As the title suggests, I'm not an experienced birder!
I was out walking on Christmas Eve, and I saw a large group of birds on a birch tree. To my amazement, there was a large group of goldfinches, yellowhammers and redpolls all together, feasting on the seeds. As an additional bonus, I also saw a very large flock of bramblings! :)
I have no idea whether these were redpolls or lesser redpolls, though, and I am hoping someone can help me to tell the difference.
The warm brown uppers on these birds suggest lesser redpoll. Mealy/common redpolls look like they've been dunked briefly in peroxide giving them a mainly pale grey appearance.
Thanks Robbo and Alan for the replies - I will go and do my reading up on the pair to learn the differences! To be honest, I was just chuffed to see any kind of redpoll - it's a 'tick' for me!
Fair to assume lesser redpoll in all situations like this. Realistically, high in the trees anyone is going to struggle to tell the difference unless photos as good as the ones you posted are obtainable. These are lesser redpoll. Far, far more likely in UK. Mealy/common redpoll are slightly larger, paler versions so really either need to be close (e.g. on a feeder) or amongst their cousins. Bottom line though, in UK, it'll be lesser redpoll, especially outside of Winter.
I will go for Lesser Redpoll only because the Common/Mealy is rarer according to the BTO.
There is a fact sheet for the Lesser with some ID tips www.bto.org/.../gbw-lesser-redpoll-factsheet.pdf
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