|Common Redpoll, photo by Lew Ulrey, Boise Idaho|
Recently, all across the blogosphere and listservs, birding folk have been reporting Common Redpolls, a bird I had never seen before. I've unsuccessfully chased redpolls a few times and as such it has become a nemesis bird for me. They've made brief appearances at feeders in the greater Boise area over the last couple of days. I begged each reporter to keep an eye on them for me and to let me know if they were sticking around.
On the way back from a job site up in Avimor, in the Boise foothills, I decided to drive along the creek and checkout any flocks of finches for redpolls. Directing my loaner Swarovski EL Swarovision 10x32's into a tree where I saw some small goldfinch-sized birds I was delighted to instantly see four Common Redpolls! Life bird #445. Also my 300th species for the year!
I watched them for a few minutes while still inside my truck. Then I wanted a photo, so I carefully slipped out of the truck with the spotting scope and iPhone. Suddenly, a Northern Shrike darted into the tree after my Redpolls. It missed, but my Redpolls took off while a flock of A. Goldfinches began mobbing the Shrike. So, no photos, but pretty cool to see a life bird and always cool to see a Shrike. A great Idaho eBirder, Lew Ulrey snapped the shot above at his feeder yesterday and he was a gentleman allowing me to share his photo here.
Common Redpolls do appear to be having an irruption year into the lower 48 states along with Red-breasted Nuthatches, Evening Grosbeaks, Crossbills, and Pine Grosbeaks.
|Common Redpoll sightings from eBird for Fall 2012|
Tomorrow I head north, up to Hells Canyon (Lewiston, ID - Clarkston, WA) for some fishing with my dad and some friends. Folks in that area having been reporting a couple Snowy Owls and a Gyrfalcon. I'd be happy to get a couple more life birds this year!