With all the Redpolls around lately, some "questionable" ones were bound to
show up and yesterday Chip Darmstadt and I were looking at just such a
redpoll while visiting the Varied Thrush (and Don & June) in Bolton. The
bird was extremely pale, significantly so when compared to the other
redpolls at the feeders. Hoary Redpolls are certainly paler, but how would
one distinguish a leucistic or well-worn Common Redpoll from a Hoary?
Streaking was present along the flanks, a characteristic of Common Redpoll.
Also, Chip remarked how the pale redpoll has uniformly pale flight feathers,
as would a worn, bleached out looking gull. Sibley has blogged a lot about
Redpoll ID and in all of his posts, the tertials and secondaries of Hoary
Redpolls have pale edging but are not uniformly pale, as they are on this
bird. I wish I had gotten a better photo showing the rump, but I can't
recall whether it was streaked or not. I find the evidence that this is an
aberrant Common Redpoll somewhat convincing, but I'd appreciate any thoughts
and insights about this bird.
Photos can be found at:
Sibley's Redpoll blog posts:
Youth Birding Coordinator
North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm St.
Montpelier, VT 05602
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