Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Not-So-Common Common Redpoll

After seeing the Long-tailed Duck--which everyone was excited about--we were pretty satisfied, and not feeling so bad about not seeing a Snowy Owl.  As we walked back down the pier, the girls pointed out some small finch-like birds in the weeds along the shore.  Once again binoculars went up, and I hurried over with my camera.

(Remember, click on an image to see a slide show of full-sized images!  They look much better bigger.)

Well, the day got better still!  There among the milkweed was a small flock of Common Redpolls!

I had only seen this bird once before, during our second winter here in Pinckney.  We had a good sized flock--15 to 20 birds--show up at our feeders for several weeks in January.  This was so much better, seeing them in a more natural habitat.

They were quite intent on eating and didn't pay much attention to us.

The female lacks the purple-ish breast of her male counterpart.

Redpolls are a winter visitor to Michigan, breeding in the sub-arctic regions far to our north.  Food supply determines how far south they venture, and so they are often a highly desired bird of those keeping a list.  I was thrilled to get to see them again.

Redpolls are fairly nondescript it until you see them head on.  I just love their rosy foreheads and yellow bills.

This little lady paused to check me out, her sweet face hidden behind the stem.

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