Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Verdict !!!

redpoll ssp.

No sign of the little blighter today though the brambling was back again, the bullfinches appeared as a pair and two tree sparrows was a nice bonus (don't think I've ever seen more than one in the garden before).

So back to matters in hand; the photo of the mystery redpoll was sent to Chris Batty at Rare Bird Alert who is one of the leading redpoll ID experts. His conclusion? I'm afraid he cannot identify it from the photograph. He thinks it is most likely a lesser redpoll but it's impossible to be certain, and apparently the only way to tell for sure is by netting it and taking some measurements.

I have to say after reading some extremely in-depth articles on the subject today I think it's the only possible conclusion to arrive at from that one photograph. Though the overall jizz still bugs me I read that the largest lesser redpolls are bigger than the smallest mealys, and there's such a variation in plumage at all times of year for both species that there's overlap in just about every feature. So I guess unless you're presented with a classic example that doesn't need debate, you can't be sure either way in cases like this. It's no wonder they were regarded as the same species until recently.

Verdict : Case Not Proven (Scotland)
                Not Guilty (England)

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