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Friday, December 23, 2005

Mealy Redpoll at Baston/Langtoft GP

© Josh Jones
Mealy Redpoll, or Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea) as it is formally known by the BOU, is a rare winter visitor to the PBC area with most records coming from Woodwalton/Holme Fen area where it is a near annual visitor. Most Redpolls you are likely to encounter in the Britain are Lesser Redpolls (Carduelis carbaret) which appear browner than their pale continental cousins.

“Mealies” often appear quite bull necked and bulkier than Lesser Redpolls. Mealy Redpolls also sport white wing bars rather than the buff brown tones of Lesser Redpolls, there are however variations in both species which can cause confusion. Mealy Redpolls also have a pale, streaked rump with white markings often creeping up the back; male Mealy Redpolls also seem pinker on the breast than male Lessers.

At least four Mealy Redpolls were present in a flock of Lesser Redpolls and Siskins just before Christmas at Baston/Langtoft GP as well as 3 currently at Woodwalton. There have been only a handful of records for the Deepings area in the past few years, with Baston Fen seeming an occasional favourite but one bird even turned up in a Deeping St James garden in 2004!

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