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Monday, 9 January 2012

Those rares just keep on coming for 2011

Well with 2011 now nine days hence, a plethora of mega-rares from Hampshire has seen that year's list total rise from 452 to 455........

Firstly, we had news of the Old Winchester Hill WHITE-THROATED SPARROW surviving in its favoured car park until at least July 2011 being released by the warden, then news of a first-winter male DARK-EYED JUNCO that was wintering close to a car parking area at Hawkhill Inclosure in the New Forest, first photographed on 24 December 2011 and still present and showing today.........

Now, news has reached county birders of an adult male SPANISH SPARROW that has been living in Calshot village, in the south of the county, for some considerable time, probably at least since last spring (although the finder only made a mental note of it from early December 2011).

The latter is favouring suburban gardens in a quiet cul-de-sac and arrangements have been made for visitor access from Wednesday morning of this week. All on-site instructions will have to be adhered to, including the designated parking areas, and a period of about two weeks will initially be on offer to cater for those that wish to see the bird. I will release access instructions tomorrow evening.

The bird is moving between a roosting hedgerow and some peanut feeders/bird tables and is very reliable, showing at frequent intervals. There will be no panic requirement to rush to see it if you want to save a day's holiday from work. The presence of at least one hybrid bird suggest it has been present for at least one breeding season and it is likely it was initially a ship-assisted vagrant, like the other two species mentioned above