Redpoll part of the finch family
has been a very good autumn for a small nondescript bird called the redpoll. The redpoll is a finch, with a tiny pointed bill, a dark red forehead and a small black chin. The general colouration on the back is dark brown and streaky, while there is a more buff colour below. In the spring the breast develops a deep pink colour. The tail is also very well pointed, while the short black legs tend to be hidden under a pile of fluffy feathers. The call is quite distinctive and unfortunately along the coast the views you tend to get is small groups of these finches giving a loud tangy nasal rattling call as they fly over. Further inland you can find redpolls feeding on the banks of streams and lakes mainly in alder and birch trees, although they can be quite flighty when in these finch flocks. You can find them at nut feeders on the bird table occasionally. Redpolls breed in coniferous woodland and the redpolls we tend to get in the South East in the autumn are mainly continental birds moving down through Europe to escape the harsh winters further north in Scandinavia and Siberia.
For more information contact Owen Leyshon, Romney Marsh Countryside Project, telephone 01797 367934 or log on to www.rmcp.co.uk