Monday, 13 February 2017

A Mature Garden, with Redpolls...

A Mature Garden

a Cacophony of kids
a Decapitation of frogs
a Nurturing of tadpoles
a Brazening of sausages
a Suckling of willows
an Ascension of Leylandii
a Cheerfulness of sparrows
a Murmuration of starlings

a Remembrance of rosemary
an Absence of skateboards
Tidings of magpies
an Arable of grass
a Sisterhood of cats
a Clambering of blackberries
an Eden of fruit trees
and blackbirds, bluetits, redpolls…

My photograph of a male Redpoll in my old garden, Grimescar Valley, Huddersfield. He was one of a group of six Redpolls which seemed to keep company with four siskins. He looked a bit like a linnet but his small size and yellow beak confirmed him as a Redpoll. He only came in winter. 
The spellcheck doesn't like 'Redpoll', it will have to learn...

lesser redpoll eating nijer seed
The Redpolls I saw in my Pennine garden were very small birds, although my bird books describe Redpolls as the same size as a goldfinch. My books are of course out of date, the newest is 20 years old. The native Redpoll has been re-classified as the Lesser Redpoll, with visiting Common/Mealy Redpolls from Europe. These Redpolls visiting my garden are certrainly smaller than the goldfinches, which often arrive at the same time. They all like the nyjer seeds in this feeder.

Redpolls are classed as finches but have a finer beak than classic finches such as the goldfinch.

This photograph shows a Goldfinch on the washing line above the seed feeder, with female Siskin on the left and female Redpoll on the right. Male and female Goldfinch have the same colouring, whilst the Siskin and Redpoll females haveless bright colouration. The RSPB website implies that the Lesser Redpoll is an uncommon bird. I did once identified a common Redpoll on the same feeder, it was noticeably larger than the Lesser Redpolls. I feel quite privileged to have had these delightful little visitors to my garden.

I haven't altered or enhanced the colours in these photographs. Comments would be welcome, I am fairly new to photographing and identifying small birds. It's quite difficult, they live in different time to us, their lives and movements are very fast. I've also see Wrens and Goldcrest, haven't managed to photograph them, they even tinier and lurk in the bushes and the conifers. 

The Twite is a Pennine bird I've certainly never seen, they are rare. My friend Char March, poet, playwright and all-round talented person, was artist in residence at the Pennine Watershed Project, which led her to involvement with the Twite Recovery Project, to encourage this once widespread bird. The twite is slightly larger than the Redpoll with a pinkish area on the lower back, no red on the head or chest. 

Char March's lovely book, The Cloud Appreciation Society's Day Out, was written after she found inspiration from both projects. It includes a poem called "The A - Z of Twite." Her poems in turn inspired me to put my Redpolls into a poem, of sorts. 

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