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Redpoll - Common or Hoary - from Jan 2021

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January 16, 2021, our local Audubon monthly bird walk was on a public hiatus for covid reasons but three of us board members went out to count birds anyway to keep up with several years worth of monthly reporting for the same location.

We encountered a fast moving flock of Common Redpoll, and have at least one that seems much lighter. It is a blustery day, poor light and cold temps, which didn't help. My companion had some with the other birds in the brush. Mine are closer up, but I've had to lighten it enough that I don't trust the true color.

They were there and gone in a flash, but we got a handful of mostly blurry shots or cut off shots. I posted it to the ABA FB ID group and got two likely Hoary comments, can't remember if I posted it here but don't see a thread started by me about it, but then/now can't remember if my local eBird reviewer shot it down but I did add it to a report, as at some point I dropped it off but the person I was with has not. I figured, well eventually they will merge them in together again and it will all be for naught. Anyway, trip down memory lane today when I helped a friend ID a Snail Kite in GA and tripped over my old ID question.

Thought it was worth taking another look. The flock and birds were all moving fast, so I had a couple of shots of the bird that was so light but they may not be the same bird.



2. this shot is the most likely candidate IMHO.



3. Prob not clear enough to be diagnostic.



Group shots 4.



5. This one you can see how it caught our eye.




The eBird report.


Anyway, I know this one is a tough to ID bird and don't really expect a different outcome, but I always appreciate your opinions. Cheers!


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Ooo, fun, redpolls 😁

1. I think this one has a few too many undertail covert streaks, and very dark and bold flank streaking, to be a Hoary. Looks fine for an adult female common to me.

2. The flank streaking on this one is less bold, but I wouldn’t call it unless there are undertail and or rump shots showing very little or no streaking. A profile view would help too, I can’t tell how pale this bird is, but it does look to be on the more Hoary end of the spectrum.

3. Male Common Redpoll. Dark concentrated rose coloration on the breast, and two or more large dark streaks on the Undertail coverts. Here’s a pic (not mine) showing the average male Hoary, and how limited the rosy coloration on the breast is. https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/309987441

4. commons for me. All look pretty dark.

5. Ditto. Think the paler one is the same bird as #3. Also note the super bold and dark flank streaking, something male Hoary’s really don’t have.

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15 hours ago, okaugust said:

Awesome thanks! I knew it would be a long shot pun intended, with really not enough shots or good looks at individual birds, but worth another opinion. Cheers!

I agree with you that #2 is the most likely candidate and could well be a Hoary, but agree with Birding Boy that with only that one photo, it’s best not to call it.

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17 hours ago, AlexHenry said:

I agree with you that #2 is the most likely candidate and could well be a Hoary, but agree with Birding Boy that with only that one photo, it’s best not to call it.

Thanks! 🙂

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