Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Red Top & Gold Top

St Albans: Not my preferred choices of milk from the dairy aisle in Sainsbury’s but the variety of forehead/crown colours of the Lesser Redpolls (Carduelis cabaret) at the Watercress LNR in St Albans. It occurred to me at the weekend that I’d gone the whole winter without laying eyes on a Siskin or Redpoll. Shocking! The Hemel moors don’t stretch to such exotic finches, in spite of their relatively tempting mature Alder trees. Anyway, situation rectified with a visit to St Albans on Monday.


I didn’t have a lot of energy so it was a fairly brief stop. But, I do love these dinky little characterful finches. There were at least 10 Lesser Redpolls with Siskin (1+), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Kingfisher (1) and a variety of other Finches, Tits, Robins and Blackcaps around.

The interesting surprise was to see that at least one of the Lesser Redpolls had a Gold poll! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen or noticed that before but having googled extensively(!) and enquired of those far more knowledgeable than I am, it seems these things do happen but no-one quite knows why. Suggestions include diet (which is most likely - the phenomenon is more common in captive birds), age and gender (see BirdForum thread)

The Gold Top (left & centre) with a typical Red Top (right)

Some footage of the Red Top & the Gold Top


…And, one bird, properly showing off that red poll at the reserve in 2012


Other websites with photographs of gold/yellow/orangey topped Redpolls:

Finally, Mr Mistle is still singing his little heart out although yesterday he did spend much of the day subdued/silent. I hope he's not giving up and thinking of trying his luck elsewhere...

1 comment:

  1. Nice one Lucy - I really should have gone out today! Great redpoll shots!

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