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Arctic songbird spotted in San Diego, birders flock

Alaska Dispatch

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, area birders are flocking up to catch a glimpse of an extremely rare visitor: A common redpoll. Redpolls are usually only seen in northern areas of the country, and are common year-round residents in Alaska and Canada.

Mike Goldhamer spotted one at the feeders behind The Birdwatcher Shop in Julian, Calif., on the morning of Feb. 4.

He immediately recognized the unusual individual because he had taken photos of the same species last summer -- in Barrow, Alaska.

“It would be like seeing a penguin in Julian. It’s impossible,” said Rick Campbell.

A redpoll has never been seen in California as far south as San Diego County, and since 1899, only 11 have ever been recorded in the state.

After Goldhamer spotted the redpoll, a text alert went out to birders about the chance to see an "extreme rarity," and since then, hundreds of birders have traveled to Julian daily hoping for a glimpse.

Some dropped everything for the extraordinary chance; one woman left in the middle of a manicure, with only one hand finished.

Read much, much more, here.