This morning I went out to shovel the driveway and sidewalk, and top up the bird feeders. When I came back into the house I thought that my just reward was a cappuccino and biscotto! How delightful it was to sit sipping coffee watching a flock of about thirty redpolls through the window. It's still snowing so I'm sure to have to clean the driveway again; perhaps the redpolls will oblige a second time.
In case anyone missed it, I am absolutely entranced by these charming winter visitors and it's hard not to get excited every time they descend into the yard like little gems falling from the sky.
I have only ever seen one Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni that I was absolutely confident of identifying and I keep searching the flocks I am seeing this winter. Perhaps my second, third, fourth....is out there waiting for me.
If you have access to the December 1995 issue of Birding there is an excellent discussion of the two redpoll species in winter. I consult it every time there is an irruption.