Sunday, 6 February 2011

1st February 2011 - Redpolls, Redpolls, Redpolls

There were loads of Redpoll at Henman Basecamp, the National Trust bunkhouse in Broadmoor, last week so on Tuesday morning I set up a single 40ft for two hours.  The result was amazing with the first net round resulting in 35 Redpoll, two Blackbird (inc. a continental female - below), two Marsh Tit and three Great Tit! Whilst extracting there were still at least another 50 Redpoll in the tree tops above me.
The second round was less productive producing just another two Marsh Tit (below - note the distinctive pale edge to the mandibles which separate from the all black Willow Tit) and a Goldcrest, but no more Redpoll!
Out of the 35 Redpoll two were Lessers that I had previously ringed on New Year's Eve about 1km away on Duke's Warren, Leith Hill, while the rest were new including THREE Commons.  The first (below) was significantly bigger, had a more Lesser-type plumage colouring and had a wing length of 80mm, whilst the following two looked typically Common with generally grey and white plumage and wing lengths of 75mm.

Looking at Svensson, the combination of features of the first bird matched either ssp. rostrata or islandica (Greenland/Iceland populations) of Common Redpoll which are on average even bigger than Arctic Redpoll.  When released this bird flew down onto a log and then a series of short distances through the woodland keeping very much to the ground flora unlike the other two Commons and all the Lessers, which flew straight up to the tops of the trees.  According to Birds of the Western Palearctic one of the characteristics of these subspecies is that they are far more terrestrial, compared to ssp. flammea or Lesser Redpoll which are much more arboreal.  Any comments greatly appreciated.

Birds ringed:
Lesser Redpoll - 30
Common Redpoll - 3
Great Tit - 3
Marsh Tit - 4
Blackbird - 2
Goldcrest - 1

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a good day Sam. I managed a couple of pics of a redpoll at Warnham about 15 sec. before a sparrowhawk took it.