Tree Sparrow

Passer montanus

[Eurasian Tree Sparrow] (pp.247–248)

All new records

2014

New record

22 Aug to 2 Sep – A remarkable influx occurred at the end of Aug, when three were seen near the helipad on 22nd, rising to 12 on 24th, with 11 remaining to 29th and the last nine remaining until 2 Sep, when seen just south of Old Light (Richard Taylor, Tony Taylor et al.). The mobile flock tended to frequent the main tracks between the Village and Old Light, and between the Village and Quarter Wall. The most recent previous Tree Sparrow record for the island was of a single bird on 29 Jul 2000 (though there was also an unconfirmed report of one in early Aug 2008), but it’s necessary to go as far back as 1975 to find a count of more than 12 (namely 16 on 29 May that year). Given that there are no Tree Sparrows breeding on nearby parts of the mainland, the birds’ likely origin was a matter of debate. On one hand, their appearance coincided with a period of blustery NW winds, so perhaps they had come from the thriving breeding population in Ireland? On the other hand, significant Tree Sparrow movements were reported along the East coast of England in late Aug and early Sep (e.g. 300 at Spurn on 31 Aug, 26 on the Farne Islands on 2 Sep), perhaps suggesting a northern British, or even continental origin. Elsewhere, targeted conservation efforts in parts of southern England have resulted in locally high breeding productivity from nestbox schemes. Whatever the answer, the Lundy Tree Sparrows were a welcome late-summer surprise for those who saw them. Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder.

 Photo © Tim Davis

2016

New record

29 & 30 May – One was feeding outside Brambles (Ann & Tony Taylor). Record accepted by Devon Bird Recorder.

 

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