Sunday, 11 December 2011

A toast to Redpolls

A short blog to share some pictures of some Lesser Redpolls we've been catching at our Dartmoor site.

Tail and primary tips of a bird born this year
Tail and primary tips of an adult
You can see from the pictures above how much fun it can be to age these birds: in effect you're looking for evidence of wear on the tips of the tail feathers and primaries. You'll also notice the broad fringes and darker base-colour of the adult bird's feathers: this is basically due to the better quality feathers that adults grow, compared with the feathers that young birds grow in the nest.

A nice crisp adult (perhaps a female) with a good hint of a pale rump.

A particularly dark young bird with very pale retained greater coverts (the white feather-tips across the wing)

A full-on adult male, ringed in 2010 at a nearby site by a friend, and retrapped by us recently. Not the best picture, unfortunately, but he was pink everywhere: cheeks, chin, rump, breast, flanks... smart.

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