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Another redpolls - arctic ? (1 Viewer)

Michał Jaro

Well-known member
here are the pictures
 

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CARERY

Well-known member
Hi Michal,

I'm doubtful that anyone could/would give you a definitiv ID for these birds. Some days ago I observed a few very pale Redpolls myself and I'm still not completely convinced they were Arctic Redpolls even if I'm probably going to report them as such.
As you know there obviously is a great controversy concerning Arctic vs Mealy Redpoll ID. After reading many sources I'm not sure whether there is any reliable, widely accepted feature at all to tell them apart esp. when such borderline birds are involved. You linked some of the sources in your last Redpoll-threat yourself. Some people only "count" really classic individuals and others are more progressive. The Swedish just have lumped them into all beeing A. flammea ssp. again... This year seems to be a irruption into Europe. Many of these paler Redpolls among them. In Poland alone this autumn many birds have been determined as Arctic Redpolls: http://www.ornitho.pl/index.php?m_id=30054 I doubt that all of them looked perfectly frosty white. If looking at photos in the web it is the same in Germany, the Netherlands...

Where do they come from? Who knows... possibly from Tundra habitats were they hybridise with ssp. exilipes or possibly the more Northern birds are just paler?

Personally I think you birds look good for Arctic but how can you be sure? Maybe after all they are just one species that becomes successively paler towards North and East?
 

KenM

Well-known member
I think these images are a prime example of why there is so much confusion regarding this taxa Michael! Some might lean towards white rumped Common Redpoll (A.flammea), or in the 4th image a drab Arctic, not helped by the fact that these images were shot on a gloomy/dull day. I think perhaps shooting on a bright sunny day...might help?

Cheers
 

Maturin

Active member
Hi Michal,

I'm doubtful that anyone could/would give you a definitiv ID for these birds. Some days ago I observed a few very pale Redpolls myself and I'm still not completely convinced they were Arctic Redpolls even if I'm probably going to report them as such.
As you know there obviously is a great controversy concerning Arctic vs Mealy Redpoll ID. After reading many sources I'm not sure whether there is any reliable, widely accepted feature at all to tell them apart esp. when such borderline birds are involved. You linked some of the sources in your last Redpoll-threat yourself. Some people only "count" really classic individuals and others are more progressive. The Swedish just have lumped them into all beeing A. flammea ssp. again... This year seems to be a irruption into Europe. Many of these paler Redpolls among them. In Poland alone this autumn many birds have been determined as Arctic Redpolls: http://www.ornitho.pl/index.php?m_id=30054 I doubt that all of them looked perfectly frosty white. If looking at photos in the web it is the same in Germany, the Netherlands...

Same opinion here. The fact that these "species" blend into one another both phenotypically and even more aggravating genetically doesn't help much with this problem.

If you however have to make a decision on one of these birds and somehow can't state them as Acanthis sp. I would personally go for the more conservative and safer decision - in this case the more frequent occurring flammea. If you just want to add an Arctic Redpoll to your personal list I would go safely too and only tick birds which are undoubtedly Arctic. In my opinion nothing is more unsatisfying than adding one of these "probable" Arctics to my list (which I wouldn't).
 

Michał Jaro

Well-known member
Many thanks for your opinions. It is not my intention to forcing arctic redpolls ;). I just wonna to learn something and know when it's certain arctic. I understand that 1-4 birds are not clearly visible. But 5 ? Bill - very very thin in my eyes. I thought that such a bill almost disclaims flamea. And there's second feature - white rump. What is wrong? Side streaks- does't exclude arctic .. or exclude? Bird is fluffy - like arctic ? I am asking you for a few more explanations.
I watched abotu 100 birds, and many of them had quite white rump. A few -very wide white rump. I add a photo.
 

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dantheman

Bah humbug
Woud they have had pure white rumps in the field? In the photos they don't appear to be pure white to me - with any darker markings present being blurred by the low light/motion. Crystal-clear pics would probaby be required to tell if they really were pure white ... ???
 

Michał Jaro

Well-known member
This is probably my best photo - one of these birds.
 

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KenM

Well-known member
Some amazing images there Michael!! The majority of which show white rumps to a greater, or lesser, extent.
I'd have thought it unlikely (right or wrong) for such a high incidence of A.flammea sporting white rumps, also where the heads are turned, they often appear to show contrastingly pale heads, therefore I might tentatively suggest, that there is an exilipes contingent within that flock.

Cheers
 

CARERY

Well-known member
Hi Michal,

remarkable pictures of the flying flock! Illustrates well how many birds are involved that are borderline or indeed Arctic. Today just for fun I was checking trektellen.nl for observations of Arctic Redpolls and was more than surprised that at Ventes Ragas (Lithuania) alone there have been more than 100 Arctic Redpolls ringed this autumn (http://trektellen.nl/species/records/0/0/413/0/2017?g=&l=&k=). Question is how strict they have been in IDing them? It is without doubt a large influx of these pale birds with a good chance of finding a 100% Arctic. So far, the best candiate for me in your first set of pics is #1 due to general frosty colouration and light-pinkish brest and rump (adult male). But no UTC visible so not safe I guess... #5 to me looks too dark-backed despite the nicely short bill.

Anyway, how these borderline birds will be treated in avifaunistic reports I'm afraid will be up to the respective rarity committee members.
 

Michał Jaro

Well-known member
Really funny ! and very intersting too.
After reading I think 'my' birds are not so far from arctic.
One thing i can say about that flock. My impression was that suspiciously bright birds stayed together (small groups).
Thanks a lot for all your help with this not-easy birds
Good lesson for future, because it's not over with redpolls. ;)
greetings
 
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