The highlights yesterday were not possible to photograph, but this morning was a different subject. I am used to seeing the small Siskins on the feeders along with the Goldfinches, and as I looked out this morning I thought I was watching two females. Then they turned and showed a bright red forehead. I immediately rushed for the camera, there were Lesser Redpolls in the garden. Not a first ever but the first for some time, the last was in February 2012.
The Lesser Redpoll is the smallest, brownest, and most streaked of the redpolls. It is sometimes classified as a subspecies of the Common Redpoll but has recently was split from that species by the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU).
But for now it remains a Lesser Redpoll, and there were four males in the garden this morning which was very welcome. Interestingly while the Redpolls were present there was no sign of the Siskins.
I have not seen Lesser Redpolls in the area for at least two years, with the last sighting being of a calling bird in Old Down Wood. The less milder temperatures, and the fact that there has been no work in the woods recently probably contributing to the return.
As soon as they arrived they were gone, and then another red topped bird appeared, this time a female Blackcap, not seen since the middle of February it was nice to have her back.
The garden continues to be the place to see the local wildlife, but not for too much longer I hope