I didn't see a redpoll in Arctic Bay for the first several years I lived there. I knew they were a bird that was expected in the area, one that even apparently wintered there (and that alone should make them stand out), but despite that I seemed to live in an area devoid of them.
Two summers ago, Travis came back from Victor Bay with the report of a bird "like a Snow Bunting with red on it". When I opened up the bird guide and flipped by the page with the redpolls on it, he said "that's it!" and pointed to a redpoll. Although it wasn't the first time, and certainly wouldn't be the last, my son (not quite seven at the time) once again out birded me.
He took me to the spot, to try and help his hopeless father find the bird, but alas it was not there.
Then, that fall, two Hoary Redpolls appeared at Uluksa, the first of either redpoll species I've seen here. The resurgence had begun.
In February a report of seven "Snow Buntings" in a canyon nearby sent me and a friend looking for what I was sure would be redpolls not snowbuntings on Valentine's Day. A day that I should have spent with my wife, but a glorious day despite only catching but a snippet of redpoll song on the wind, and seeing no more than their tracks in the snow. They did winter here!
Although not a daily sight through out the spring, summer and fall, I saw redpolls regularily, including at least two Common Redpoll that established a small territory at First Bridge. Ice fishing last month my boy again pointed some out to me, hearing their soft calls and prompting me to go take a closer look. There was a dozen of them foraging on exposed seed heads on a steep hill.
This past Saturday, he again was the catalyst for another sighting. As I puttered in the yard, trying to better cover some of the junk stored in the yard, exposed. He shouted BIRD! and pointed to the sky. He said it even more urgently as I looked at the more obvious ravens in the neighbourhood. There! and pointed to the sky above our home.
There was a large flock of redpolls, most likely Hoary Redpolls, flying over the house. More than 20 and more than I'd ever seen, even at my parent's feeders. I'm not sure why, but they are certainly making a resurgence to the area where I live. If the ravens aren't careful, these might be making a play for my constant avian companions.