I was back in the Hermitage this morning, again hoping for redpolls. With Lesser Redpoll, Mealy Redpoll and exillipes Arctic Redpoll in Lothian this week, I thought it was worth a try even after drawing a blank yesterday - they are mobile birds and there is no reason why some couldn't have dropped in over the last 24 hours. Well, as it was, I did have at the least eight Redpoll sp. fly-bys today, but try as I might I was unable to identify them to species in flight!
As I checked areas of suitable cover I was tempted to think what a difference some tape luring would make. At Fair Isle Bird Observatory in October, an MP3 player plugged into a speaker lured something like 60 Mealy Redpolls into nets in a single morning. Not sure about the ethics of it, or whether my neighbours would be overly pleased if I played redpoll calls on continuous loop out of the bedroom window?
Even without decent views of of the target species there were quite a few decent birds on show. Another Waxwing trilled overhead as I watched about 20 Yellowhammers and 4 Tree Sparrows lining up to drink in pools of melt water near Liberton Tower.
Down in the Hermitage of Braid, far fewer Siskins today, but one of the White-throated Dippers was on show once again. It is clearly a British bird (subspecies gularis) with a really nice broad chestnut border to its bib.