Red­poll part of the finch fam­ily

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Countryfile -

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

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