Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Mealy Redpoll - an interestingly different species of redpoll

Last weekend (Jan 20th) Andy M noticed that a slightly different redpoll had joined the regular group of Lesser Redpolls on the feeders.  Very similar in many respects to the regulars, and sharing the characteristic red forehead and black bib, this new visitor was noticeably paler than the usual redpolls.  Recognising the wide variation in redpoll plumage, Andy emailed a detailed description and photographs to the Cambridgeshire County Bird Recorder, who confirmed the new arrival as a Mealy Redpoll.  Many older books considered these to all be variants or races of the Common Redpoll, but in 2001 two distinct species were recognised - namely Mealy Redpoll (Acanthis flammea) and Lesser Redpoll (Acanthis cabaret).

The Mealy Redpoll appears generally paler, and slightly larger and more 'fluffed-up'. Underparts are more white (rather than buff), with only a few small diffuse streaks on the flanks and, in this male, a pale pink-red breast and throat.  Upper parts appear more greyish-brown than the Lesser Redpoll, with a distinctive white 'tramline' down the centre of the back.  The wings are longer, with wing bars appearing broader and white, rather than buff, and the white rump is often streaked with pale pink.  An interesting addition to the winter flock of mixed finches and redpolls.

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The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=213774935674882866424.00000111dca2be9f06ab8&z=13>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871 or Peter Brunning via e-mail peter.brunning@cantab.net.

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (amerryweather61@gmail.com)