[Tweeters] Common Redpoll, Green Lake, Seattle (Nov 24); tips on finding

Duncan, Scot sduncan at bsc.edu
Fri Nov 24 15:43:26 PST 2017

My thanks to Louis Kreemer for posting about the Common Redpolls at Green Lake (Seattle) yesterday, and for off-list tips on where to look for it. I was able to see one of the Redpolls thanks also to Alan? (Sorry - I think that was your name!) who found the bird I saw, and Kendrick who let me see it through his scope. Thanks also to Chris Rurik with whom I teamed up to search for the bird.

It may be of interest that there were two Red-breasted Mergansers on the lake today, and a female Lesser Scaup. A Merlin flew over at one point.

For birders unfamiliar with finding Common Redpolls at Green Lake, here are a few tips based on my experience today...perhaps others with more experience might chime in if I'm in error, or if there are other tips to share...

The Redpolls were feeding with siskins in trees at the lake's edge on the southeastern shore. They were feeding in alders, which are easy trees to spot because they still have some leaves, and small seed-bearing cones attracting the finches. A good strategy would be to walk the path along the lake scouting for flocks of siskins, then sorting through the flock to look for the redpoll(s). The flocks are obvious when they fly, but can be remarkably difficult to notice in the trees if the wind is blowing, as it was today. Stopping to stare at each tree for a few moments helped us find a few flocks. The redpoll that was shown to me blended in well with the siskins; thus, sort through the flock carefully. Among the many field marks that differ between the species, I found that the relatively clear belly and distinctive face pattern helped me spot it among the siskins.

Again, thanks to all for the help guiding me to the redpoll!

Scot Duncan

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