District 5 Road before it turns into Fleming Creek Road in Bonners Ferry, ID Latitude and longitude- N 48.740966 W 116.366605
HABITAT WHERE THE BIRD WAS OBSERVED
It was with a group of Common Redpoll which were hanging out near a group of silos and flying into various trees and scrubs and well as forging on the ground.
SIGHTING DURATION, CONDITIONS, and EQUIPMENT USED
I watched the flock of Redpoll for around an hour and a half to two hours. It was overcast and 19 degrees but the sun did come out in the last 20 min or so which was when the Hoary showed up. The Hoary was in view for about 5 minutes. I watched it through my vortex binoculars and then took a few pics. The sun was behind me and not much wind at that time. The bird was in the top of a pine tree with a group of Common Redpoll. I used all 2000mm zoom on my Nikon P900 camera to get the pics as the tree was 20 feet or so off the road and the birds were near the top which was around 30ft high.
DID YOU TAKE NOTES?
No, not at all
DID YOU CONSULT A FIELD GUIDE OR OTHER REFERENCE WORK?
Yes, during the observation
WHICH GUIDE(S) OR REFERENCE(S): DID YOU CONSULT?
I had studied them before going to Northern Idaho in my Sibley hard guide and used both my Sibley app and iBird Pro apps in the field to confirm what I was seeing.
DESCRIPTION OF THE BIRD(s)
The Hoary Redpoll was noticeable whiter that the Common Redpoll right near it. This was what got my attention at first. Then I noticed it had only faint streaking on its sides and only a pale hint of pink on the breast. I knew these to be some of the field marks for the Hoary so I then focused on the underside of the tail which I could see was all white with no streaking at all. I then focused on the beak which appeared shorter than the Common nearby. Hoary Redpoll are a small finch.
BEHAVIOR OF THE BIRD(s)
Although the flock of Redpoll, around 80 total, were moving from tree to tree and eating things off the trees as well as forging on the ground, I only saw the Hoary perched in the tree as photographed. I could not pick it out of the flock again. It did preen briefly but mostly just sat still. It did not vocalize or interact with other Redpoll during the time I had it in view.
HOW AND WHEN DID YOU POSITIVELY IDENTIFY THE BIRD, AND WHAT CLINCHED THE IDENTIFICATION FOR YOU?
I was not 100% sure of my ID as I have never seen a Hoary before but the faint stripes on the sides, white undertail, only light pink on breast and short bill all fit with my studies so I posted it to be confirmed on Idaho Bird Sightings and Discussion. Jay Carlisle confirmed the ID.
HOW DID YOU ELIMINATE SIMILAR SPECIES? WHAT WERE THEY?
I could tell the bird was a Redpoll so I only had to consider if it was a Common or Hoary Redpoll. Common Redpoll have extensive streaking on the sides and some on the undertail coverts. The Common also have more pink on breast and larger beak.
WHAT IS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THIS (AND SIMILAR) SPECIES?
I saw Common Redpoll for the first time last year also in Bonners Ferry. I saw about 125 in the week leading up to my finding the one Hoary in a flock of around 80. This is the first time I have seen a Hoary.
DESCRIBE YOUR GENERAL BIRDING EXPERIENCE
I have been birding for about 6 years. I would say I am a intermediate birder but I do study a lot.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION (If any)
I only just learned that the part of the road I saw the Redpoll on is actually called District 5 and not Fleming Creek so my ebird report still says Fleming Creek. I am working on fixing that. I could not get my check list number to enter below but it is S41528695.
WERE PHOTO(S), VIDEO, AND/OR AUDIO OBTAINED FROM THIS SIGHTING?
FIRST ROUND VOTING:
Photos support identification of Hoary Redpoll
Nice photos with good description
Although we can't really see the upper parts at all, what we can see looks like a pretty classic Hoary, with very white breast, this sparse flank streaks, very-nearly unstreaked undertail coverts, bold white supercillium, small bill.
well described and photos show a paler bird with a shorter beak and largely unstreaked undertail coverts
This bird does look like a Hoary Redpoll, given that its sides are faintly streaked and its undertail area is pure white.
The whiter bird, finer streaking, and the un-streaked undertail coverts support the identification as Hoary.
It’s easy to try too hard for a species, particularly for a species an observer is targeting, and one that is a very difficult and subjective identification. I was skeptical that this would be the case for this record given the admitted research before heading to the field – looks like the research paid off. The mention of generally whiter appearance than the Common Redpolls (Acanthis flammea) in direct comparison, clear white undertail coverts, and short bill are positive points, and fortunately the excellent photos support these observations. I believe this individual is sufficiently in the spectrum of Hoary Redpoll (Acanthis hornemanni) characteristics to “accept” in this round.