Polls apart


Lesser Redpoll, Chesterfield Canal

This week we want to share another first sighting for us this year – a gorgeous little finch: the lesser redpoll.  A 12cm compact, dark, little finch (smaller than a sparrow), it is heavily streaked above. The main characteristics are the red cap (poll),  the small black bib and a buff striped wing bar.

It’s a year-round resident, winter visitor or migrant to North, Central and Western Europe.  It loves mixed woodland, especially with birch and alder trees, and also scrubland and open fields.  It mixes widely with other finches such as goldfinches, chaffinches and siskins.  These birds are increasing and can be seen regularly, which is good news.

The male will often show a beautiful pink blush front in the summer (some in our pictures already showing this).


Lesser redpoll, Chesterfield Canal

It’s been quite hard to spot one this year, but due to some amazing people who spend a lot of time in their moored barges, it’s been a lot easier.  A lady who I often stop to speak to and a gentleman who walks his dog daily have taken it upon themselves to put lots of feeders out around the surrounding woodland areas.

I visit this part of the Chesterfield Canal regularly, and on the way down viewed dunnocks, robin, reed bunting and heard skylarks in a nearby meadow.  I saw them taking off, but have trouble getting a picture – you’ll have to wait a while for this one.

redpoll female.JPG

Lesser redpoll, Chesterfield Canal

I got about 20 yards from the feeders, full of sunflower seeds, fat balls and nuts, and noticed goldfinches, blue tits and great tits.  Then something else caught my eye.  I moved in a bit closer and noticed a red head, then another.  I must have stood there for 20 to 30 minutes clicking every time I saw a read head.  The finches are quite skittish so I backed off for a while.  As they started to drift back, I managed to get some pictures of these lovely little birds.  I noticed one of them was ringed, so they are being monitored.

All in all quite a profitable birding week again: siskins earlier in the month and another first: the redpoll.  We really have a wide range of birds and other wildlife all around us, and we aim to bring them to you via our blog.

I tip my cap to this one!

redpoll3Lesser redpoll, Chesterfield Canal 



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