Tag Archives: Common Redpoll

FANTASTIC PRESENTATION BY CRANE BEACH ECOLOGIST JEFF DENONCOUR AT THE CAPE ANN MUSEUM

Jeff Denoncour, the Trustees of Reservations Eastern Region Ecologist, gave an outstanding and informative presentation to a packed audience Saturday afternoon. Subjects included the formation and history of Crane Beach, marsh, and dunes; the seven uniquely different ecological zones; the many species of flora and fauna that comprise the rich biodiversity at Castle Island; and the Trustees protective measures managing rare and endangered species.

Since 2010, Jeff has managed the Trustees Shorebird Protection Program at Crane Beach. Because of the very excellent shorebird management at Crane Beach, 2018 was a banner year, with 42 pairs of nesting Piping Plovers and approximately one hundred PiPl chicks fledged. Our community can learn a great deal from the success at Crane Beach in how to better manage shorebirds migrating and nesting at Cape Ann beaches.

We learned from Jeff that Crane Beach is part of a string of barrier beaches formed from sediment deposited by the outflow of the Merricmack River. Salisbury Beach is at the northern end, then Plum Island, then Crane, with Coffins and Wingaersheek at the southern end. The sand that was deposited at Salisbury Beach is the coarsest; the sand at Wingaersheek the lightest and finest as it would have more easily flowed furthest away from the mouth of the river.

Excerpt from a previous post OUTSTANDING COASTAL WATERBIRD CONSERVATION COOPERATORS MEETING! talking about Jeff and the success of the Crane Beach Trustees Piping Plover

“Readers will be interested to know that our region’s Crane Beach continues to have one of their best year’s ever. Trustees of Reservations Jeff Denoncour shared information on the latest census data from 2018 and Crane Beach has a whopping 76 fledglings, with 25 more chicks still yet to fledge. Because of the huge success at Crane Beach, the northeast region, of which we are a part, has fledged a total 136 of chicks in 2018, compared to 108 in 2017, and as I said, with more fledglings still to come! The northeast region encompasses Salisbury Beach to the Boston Harbor Islands.

Jeff noted that this year they had less predation by Great Horned Owls. Because of owl predation, several years ago the Trustees gave up on the wire exclosures and now use electric fencing extensively. The Great Horned Owls learned that the Piping Plover adults were going in and out of the exclosures and began perching on the edge of the wire, picking off the adults as they were entering and exiting the exclosure.

Crane has an excellent crew of Trustees staff monitoring the Least Terns and Piping Plovers, as well as excellent enforcement by highly trained police officers. No dogs are allowed on Crane Beach during nesting season and dogs are prevented from entering at the guarded gate. As we saw from one of the graphics presented about nesting Double-crested Cormorants, when a dog runs through a nesting area, the adults leave the nest, temporarily leaving the eggs and chicks vulnerable to predation by crows, gulls, raptors, and owls.”

Jeff Denoncour and Courtney Richardson, Director of Education and Public Programs at the Cape Ann Museum

IT’S SNOWING IN IPSWICH!

Tiny flakes falling through the trees, making that distinct pitapat sound of snowdrops landing on crisp frozen leaves below. But wait, the sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. An assembly of Redpolls overhead, hungrily teasing seeds from the tree’s cones were creating a shower of snow-seeds.

I followed along ever so quietly as the flock moved from tree to tree, expertly pulling the cones apart for the small kernel held within.

Returning several times to the same trail and hoping to catch sight again but, with most of the cones gone, so too were the Redpolls.

The Common Redpoll is a species of finch with a distinct crimson cap that looks like a mini French beret, giving the song bird a bit of a rakish appearance.

Their small yellow bills evolved to eat small seeds, such as those of thistles and birches. Some studies show that in winter Redpolls subsist almost entirely on birch seeds.

Common Redpolls have been known to survive temperatures of -65 degrees below and even sleep at night in snow tunnels that can be up to a foot long. Redpolls nest in the Arctic tundra; we only ever see them during the winter months.

Redpolls Return!

 

Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)

The redpolls return with friends in tow. Two weeks ago we were visited by a half dozen or so Common Redpolls; yesterday and today we have a troupe of thirty. Goldfinch-sized, with crisp white and brown patterned tail feathers and velvety crimson caps, they have the winsome habit of cocking their heads and looking straight at you, as if to say (in the most conversational manner), “I am very photogenic; won’t you concur?”

Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)Common Redpoll (Male)

The female lacks the pink breast and both have the same red poll (cap). The first photo shows the male above and the female below.

Scroll down or click on link to see related post:The Uncommon Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll Wings Spread


The Uncommon Common Redpoll

 

Common Redpoll (carduelis flammea)

Common Redpoll (Carduelis flammea)

How lovely to receive a visit from this charming flock of redpolls. I knew it to be a new-to-our garden species, but did not realize visits were much more uncommon than common. Oh how I wish I had taken more snapshots! Common Redpolls are another “irruptive species” from the boreal forests of North American (see Pine Siskins, below), and there have been numerous sightings reported throughout New England. To learn whether we had Hoary Redpolls or Common Redpolls I emailed Chris Leahy, Mass Audubon’s Chair of Field Ornithology:

Hi Chris, Last week I found this inexpensive Nyjer seed bird feeder at Whole Foods, hung it in the garden next to the finch feeder, and was immediately visited by what I think are redpolls. They stayed for a few days and have not been seen again. It was dreary and rainy, so my photos are gray, not crispy. Do you think they are Common Redpolls or Hoary Redpolls or are the photos not clear enough?

I posted a link on my blog re your talk at the Sawyer Free and was disappointed it was cancelled. Click on the photo–Chris Leahy and the Birds of Cape Ann–I think it looks like the three sparrows on the right are listening to a talk by the sparrow on the left–please forgive the “bird” humor. Let me know when you are giving the talk and I will repost.
From Chris–Great, Kim! Send some over to my side of the harbor please! They are Common Redpolls – which are by no means common most winters. There’s a lot of plumage variation in both species and several races of Common Redpolls.  Hoary’s are much rarer of course and tend to hang out in flocks of Commons. Their best marks are a very tiny bill and pure white (or nearly so) under tail coverts (not always easy to see). Sometimes they appear much whiter, but not always and Commons can get very pale especially late in the year as the brown tips of the feathers wear.
 

Keep your eyes on your fruiting shrubs for Bohemian Waxwings. We had a flock of 5 (with Cedars) at Halibut Point during the Birding Weekend on Saturday. And Mary in East Gloucester found a dead one on her deck. I’ve had Cedars in my privet hedge during the last 10 days but no Bohemians (yet!?).

 

 

Also sent from Chris is the following summary of the many birds seen on Cape Ann during the annual Cape Ann Winter Birding weekend.

CABirdingWkndList2011.xls CABirdingWkndList2011.xls
40K   View as HTMLOpen as a Google spreadsheetDownload

Scroll halfway down Cornell’s All About Birds page, under the the heading and bird in silhouette to hear the Typical Voice:

 

 


 

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylim: Chordata (Vertebrates)
Class: Aves (Birds)
Order: Passeriformes (Passerine or perching birds)
Family: Fringillidae (True finches)
Genus: Carduelis
Species: C. flammea