Back in January news got out that a male Spanish Sparrow had taken up residence in a small village in Hampshire. Spanish Sparrows are found in Spain (funnily enough!) but also Turkey and North Africa, and like our own House Sparrow doesn’t tend to move very far. So for one to appear in the UK is rather unusual, in fact there has only ever been eight recorded in the British Isles with the last one turning up in 2000.
Although we had no desire to rush off immediately to see the bird in January, (unlike several hundred twitchers) we could not resist taking a look when we were back in Salisbury visiting family. So Saturday afternoon saw us bundling Barley into the car, with the promise of a walk on the beach after a slight detour to try and see the bird. News from a friend was not promising as the bird had not been seen for a couple of hours. On arrival in Calshot, we headed for the small cluster of birders and waited. It was not long until amongst the many chattering house sparrows, darting amongst the bushes and branches there appeared a slightly different bird. Darker on the back and breast with more black streaks, clean white cheeks and no grey on the head, there was the Spanish sparrow.
|Best photo I got in the end of the Spanish Sparrow
Happily chirping away, nestled in the middle of the hedge, the bird never emerged fully for a clear photo, but we knew he was there and that was enough for us…and for Barley who was just happy to get her run on the beach oblivious to the stir that was caused by a little sparrow de España…