Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Linnet flock and Redpoll - wear there's a will

The Linnet flock in the field next to me at Whetstone is incredible. At its peak in the snow it grew to over 250 birds and several weeks on it is still over 100. Through abrasion the males are looking the part as the breeding season approaches. What is abrasion? Visualize a pink feather with a buff tip. As the tip gets weathered and worn the buff browny bit is 'rubbed off' eventually getting down to the pink part. When hundreds of bland tips next to each other wear off the lovely carpet of colour below comes through. Lots of finches and buntings come in to breeding plumage the same way. That's how male Reed Buntings get their blackish heads and Redpolls get pink breasts. Male Redpoll. Nice transformation! Most of the pink feathers you can see had buff/white tips just a few weeks ago. These have since worn off revealing the pink below.

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