By the end of the trip our hopes of catching a "snowball" deteriorated; we were particularly interested in catching one for identification purposes in case one turns up in Wiltshire - as my wise uncle once said, it would be as rare as rocking horse poo. Furthermore, before catching this bird we queried whether Mealy Redpolls had hybridised with the Arctics causing there to be a handful left, especially considering many of the birds caught beforehand shared a few pro-exilipes features and even cabaret!
I would like to take credit for the capture of this female by correctly describing it (and photographing it)
Now in the hand we could study the bird down to minute detail. Nigel - the man with the onus of looking after Matt & I but has by far the most experience with Redpolls - began the identification process by checking its under tail coverts (utc):