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Sunday, 7 January 2018

Return of The Redpolls - turn of the year, 2017/18

For a number of years now, we've been fortunate enough to have Lesser Redpolls visiting our garden each winter. Their numbers vary considerably, with small flocks of 8 birds being recorded several times.

I was concerned that this winter we might not be so lucky due to the noisy building work going on adjacent to our garden. I was, therefore, delighted when the first of these birds of this winter appeared on December 27th. The situation was probably helped by building work being on hold for the Christmas period from 22nd December to 3rd January.

From 30th December we were getting a pair of these delightful small birds visiting us on a daily basis, and they are still with us as I write this. I have not yet managed to get any shots that I'm fully satisfied with, and the female is proving to be less obliging than the male. Here, however, are a few that I've managed to grab so far.

Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) (female + male) - our garden on 30th December, 2017

Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) (male) - our garden on 30th December, 2017
Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) (female) - our garden on 31st December, 2017


Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) (male) - our garden on 31st December, 2017
Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) (female) - our garden on 4th January, 2018
Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret) (male) - our garden on 5th January, 2018
I'm now hoping to get some better images, and also hoping that the number visiting us increases. The weather, however, has not been playing ball of late.

2018, Week 01 - 1st to 7th January
GARDEN RECORDS

For a number of years now, I've been keeping a daily record of the birds that set foot in our garden. In the past, I've shown a table in the right-hand column of this blog, showing the species that arrive in our garden for a particular year, the date they first arrived, and the maximum number seen at any one time. This fell into disuse last year so this year I intend to append, on a regular basis, a copy of the table I produce each week that summarises the garden sightings. Whether or not I keep this up remains to be seen! Week 01 of 2018, has been quite a good one for us from the point of view of variety of species arriving.

We do have some consternation at having seen a Hedgehog on two consecutive nights - it should be tucked away for the winter. I am continuing to monitor that situation, with two trail cameras set up for night operation.

Thank you for dropping by. I have done little photography of late, with my main lens being away at Sigma for repair. My substitute lens is more of a handicap than I remembered! I have, therefore, no idea at all as to what the subject of my next post will be!

27 comments:

  1. A cracking set of images Richard. Not an easy bird to see and photograph so you have done very well with these.

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    1. We're quite lucky with these birds in these parts, Marc. I really should adjust the position of my feeders to give me better photo opportunities. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  2. The redpolls are so sweet.... beautiful portraits. Your table brings back wonderful memories of our backyard birding before we sold our Oregon home to travel. I used to write down the ones we saw, but not the #s ... Though we are not traveling full time any longer, sadly we really can't have bird feeders at either of our homes (and in any case we are away from Oregon in the winter when they need feeders)

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    1. I don't keep sighting records of birds outside our garden, Sallie, other than owls. I find my garden records useful, however, as it gives me an indication of changes taking place - and we've seen some significant changes over the past few years! I feed the birds all year round. Although there's a peak in food consumption in the winter months, we get an equal peak during the breeding season when the birds are feeding youngsters.

      Thank you for your visit. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  3. Great little bird to have visit your garden, Richard. Here we have to wait for an irruption year to see redpolls, and I think we are overdue! If I am not mistaken, Lesser Redpoll is no longer considered a valid species, having been re-merged with Common Redpoll. In North America Lesser Redpoll was never accepted by taxonomic authorities as a separate species, and there is now considerable discussion as to whether Arctic Redpoll should also be blended in with Common Redpoll to form but one species, with several subspecies. I think that some questions of taxonomy will never be definitively resolved!

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    1. Maybe DNA will give the answer!!

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    2. I shall be quite happy if our Redpolls are not considered to be 'lesser' any more! To me they're little fiesty gems.

      Not being a 'lister' outside of the garden situation, David, I'm not overfussed about splits of species/races, etc. For me, it's interesting if the various birds look significantly different - and in the case of the Redpolls they do to varying degrees! My love to you and Miriam - - - Richard

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  4. Excellent, I have never seen one so thank you, a beautiful bird.

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    1. They're always an absolute delight to see, Adrian - smaller than a Goldfinch. I once converted to black & white a photo I'd taken of a Siskin and a Redpoll - in b&w I couldn't see a difference!

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  5. Nice birds - regardless of their taxonomic status! Hope all is well.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. What's in a name, Stewart? They're super little birds! Best wishes - - - Richard

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  6. Hi Richard! I Love those birds! Here are too, lot of them;-) Greetings

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    1. Hello, Anne. We do not have many of these birds near my home - I wish we did as I think they are beautiful! Best wishes - - - Richard

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  7. Oh Richard, I am green with envy!!
    That is passerine bird I would really love to see and photograph, and... you have in the your garden!
    What a lovely set of images, congrats!
    All the best my friend and enjoy this new week

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    1. I should not have tempted fate by publishing this post yesterday, Noushka - today I have not seen a Redpoll! However, I was compensated by a Brambling visiting us instead. We get Brambling most winters - but not many!

      Your good wishes seem to work, thank you - this evening I had a Barn Owl come and check me out at a distance of about 5 metres. Just two problems, however - it was already dark and a car came round the bend with headlights blazing and frightened it off about three seconds after it landed!

      Have a great week yourself and enjoy your travels - - - Richard

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  8. Great set of images Richard. Never had even a common Redpoll visit the garden.
    Hope you get your lense back soon

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    1. I don't know a lot about Redpolls, Doug, but I have been under the impression that the usual Redpoll in these parts was 'Lesser' and that 'Common' was relatively rare, so have just presumed that what I was seeing was 'Lesser', whilst keeping my eyes open for something that 'looked a bit different'. It seems, according to David G. that I don't have to bother now as they are all lumped together!

      Sigma say my lens should be back by the end of the week - fingers are crossed!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  9. Wonderful images Richard, the Redpoll is magnificent to get, well sighted.

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    1. Thank you, Bob. They weren't difficult to spot, in spite of their small size. I thought that we had lost them yesterday, but one has already been back again today.

      Best wishes - - Richard

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  10. What a fabulous little bird and not one I have ever seen, Of course great photos for us all to enjoy as well.

    Belated Happy New Year. We have both been so ill since returning from the UK at Christmas that I have not even lifted up my Nikon, but I did catch a sunset with the little camera a couple of nights back.

    Take care best wishes Diane

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    1. Hi Diane. A Heppy New Year to you too!

      I'm very sorry to hear that you and Nigel have been so unwell. I hope the new medication continues to help you to recover.

      Your sunset shots are magnificent!

      Take good care, and get well soon. Best wishes - - - Richard

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  11. Espectacular reportaje y buena información, me ha gustado mucho. La primera foto, la número cuatro ampliada es magnífica. Enhorabuena Richard, saludos desde España.

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    1. Gracias por sus amables palabras, Germán. Esta es una especie de ave que me gusta especialmente. Con mis mejores deseos - - - Richard

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  12. What a fantastic Garden Tick,and to have 22 garden visitors in 7days.
    John.

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    1. I'm pleased to say that the pair of Redpoll are still with us, John. The 22 species in a week is a bit exceptional - depending on tomorrow, I suspect that we'' be down to 19 species for this week. With my very best wishes to you and Sue - - Richard

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  13. Hello Richard
    great photos, beautiful details first-class macros
    Greetings frank

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    1. Thank you, Frank, for your kind words. Best wishes - - - Richard

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