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Mealy Redpoll West Mids (1 Viewer)

Edward

Umimmak
Anyone have a link to a good gallery of Iceland redpolls?

Not a particularly good gallery but here's a selection of Iceland Redpolls, http://myndir.fuglar.is/pictures.php?type=t&id=1037
but you'll discover that none of the birds shown here looks anything like the West Midlands bird. It should be remembered that the vast majority of Icelandic birds do not look like the Midlands bird and are fairly dark but amongst the pale types there are enough borderline cases to confuse us in Iceland. Whilst some may be vagrants, many are part of the local breeding population.
The link to David Sibley's page provided by Marcus Lawson further up (and here for convenience) http://sibleyguides.blogspot.com/2008/01/my-holiday-redpoll-photos.html
was a real eyeopener for me and the other Icelandic birders I've shown it to. If the birds in those pics are hoary-type (and I'm not for a moment doubting Sibley's ID skills) then the obvious conclusion for us in Iceland is that we should perhaps be a little less conservative about what we call Arctic Redpolls. It's no wonder that visiting Finnish and Swedish birders report Arctic Redpolls in Iceland in summer. On the other hand birders in Iceland are hesitant about calling anything other than an obvious hornemanni Arctic. I don't think the hoary-types in Sibley's blog would attract any attention at all in Iceland. As I said, a real eye opener.

It was an interesting day at my feeders on Saturday. I had the usual numbers of Redpolls in my garden, about 60-80 at the busiest, but for the first time this winter there were about a dozen paler types together. Most were just typical pale islandica but I think a case could have been made for 3-4 of them being Arctic Redpolls based on pictures of exilipes I've seen from Scandinavia and North America. One in particular appeared very large and pale, had a large white rump patch which was very finely streaked, completely white UTC, a warm buff face, and reasonably heavy streaking on the sides on a white background.
2-3 more (I had one eye on my seven-month old twins at my feet, so not sure if it was 2 or 3) were very pale grey birds, with fine streaking on the sides, unmarked white UTC, one had a very pale rose pink breast, another a very pale rose pink unstreaked rump.
Another was stone grey with virtually no brown tones at all, but was very heavily streaked above and below. Then there were several nice big brown rostrata-types.
The new link provided by Rob Stoff is very interesting as Yann Kolbeinsson came round to my house yesterday to try to ring a few and Yann's been using Troy's scale for a while when ringing Redpolls. Only four birds came in the net as it got a bit windy, all bog standard dark islandica scoring around 4-6 on Troy's scale, although one dark streaky bird did score 4 for its UTC, giving it 7 in total I think. Whilst we were waiting one pale bird toyed with us but didn't come into the net. It was perhaps one of the birds from the previous day and we couldn't really come up with any convincing reasons why it wasn't an exilipes, with very pale plumage, fine streaking on the sides, unstreaked white UTC, an apparently small bill (Yann's first comment was how small its bill was). Whatever it was, there's plenty of scope for more redpoll studies in Iceland.

E
 

Frenchy

Well-known member
Thanks for the info Edward. Perhaps, as others have said, the key to unlocking the redpolls lies in sorting out what is happening in your back garden! http://www.pbase.com/birdingiceland/image/77869233
Is it feasible that Arctic's are actually breeding in Iceland and going unidentified/misidentified as Commons, throwing everything into confusion? Or are redpolls just impossible...???

Alan Dean has made some good field notes on the Marsh Lane bird here http://www.deanar.btinternet.co.uk/general/passers/redpoll.htm for anyone that wants to read them and see another couple of pictures.
 

wolfbirder

Well-known member
managed to get back to marsh lane this pm, and whereas i had no luck seeing the bird on saturday during a 4 hour stake out, today at about 3pm i managed good views within a minute of arriving! It was feeding with 4 other redpolls, one of which definitely had a white rump! Not wishing to re-ignite the 2 bird theory but this was as interesting as seeing the target bird itself.
 

Mike Pennington

Registered Member
Hi all,

I've been away, although noted the discussion on this bird.

FWIW, I would probably slightly favour the pale Mealy theory at the moment (especially if the dark utcs photo is really this bird, although this seems unlikely as no other photos resemble it). It could be a first-winter female Arctic, as I do believe that they could be this dark, but the head looks wrong (in most photos!) - not just the big bill but also the greyish cast with mottled cheeks, not hollow cheeks. I think islandica is a long shot, if only because normal islandica don't look like this and because, as Edward points out, we don't really know what islandica is.

Trapping the bird may prove nothing at all, but the biometrics and ageing (and inhand photos) would be very instructive.

Really good discussion and links here. Interesting to note that, Sibley apart, US observers are very cautious about Hoary/Arctic. I'll have to go back and read the Sibley account again to see why I struggle to see Hoary/Arctics in his account.

If any billionaires out there would like a change from buying Premiership football teams and want to sponsor a study on redpolls in Iceland then please get in touch!
 
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dan pointon

Can't Stop
Recent pics on Birdguides show a good side profile of the bird. The large bill is obvious, and in my opinion fits better for Mealy than Arctic. Looking at the streaking on the UTCs on all of the pics, they are heavy in some, but even in the ones where they are fewer - is that streak on the longest UTC not too long and wide to be within the restraints of Arctic? That said the boundaries seem so blurry that that could be total b*****ks!!
 

Steve Seal

Well-known member
Hi Mike
Thanks for your comments.
Here are three more unpublished images.
Steve .........
 

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dave123

Well-known member
reading sibleys blog (commons have two white streaks down back) marsh lane bird clearly shows this?
 

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stuart winter

My Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Cups at WHL
Has anyone photographs of North American Common Redpolls. Do they differ in
the field from Mealies?


S
 
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JANJ

Well-known member
It might be worth noting Sibley´s caution note in his last comments on his blog.

"I see a lot of blog visitors coming from "across the pond", where there is a very interesting ongoing discussion of a pale redpoll on Birdforum and the Surfbirds forum. I'm sure it hardly needs to be said, but I would be cautious about applying ID criteria from one side of the ocean to the other. These birds are regionally variable - and the species differences we are talking about are so slight - that a small shift in the average paleness of one population will confuse the issue. The questions are basically the same, but the precise details of the answer may be different in Europe and North America. Just something to keep in mind."

I wonder if Troy in Auk (1985), refered to and available by Sibley as a pdf file, considered the age factor in his study?

JanJ
 

Dave Hutton

Warwickshire Birder
Just a thought (Slap me doen if i'm wrong!) most of the photos (this side of the pond & over there)all tend to show that small bill with pushed in face (even if thats a feathering effect) even with the longer billed birds? (With Arctic that is)
 

dave123

Well-known member
Just a thought (Slap me doen if i'm wrong!) most of the photos (this side of the pond & over there)all tend to show that small bill with pushed in face (even if thats a feathering effect) even with the longer billed birds? (With Arctic that is)

not all that ive seen.looked at so many photos at so many sites so can't remember where but a page of just arctic redpoll heads and the bill show a range of longer billed birds.
 

Dave Hutton

Warwickshire Birder
not all that ive seen.looked at so many photos at so many sites so can't remember where but a page of just arctic redpoll heads and the bill show a range of longer billed birds.

Dave,

JanJ posted on post #19 photos of Mealy/Arctic head shots & most if not all the Arctics show that pushed in jizz! compared to the Common/Mealy polls

Dave
 

dave123

Well-known member
Dave,

JanJ posted on post #19 photos of Mealy/Arctic head shots & most if not all the Arctics show that pushed in jizz! compared to the Common/Mealy polls

Dave

just looked back at janj post thats not the one ive seen, a similar one with whole page mealys/ common and a whole page of arctics.
 

CORVUS1

CORVUS1
Baffled

This debate is going way over my head. So i am waiting for a conclusion to it, if there ever is one.
The bird that I saw was pure white on the underside untill the wind blew the plumage up causing a shadow effect.I have posted a few pics on the site below. Having seen Lees pics with the darker area near the vent, It appears to me to be a different bird but as mentioned before why haven't they been seen together.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72057594082807022/detail/

Paul
 
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