Catherine B. and I made the long trip to Lumsden looking for the Fieldfare. No luck with that, but we didn't come home empty handed. Shortly after we arrived, we saw this Hoary Redpoll along Forest Road. Unfortunately, I only got two shots, but enough to convince me we had just seen our first Hoary. Picture #1 shows the very pale bird with very slight streaking along the side of the breast, no streaking on the undertail, a well-defined facial mask, apparent white rump and very pale pinkish color on the breast all add up.
Picture #2 is a Common Redpoll in almost the exact position. Note the bold streaking on the sides, darker red on the breast and undertail streaking. Picture # 3 is also a Common Redpoll, typical of many of this species we saw along the way.
Picture #4 is the Hoary again showing a little more of the face. I wish I had been able to get a shot of the beak which would have made the ID much easier.
Our two-day excursion netted many, many birds. We must have seen 300 Pine Grosbeaks. Some were quite pink, others had an orange tinge and others were very red.
The Purple Finches we saw were also among the reddish I have ever seen. Many of the females had a very yellow tinge. Redpolls were in abundance moving in large flocks. Lumsden has many Hairy Woodpeckers and one Downy presenting and very comfortable around on-lookers. We saw five without really even looking.
Gambo had more birds in one stretch of road than I have seen in four years of birding. Very active, flocks were moving around everywhere, pitching on the berries and then moving to another patch. It was an amazing spectacle. There was a flock of at least 300 Bohemian Waxwings with a few Cedar Waxwings interspersed among them. Seeing all of this finch activity, alone, would have made the trip worthwhile.
As it turned out, it was quite an exciting and fun-filled trip.