Redpolls from Barrow, June 2015

On my trip to Barrow, Alaska, USA (June, 2015) I found a notable amount of redpolls. I was pleasantly surprised as I wasn't expecting it!

I tried to identify these birds. A few redpolls I couldn’t define: they had quite a white rump, but there was also some streaking. Too dark for an Coues’s Arctic Redpoll and too light for a Mealy Redpoll.

Finally I identified most of them as Coues’s Arctic Redpolls (excilipes) and some as Mealy Redpolls (flammea). I left a number of the birds unidentified. Most of them have feather wear, but that seems normal in June (adult redpolls moult after the breeding season). The Coues’s Arctic Redpolls are quite dark on the upperparts of their wings due to wear on the feathers.

One of the Mealy Redpolls was a male with a bright red breast. What struck me further was that a lot of redpolls have a dark bill. Perhaps this also applies to the redpolls in Northwest Europe, but sadly enough I've never seen redpolls there in June.

On our last day I saw a redpoll fledgling. Based on its light gray rump I decided this small creature was a Coues’s Arctic Redpolls.

You may find some pictures below…

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Three Coues’s Arctic Redpolls (two adult males and a female) and a potential Mealy redpoll.