Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Wednesday 16th December
Another fine frosty start, I noticed Redwings moving about as soon as I stepped out of my door in South St, Barming. Most were dipping in and out of a Holly Tree near the top of the road, I tried to get a few photos, but I needed to move on as I was already running 10 minutes late. As usual I scanned the surronding shrubs and trees to increase the daily species count, I can usually manage 9 or 10 by the time I reach the A26.
In a Silver Birch I picked out 2x Chaffinches and a Redwing, and then 2x Goldfinch flew in, a bonus species on this stretch and then another, slightly smaller bird...a Redpoll! This is the first time I'd seen one in this area of the patch despite regularly scanning the Italian Alder windbreaks that are prevalent in the surronding orchards. It was feeding quite contently on it's own, so I managed to get good views, my immediate impression was Mealy (Common). It looked bulky (although it was about -4.C so may have been fluffed up!), clean with no evidence of any buff wash across the breast or flanks. It had pale/grey cheeks and bold, broad well-defined streaks along the flanks. The wing bar was prominient and very pale. Face-on it looked pretty mean, bulging eyes with bull-neck and broad black bib and very dark lores. It was quite high in the tree but I spent about 10 minutes trying to get some photos, a selection of the better ones (!) below. I'm happy to call Common, but welcome comments/discussion (firstname.lastname@example.org). Seems to be the winter of Redpolls for me this year-I do tend to latch onto species!
Running very late now I effectively ran the rest of the way into work, not adding much more to my morning total; although 6x Black-headed Gulls sitting in the Redstart pub car park was another first, and a Little Egret fly-over Kiln Barn Road was a real bonus. I was 10 minutes late for work!