Lesser Redpoll identification – WINTER is Coming!

From one of my favourite Chapters

Seriously. It was also one of the hardest to write. Six taxa, one of them scarcely known. A subject where strong opinions are aired, though usually generating more heat than light. It was never going to be easy. We created the ‘Redpoll Code’ to help the ID process. Now the test comes :).

The Spurn Migration Festival  seemed to herald the start of Lesser Redpolls moving down Britain’s East Coast. Their occurrence suggests a Scandinavian arrival. Perhaps as the autumn progresses we can expect more from even further north…

Meanwhile Flamborough has them passing through and occasionally stopping to feed almost every day at the moment. So here’s one of our Lessers to showcase some features,. Plus I managed a lovely sound recording last night from 2 of 6 birds which roosted with a large Linnet flock at Thornwick Reed Bed. And guess what?!!

(You’ll have to scroll down to see…)

Happy days for those who like to discover!

See if this works. From the ‘Redpoll Code’ in the Challenge Series: WINTER

Lesser Redpoll bit page 2 (1 of 1)

then see the bird below, which I photographed here last weekend.

  • Very buffy yellow background to streaking. I think that fits!
  • Nice buff/yellow wash on a section of the undertail- just a bit, but enough – classic for Lesser.

Lesser Redpoll j (1 of 1) Lesser Redpoll k (1 of 1) Lesser Redpoll g (1 of 1) Lesser Redpoll e (1 of 1) Lesser Redpoll d (1 of 1) Lesser Redpoll c (1 of 1)



BOOM! The Sonagram looks very similar/ identical to a Lesser Redpoll  I recorded at Spurn ages ago. It’s the one in the WINTER book. On these two Lesser Redpolls recorded several years apart the sonagram is not the same for the other Redpoll taxa. Similar to some but key differences in this contact ‘chatter’ call. Cool! You can see the sonagram of Lesser Redpoll from Spurn as well as the other taxa in the WINTER book.



Lesser Redpoll T Reed Bed 23 sept 2015



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  1. Pingback: Greenland Redpolls calls | Birding Frontiers

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