11th November

In lovely quiet, bright conditions there was a small resurgence in late passage today. There were no particular surprises amongst what was on off but the Bill came up with creditable totals 350 Wood Pigeons, 220 Chaffinches, 12 each of Brambling and Siskin, and 11 Redpolls, along with single figure totals of a decent range of other November regulars; the Siberian Lesser Whitethroat also remained there. Limited coverage elsewhere came up with 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers and 2 Firecrests at Avalanche Road, whilst the Black Brant put in another appearance at Ferrybridge.

After what's been a really duff autumn for Firecrests it was a slight surprise to come across two at Avalanche Road that are maybe now ensconced for winter:

At Ferrybridge there's endless entertainment to be had at this time of year with the 'Spot the oddity amongst the Dark-bellied Brents' game © Pete Saunders (Black Brant) and Debby Saunders (Pale-bellied Brent):

We've never been great fans of the redpoll split and have always continued to log them simply under an all-encompassing 'Redpoll' umbrella; that said, we can't remember handling an autumn bird that couldn't be pigeon-holed quite easily as a cabaret Lesser. So it came as quite a shock to find the bird below amongst a simultaneous catch of five Redpolls at the Obs this morning; this specimen stood out like a sore thumb amongst the other four completely ordinary-looking Lessers:

It looked far buffier about the face than we'd usually associate with Mealy Redpoll but, equally, much of the rest of its plumage was well outside the usual range we'd associate with Lesser. Although it appears larger than the accompanying Lesser in these photos that's no more than a photographic effect: it measured up to be precious little different to the Lessers in all ways except primary projection which did fall (just) outside the normal range of Lesser.