17 Dec 2012

Hybrid sparrow.

Back in October when we were on Shetland I found a 'Tree Sparrow' on the north mainland near Luna. For once the sky cleared of rain and a small flock of House Sparrows flew in to a nearby hawthorn hedge. Almost immediatley I picked up a 'Tree Sparrow'. This is a rare bird on Shetland. Getting the other lads on it I ran back to the car to get my camera only to have the flock fly over my had as  Ireturned. The 'Tree Sparrow' was easily picked up on call amongst the House Sparrows. That would have been that if Chris Griffin hadn't been quicker off the mark than me and managed a couple of shots before the birds flew. Closer examination shows what appears to be a Tree x House Sparrow hybrid. Probalby rarer on Shetland than the real thing!

Note the chestnut head, white cheek patch and dark spot behind the ear coverts all typical of Tree Sparrow but a closer exmination showed a grey fore crown......

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