Sunday 12 November 2017

Italian Sparrow and Goosanders

Male Italian-type Sparrow (right) with House Sparrow - East Budleigh.
I didn't drop everything and rush to see this bird but I suppose deep down I was quite keen to see it all the same. It's one of those birds that's always there in the back of my mind (admittedly some way behind Spanish Sparrow) when I search through House Sparrow flocks, but I'm a reluctant twitcher and I'm finding it increasingly difficult to justify leaving my beloved Exmouth for stuff. Anyway I'm glad I've seen it, and it was great to meet Tom and see Steve Young, despite the freezing northerly, driving rain and stinging hail!
I'll leave the decision about whether it is one or not to those that know far more than me but it has to be said that plumage-wise there's not a lot wrong with it! The BBRC however have currently taken a stance that leaves little possibility of one ever being accepted. A big thank you to Chris for putting the news out and organising viewing. Great work!
At dawn I did Orcombe in a last ditch attempt to see some migration in action this autumn. In clear skies and a cold northerly I logged (all heading west) c120+ Chaffinch, 1 Brambling, 1 Redpoll, 10+ Goldfinch, 2+ Linnet, 4+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Pied Wagtail, 2+ Siskin, 1 Starling and c50+ Finch sp (too high to suss). My sixth Cirl Bunting on Orcombe, this year, sang briefly from deep in a hedge before heading west and a Yellowhammer went over north. Also recorded - 3+ Goldcrest, 2+ Redwing, 2 Song Thrush, 1+ Bullfinch and a Kestrel.
Only a couple quick looks off Mudbank today. Conditions were far from ideal but I still managed 2 Gadwall, 1 Teal and 1 Shoveler amongst the usual stuff. Best off all were 6 redhead Goosander that did a close fly-past before heading upriver - the first I've seen in Exmouth for a while, following a blank year last year.

This male Italian Sparrow was photographed in Corsica in July 2011. It won't add anything to the debate!
Whilst digging out the Italian Sparrow photo I came across this photo of Mediterranean Flycatcher - M.tyrrhenica, alongside a Cirl. Another species that has generated much recent discussion.
Pintail - Mudbank

An obliging Rock Pipit - Exmouth seafront. I stopped to photograph this beauty whilst we were on a family dog walk. Annoying for my family.



  1. Glad you saw it Matt - I think you are permitted to twitch that short distance! As you say BBRC unlikely to accept unless it is trapped and proved to have Italian parents! Interesting bird all the same.

  2. Hi Chris - yep fascinating birds. Would love to know its true origin. Thanks once again for getting the news out. Matt