A bit of a disaster on Saturday morning (19th), with no birds visiting the feeder (which is on private land) in the first 3.5 hours of the day in clear, sunny conditions. Howerver, a visit in the drizzle to 'top-up' yesterday afternoon (20th) saw a 'white ball' on the feeder - a fluffy, feathery Arctic Redpoll - at the 'white' end of the spectrum, but size-wise fitting Coues, along with at least 17 other redpolls including 2 Mealy.
The ringing session this morning - a little too windy to be ideal - was quite productive, but no sign of the Arctic. A flock of 30 redpolls, including at least one Mealy (but apparently not the Arctic) circled up high and headed north as soon as the weather cleared at 0800hrs. Others remained and a visit to the net saw what appeared to be a couple of retraps amongst a small catch. The 'retraps' were a Norwegian-ringed Lesser and a Lesser ringed by Mark Breaks at Rishton, near Blackburn, three days ago.........with an unringed Mealy sandwiched between them!
Out of a catch of 17 redpoll spp, only two were retraps, both from the 'early days' and possibly birds intending to remain locally. I am absolutely certain we would have seen the Arctic Redpoll, in at least the treetops, had it still been present
So, even thought the often very pronounced coastal Lancashire spring Lesser Redpoll passage hasn't started yet, they are certainly on the move inland.