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Juncos were getting too easy for ya'll, so here are some redpolls for a change. I obtained these first three photos before the flock flew, which show a bird I'm pretty positive is a female Hoary. Paler overall, very weak flank streaking, what appears to be a white rump (The angle isn't great though), a fairly clean undertail (only two small streaks), and rather subjective and variable but what appears to be a very small bill. Thanks in advance!

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After 15 minutes or so, another birder and I relocated the flock, and possible the same bird (He didn't get on it the first time, so this is the reason I ask about the next set of photos)

Check out that tiny bill in the first photo!

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4 minutes ago, Avery said:

I'm not convinced that's the rump. I think it's the flared flanks that we are seeing. Everything else about the bird seems like a Common to me.

First set of photos, or all of them? Yeah, it’s hard to get rump views when they’re foraging on Alders.

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Yeah, I guess I'm running into another situation where I need to raise my standards again...wish I could find an obvious white Hoary. I see what you mean about the flared feathers @Avery, and I think you may be right...these middle ground redpolls are getting on my nerves

7 minutes ago, meghann said:

If I'm not mistaken, you're looking for an unstreaked vent, not rump. Just being pedantic.

I'm a little confused, I think ideally the rump is streak free, as are the undertail coverts (Though I think a few small streaks are allowed). Isn't the vent further forward on the bird? I'm not great with avian anatomy though.

10 minutes ago, meghann said:

 

Some of these look awfully streaky on the sides to me, although the 5th photo is suspect.

Yeah, FYI photo 5 is the same as 4 and 6. To me they look darker than the first 3, but I dunno. I think I just need to find a good Greenland hornemanni Hoary.

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5 minutes ago, Birding Boy said:

Yeah, I guess I'm running into another situation where I need to raise my standards again...wish I could find an obvious white Hoary. I see what you mean about the flared feathers @Avery, and I think you may be right...these middle ground redpolls are getting on my nerves

I'm a little confused, I think ideally the rump is streak free, as are the undertail coverts (Though I think a few small streaks are allowed). Isn't the vent further forward on the bird? I'm not great with avian anatomy though.

Yeah, FYI photo 5 is the same as 4 and 6. To me they look darker than the first 3, but I dunno. I think I just need to find a good Greenland hornemanni Hoary.

I was taught it's vent and undertail coverts should have no streaks, but could be wrong. And Cornell says no streaks on the uc coverts, but my actual bird guides are in the car.

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8 minutes ago, Birding Boy said:

 Isn't the vent further forward on the bird? I'm not great with avian anatomy though.

Yeah, but it's like. . .right there. I tend to lump them together, although now someone can be pedantic at ME about that, because they're technically different. Lol. I just don't run into birds where the vent is colored/marked differently than the UC coverts.

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7 minutes ago, meghann said:

I was taught it's vent and undertail coverts should have no streaks, but could be wrong. And Cornell says no streaks on the uc coverts, but my actual bird guides are in the car.

Sibley’s shows 3 UTC/vent streaks, here’s one eBird used for the species page that has a few. It’s an otherwise obvious one though. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/287403361

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Hoaries  can have “max” 2/3 streaks in the UnTC, and should have a white rump. I believe that even females should show some frostiness on the back and wing coverts. 
 

the bill is on the small side, but I never use the bill as a diagnostic feature. Too many things can influence the appearance. 

21 minutes ago, Birding Boy said:

I think I just need to find a good Greenland hornemanni Hoary.

Good luck. They are way rarer than exilipes. They would be much larger and way paler than this bird. 

Edited by Avery
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23 minutes ago, Birding Boy said:

I think you may be right...these middle ground redpolls are getting on my nerves

 

Tell me about it! I was searching through flocks of hundreds, that were constantly moving, mixing with buntings and larks… a nightmare and heaven at the same time!

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Thanks for the help all. I also put it on the winter Finch Facebook page, and Matt Young said it looked “good, but not 100% sure) 🤷🏻‍♂️ I guess I’ll put this one to a slash at some point today, or at least until I can get some conclusive rump shots. I agree that this bird totally isn’t your typical obvious frosty redpoll. 

Edited by Birding Boy
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10 hours ago, Avery said:

Tell me about it! I was searching through flocks of hundreds, that were constantly moving, mixing with buntings and larks… a nightmare and heaven at the same time!

Hey, at least if they’re in an open field...flight shots and rump shots 😉

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