13/01/2018 Elton Reservoir, Bury

Mealy Redpoll: It was nice to have some free time out of the office to catch up with some local birding with my first stop being the mealy at Elton Res.
Separating the two species, which freely mix in wintering flocks, is known to be not always easy, with some individuals being unidentifiable even in the hand.
However it is clear in this image that the mealy redpoll's general impression is quite different from that of a lesser redpoll. This is often made easy when the two species are side by side.
The mealy is obviously a bigger bird next to the lesser and had a deeper, crimson red poll (its colouration on the upper breast) however the mealy also has longer primary projections and darker ear coverts.

The bird is also much paler than the leasers with a greyer undertone to its plumage.
The feeders at Elton Res are a real haven for wintering finches and birds, they encourage many different species and a huge number.
So hats off to whoever stocks and manages them, brilliant work.