Mealy. Really?!

This morning me and my mate Andy took the bus up to Ulley Reservoir for one of the trickier birding challenges, which is redpoll ID, specifically looking for some of then mealy redpolls that had been recently reported hanging around the reservoir’s flock of lessers.

We got there just after 9am, and got straight on to a rather handsome male brambling on the feeders. Sadly the lighting was pretty poor and so, despite its posing I only managed the shot below, but it’s still the best brambling shot I’ve managed so far! (Search my Flickr account for bramblings… it’s scary.)


Squinting at a few redpolls that rather rudely refused to become anything other than lessers, we carried on around the res, picking up a few good bits and bobs including a drake goldeneye, a willow tit and a skein of 150 or so pink-footed geese overhead. Eventually we found the main redpoll flock and it was time to squint. After careful scrutiny at least two revealed themselves as mealies – a smidge larger, with a frosty base colour with contrasting black streaks on the flank and rump, white wing bars, very pale undertail coverts, and little beige on the head apart from a splodge on the ear coverts. Despite some of these features being fairly subtle, they did stand out quite well, making the lessers seem rather dingy in comparison. Sadly due to the same poor light that thwarted the brambling shot, led to these sorry excuses for photos, but hopefully a few of the features can be picked up…

Mealy Redpoll (just about) Mealy Redpoll (Just about!) Mealy Redpoll (just about)

A few yellowhammers around the feeders were nice as we left the Res, but hungry for more birding action we decided to head for Pit-House West and Rother Valley, and after working out the bus timetable, and realising we’d just missed one, we decided it was probably quicker to walk. About half an hour later we were at Pit-house West, which had virtually nothing worth reporting, bar another willow tit on the path towards the boating lake.

At RVCP the sun came out and the waterfowl were playing, meaning I could rescue this blog post from being a total photographic disaster…

Great Crested Grebe Mute Swan Wigeon Goosander

Highlights were the usual waterfowl, nothing out of the ordinary but stuff that was always nice to see, such as goosander, goldeneye, wigeon, teal, great crested grebe etc, plus a buzzard, a redshank, lapwing and siskin.


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My name is Pete

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