So keep looking…!
Mike Alibone sent me these photos of a female Bullfinch. Found on 16th February 2011 well inland! Always aware of the problem of ‘interpreting’ photos- colour rendition/ lighting and all that; I think its does look like a 1st winter female Northern Bullfinch. Recording the call could helpfully add to data on the bird. What do you think? Have a look (cracking local find!):
“I hope you won’t mind my contacting you with regard to seeking your opinion on the ID of a bird I consider to be a female Northern Bullfinch, found by me yesterday in Northamptonshire.
This individual was associating with ‘British’ Bullfinches feeding on buds of hawthorn in a quiet lane at one of my local birding sites – Earls Barton GP/Summer Leys LNR. Although none was alongside it for direct comparison, this bird stood out as a) being slightly larger and bulkier, with the impression of its being longer lent by its almost continual horizontal stance while feeding and b) being an obviously different colour to the two female Bullfinches which were also seen nearby. Both those birds were more ‘compact’ and showed the classic ‘muddy’ brown upperparts contrasting with the underparts, which were also richer in colour tone than the bird I was looking at. In this respect I was able to find the bird again instantly, immediately dismissing other female Bullfinches, after a short break in observation to fetch a camera from the car.
It was quite approachable and I did not hear the bird call. The mantle was only a little darker than the underparts and there was a pale grey shawl on the nape – not strongly demarcated from the mantle but obvious none the less.”