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Whoops ... At our home at the southern end of Snake Mountain, Cornwall 
.......  Ian

On 3/31/2011 4:40 PM, Ian Worley wrote:
> This afternoon a flock of 32 Redpolls found our feeders and were busy 
> on the feeders and the ground underneath for at least 30 minutes.  Of 
> late we've only seen one or two Redpolls every couple of days or so.
>
> In this group was one very noticeably larger bird.  I'd love to have 
> some thoughts from those who know about the larger Redpolls of what it 
> may be.  When I first glanced at a Niger seed feeder and saw it filled 
> with Redpolls, I was quite startled by a clearly larger bird, which I 
> then realized was indeed also a Redpoll.  I later watched for several 
> minutes the bird in a group of 25 or so birds on the ground.  It 
> generally stayed near the edge of the group.
>
> The body length appeared 15-20% larger than that of the other 
> Redpolls.  This was especially noticeable as they sat on the perches 
> of the feeder.  The body volume was really quite noticeably larger ... 
> maybe 50% or more larger.  Seemed pudgy compared with the other Redpolls.
>
> The body striping was bold and extended well up the neck to a well 
> defined dark necklace.  The face was darker than that of the other 
> Redpolls and there was a hint of patterning in the malars.  The body 
> striping seemed blackish with a very slight touch of brown perhaps; 
> the dark parts of the back likewise had a very slight tint of warming 
> brown; and the face likewise had a faint brownness.  All this being 
> the case, the overall appearance of the bird was that it was slightly 
> lighter in coloration than the other Redpolls, i.e. lightly frosted.
>
> Other than the crown, there was no red coloration anywhere.  Notably, 
> the crown was distinctly more brown than red, and most evidently less 
> bright and showy than the crowns of any other Redpoll in the flock.
>
> Any thoughts on species/variety would be appreciated.
>
> By the way, one of the other Redpolls with no red tinting of the 
> breast was striped as the others, but distinctly cream colored on the 
> breast, belly, and flanks.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Ian