Magical Moments 2013 #13
What: an Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni that might have been a Hornemann’s or Icelandic Arctic or Coues’s Arctic …
Who: Paul Harvey, Roger Riddington and Richard Schofield
Where: Quendale Mill, South Mainland, Shetland
When: last full day of my autumn birding session on Shetland, Sunday 13th October 2013
Why: Because we don’t know what it is… exactly. Quendale has served me up with 3 finds with Roger and Paul: 3 Olive-backed Pipits and an American Buff-bellied Pipit. So it was a case of, joined by RS on my last day on Shetland, autumn 2013 and what would we find this time? Well, at the time we thought it most likely a young Hornemann’s. But assessing size was really hard; it was on it’s own. I managed no definite sound recordings which could have been very helpful. When it flew off, other redpolls appeared and confusion set in. Why was it so buffy down the flanks? It was clearly an ‘Arctic type’, but there are 3 you see 😉 Coues’s, Icelandic and Hornemann’s. Lovely photos of 1st winter Hornemann’s taken by Chris van Rijswijk in this month’s Birding World resurrected my confidence that it probably was a Hornemamn’s.
But I like it as a last farewell to 2013, because it keeps me humble and exploring and asking questions- even if I get it wrong or just plain get confounded by nature sometimes.
Never lose the wonder!
It’s also GOODBYE to this face of the Birding Frontiers blog, as – all being well – a new face, with new stuff and some new team will appear very soon to launch us into 2014…
So THANK YOU for visiting and contributing. We hope you have a very happy New Year and your hopes and dreams take off 2014.