 2006, 17:11   #4
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Saw a mixed flock of Siskins and Redpolls at Ågesta yeterday, my first Redpolls of the winter. They all looked like flammea to me but the pics are so bad that I'm not sure they can tell us anything much. I've included 1 Siskin.
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Old Monday 25th December 2006, 13:22   #5
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On the way down to the local shop to do some last minute Christmas shopping yesterday, I noticed a single Redpoll feeding in a tree. I dashed back to the flat to fetch my camera and took a series of pretty awful pictures. The weather was good but the bird was at the top of a very tall tree and most of the time hidden behind twigs.
I didn't think it looked like flammea. The bird gave a yellow/brown impression rather than the grey and pink of flammea so Ithought maybe cabaret. I'm not sure the images are good enough to make an ID possible but maybe someone would like to try.
Graham
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Old Monday 25th December 2006, 19:31   #6
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Redpole

[quote=buzzard12]With the winter approaching have decided to target Redpolls as one of my target species for the winter here in Stockholm.

Here is one I took in Durham England last week if thats any help'

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Old Monday 25th December 2006, 20:33   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macswede
On the way down to the local shop to do some last minute Christmas shopping yesterday, I noticed a single Redpoll feeding in a tree. I dashed back to the flat to fetch my camera and took a series of pretty awful pictures. The weather was good but the bird was at the top of a very tall tree and most of the time hidden behind twigs.
I didn't think it looked like flammea. The bird gave a yellow/brown impression rather than the grey and pink of flammea so Ithought maybe cabaret. I'm not sure the images are good enough to make an ID possible but maybe someone would like to try.
Graham
I'm happy with this being flammea. From the pics, I would certainly say this is not cabaret.

Check out the attatched flammea pic, taken in Lincolnshire, England this January. It is quite a yellow-brown individual. Remember, pink would only be shown on male birds, and the bird in your latest pics is obviously not a male as it lacks any pink tones. Judging by the quite buff appearance, presumably it is a 1st-winter bird(?)
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Old Monday 25th December 2006, 20:38   #8
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Here's one I've all but given up on

http://www.naturalbornbirder.com/gallery/redpoll.php

Although in my opinion it is probably not an Arctic.....
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Old Tuesday 26th December 2006, 00:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrexile1
I'm happy with this being flammea. From the pics, I would certainly say this is not cabaret.

Check out the attatched flammea pic, taken in Lincolnshire, England this January. It is quite a yellow-brown individual. Remember, pink would only be shown on male birds, and the bird in your latest pics is obviously not a male as it lacks any pink tones. Judging by the quite buff appearance, presumably it is a 1st-winter bird(?)
I was fairly certain that it was a female and thought that if it was a flammea it would probably a first winter bird.
Flammea is certainly more likely here than cabaret though it does look different to the flammea I usually see .
Graham
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Old Wednesday 27th December 2006, 17:41   #10
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Got slightly better pics today. At this rate I may produce something halfway decent by the end of the winter.
The first one is probably another first winter female. Not sure if it's cabaret or just another flammea.
Graham
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Old Wednesday 10th January 2007, 17:44   #11
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Male Mealys...

Start with the easy ones! Male Mealy, got some good shots finally at Landsort yesterday, birds coming to a feeding station at the observatory there.
Lovely pink tones on the chest...

First picture of an adult male.

Second of a second winter male? Pink on breast very restricted...

Third picture probably adult male. So much variation in these birds, its quite amazing really.
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Old Wednesday 10th January 2007, 17:50   #12
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1st Winter Mealy's..

1st Winter Mealy's here, some decent snaps for reference over the winter...

All these birds displayed streaked rumps and undertail coverts to some degree. Flanks rather dirty toned, well streaked. Some variable warm buff tones on breast sides and flanks, though this was limited in general. Big, stocky Redpolls with bull necked appearance. Bill sturdy, though often appeared to have straight culmen in the field, and indeed even in the photos, so I find this feature a little dubious perhaps in relation to separation from Arctic Redpoll....
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Old Wednesday 10th January 2007, 18:02   #13
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Lesser Redpoll, 1st winter; Landsort; 8th January 2007

One of at least 9 birds present. Smaller and more active on the deck, with very quick, light hops along the ground giving a more skitish, active jizz on the deck.
Extensive warm tones around the face, neck and upper breast immediatly noticable, as was more overall brownish appearance.
Not the difference in bib size and loral area, a very different bird...

Second picture of a first winter Mealy for comparison..
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Old Wednesday 10th January 2007, 18:12   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wrexile1
I'm happy with this being flammea. From the pics, I would certainly say this is not cabaret.

Check out the attatched flammea pic, taken in Lincolnshire, England this January. It is quite a yellow-brown individual. Remember, pink would only be shown on male birds, and the bird in your latest pics is obviously not a male as it lacks any pink tones. Judging by the quite buff appearance, presumably it is a 1st-winter bird(?)

This looks like a solid flammea to me. General tone of the bird is bang on, compare to the above photos for yourself...
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Old Wednesday 10th January 2007, 18:17   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Macswede
On the way down to the local shop to do some last minute Christmas shopping yesterday, I noticed a single Redpoll feeding in a tree. I dashed back to the flat to fetch my camera and took a series of pretty awful pictures. The weather was good but the bird was at the top of a very tall tree and most of the time hidden behind twigs.
I didn't think it looked like flammea. The bird gave a yellow/brown impression rather than the grey and pink of flammea so Ithought maybe cabaret. I'm not sure the images are good enough to make an ID possible but maybe someone would like to try.
Graham

Hi Graham,hope you are well...

Think these are 1st winter flammea. Sunshine is strong and warms the tones a little, still though, the general build, strong facial pattern, relatively clean flanks under ther streaking all point strongly to flammea for me. These birds appear very creamy below and around th thraot and supercilium.... Lesser would give a much warmer buff appearance, particularily in this sunshine....
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Old Wednesday 10th January 2007, 18:24   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard12
Hi Graham,hope you are well...

Think these are 1st winter flammea. Sunshine is strong and warms the tones a little, still though, the general build, strong facial pattern, relatively clean flanks under ther streaking all point strongly to flammea for me. These birds appear very creamy below and around th thraot and supercilium.... Lesser would give a much warmer buff appearance, particularily in this sunshine....
I think I agree here - as my previous uploaded redpoll showed however, I am used to looking at these things on dull, rainy days, not when the warm sunshine is one them perhaps distorting the colour slightly!
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Old Wednesday 10th January 2007, 21:55   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard12
Hi Graham,hope you are well...

Think these are 1st winter flammea. Sunshine is strong and warms the tones a little, still though, the general build, strong facial pattern, relatively clean flanks under ther streaking all point strongly to flammea for me. These birds appear very creamy below and around th thraot and supercilium.... Lesser would give a much warmer buff appearance, particularily in this sunshine....
Hi buzzard12,
I'm fine. Was over in Scotland for Hogmanay.
I'm really impressed by the redpoll pics you've been posting on this and other threads recently. I've seen a lot of redpolls in the last few weeks but find it difficult to get even a half decent shot. I'm beginning to recognize 1st winter flammea by this time and your cabaret shots are very helpful for comparison.
I saw one lone bird that I thought might have been an Arctic Redpoll but it flew off before I got a really good look or any kind of picture and it was probably just another flammea anyway. As you say there is a great deal of variety. :-)
Graham
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Old Thursday 11th January 2007, 17:09   #18
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Mealy Redpoll, male bird looking like a potential Arctic today at Årstafältet. Initially looked interesting due to the reduced markings on the flanks and paler pink colouration on the breast. You can see when the rump is shown that there is obvious streaking. Did not get to nail the undertail, but appeared to be very clean.

Happily and adult male Arctic was seen today, though I did not manage a photo...
May try grab an image tomorrow..
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Old Thursday 11th January 2007, 17:22   #19
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Arctic Redpoll

1st Winter Arctic Redpoll, two days ago on Landsort where 5 birds were present , though I saw just three.

Only photo I got of this bird. Clean undertail is apparent here, as are clean flanks. Bird displayed a pristine white rump in the field, very clean white and totally unblemished. Small bill a good feature and was noticably smaller than Mealy Redpoll in direct comparison...
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Old Thursday 11th January 2007, 17:28   #20
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Mealy Redpoll 1st winter.

Photos from today of Mealy Redpoll in 1st Winter plumage. Second photo shows the undertail coverts typical of this plumage...


...have also posted some decent quality videograbs of Mealy's on the blog at the link below...
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Old Thursday 11th January 2007, 17:32   #21
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I'm really impressed by the redpoll pics you've been posting on this and other threads recently. I've seen a lot of redpolls in the last few weeks but find it difficult to get even a half decent shot. / Quote/ Mc Swede

Try and get to a site where the birds are coming to laid out food like at Landsort. Årstafältet is good too at the moment, birds feeding in the sunflower beds there, good views and photo opportunities with patience. There is at least one male Arctic there too, I suspect there are actually two males and a 1st winter there in actual fact, but need better views...
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Old Tuesday 23rd January 2007, 17:28   #22
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Decent pics at last

Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard12
Try and get to a site where the birds are coming to laid out food like at Landsort. Årstafältet is good too at the moment, birds feeding in the sunflower beds there, good views and photo opportunities with patience. There is at least one male Arctic there too, I suspect there are actually two males and a 1st winter there in actual fact, but need better views...
Finally saw some Arctic Redpolls on Saturday with a group from the Stockholm Ornithological Association and the Täby Nature Protection Society.
Our final stop was at Kungsängen. We went for a walk along the side of the meadow. On one side of the path was a tree-lined stream and on the other a meadow. There were lots Redpolls in the trees and 3 birds were identified as certainties. Unfortunately I was concentrating too hard on spotting the right birds to take any pictures and it was getting dark anyway.

The following day the other half of my ambition - to take some decent Redpoll pictures - was realized when they started visiting our balcony - definite flammea but beautiful birds anyway.

Your suggestion of Årstafältet is very welcome, especially as it's very near to where we live. We'll definitely take a look. Who knows - I may get even some pictures of an Arctic Redpoll...

http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/...cat/500/page/1
http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/...cat/500/page/1
http://www.birdforum.net/pp_gallery/...cat/500/page/1

It's the same bird in all 3 pictures by the way. Is it an adult female or a first winter male?

Graham

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Old Wednesday 24th January 2007, 12:16   #23
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Hi Graham,

Nice Mealy photos! Congrats on the Atrctic Redpolls too, now that you have a few in the bag, so to speak, you will probably come across a few more over the next few weeks..

Hard to age this bird for sure from the pictures. The tail feathers are the key. In adults and second winter birds the tips ot the tail feathers are nice and rounded, while 1st winter bird have much more worn tail feathers which appear pointed and have very thin pale fringes as a result. This is due to a different moult strategy in first year birds. There is one of your photos which seems to show rounded tips to the tail feathers with nice, well marked buffish fringes and I would cautiously say this is probably a second winter or adult female bird. The tail is fairly easy to see in the field through a scope, given a good view like this it is easy enough to age birds.

Just to let you know, the Redpolls at Årstafältet seem to have dispersed due to the snowfall, they were feeding on the groung in the sunflower beds and the seed has probably been buried under ice and become unavailable to the birds.

Good birding!
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Old Wednesday 24th January 2007, 17:26   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard12
Just to let you know, the Redpolls at Årstafältet seem to have dispersed due to the snowfall, they were feeding on the groung in the sunflower beds and the seed has probably been buried under ice and become unavailable to the birds.
Thanks for the info on aging Redpolls. I'll try to test it in the field.

Should have realized the Redpolls might leave Årstafältet now the snow has covered the sunflowers. My wife knows that area better than I do and was curious about whether the sunfowers were nearer the allotments or the industrial area (just in case the snow disappears. I hope it doesn't).

Sadly we have one less Redpoll to feed as the neighbour's cat took one eating spill seed under the balcony. Not sure what we can do about that as we have a lot of "traffic" just now. My wife took the bird from the cat but it was very dead. As she said if it had to catch a bird it could have chosen a Great Tit. I can see that young, inexperienced Redpolls might make easy targets though, especially if they get separated from the flock. They don't seem very afraid of anything much, not even the Blackbirds which are very territorial about the bird house.

Good birding to you too!

Graham

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Old Wednesday 24th January 2007, 18:06   #25
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[quote=Macswede]Thanks for the info on aging Redpolls. I'll try to test it in the field.

Should have realized the Redpolls might leave Årstafältet now the snow has covered the sunflowers. My wife knows that area better than I do and was curious about whether the sunfowers were nearer the allotments or the industrial area (just in case the snow disappears. I hope it doesn't).

The sunflower beds are at the back, so to speak, just before the rugby pitch. Two main beds of sunflower, birds move between the two. Excellent area in general, great site for bluethroat in august, as well as other passage birds.
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