This male SPANISH SPARROW has been around for a very long time and is very easy to see. The location and access arrangements will be released tomorrow evening and a period of two weeks has been put aside to allow those that wish to see it the opportunity of doing so without causing too much inconvenience with the owners of houses in the quiet cul-de-sac.
The bird is moving between a thick hedgerow and a number of peanut feeders and garden birdtables and is very reliable, visiting the gardens on a regular basis. the bird was first photographed by a resident in early December 2011 but the presence of at least one hybrid in the area, suggest it has been in the village since at least the spring. Calshot is close to the ports so the bird is likely to be a ship-assisted vagrant, just like the Slate-coloured Junco and White-throated Sparrow in Hampshire last year.
I shall be around on Wednesday morning to help out with parking, access, etc, but there is no rush to get there as the bird is not going anywhere (unless of course it is taken by a Sparrowhawk)
There has been a little bit of a setback with the Spanish Sparrow access. Sue, whose garden it is favouring mostly, has suddenly got cold feet and is now reluctant to allow birders in. I am now being told that certain information services have released information before the finite detail has been agreed.
As a result, viewing will only be possible between 0800 and 0900 hours in the morning when the bird visits its roosting hedgerow, easily viewable from the road. For the rest of the day, the bird visits private gardens.
Last edited by LeeEvans; January 10th, 2012 at 09:25 AM.
The bird is viewable from a public road near a massive car park, so absolutely no problems with news going out when it did.
Video of the sparrow (and a bit of the junco) can be seen here -
This is typical attitude from someone who knows little of the actual situation. Yes the bird is viewable from a public road and is only 500 yards walk from a public car park capable of housing 200 cars but how many of your readers actually adhere to instructions. Once the bird leaves the roost it becomes very difficult to see and plans had been in place to allow birders access to an area where it can be seen well throughout the day. Due to yourself and others releasing the news before details had been finalised, those visiting arrangements have now been suspended and abandoned.
I don't blame people for suppressing birds because this arrogant attitude from the Bird Information Services is really getting my goat. Ordinary members of the public don't want their homes and gardens besieged by birders from dawn til dusk for months (possibly years) on end. It is bertter to try and get a rapport going with some of these members of the public but when Birdguides chooses to release news early, you can understand why we just cannot be trusted. The Oriental Turtle Dove was another classic example, following on from the Headington Baltimore Oriole. Yes, a lot of money was raised for the Birdlife Malta campaign but at the expense of the relationship with several of the neighbours. Birders are just so selfish - they have little consideration for anything but themselves and whether or not they see the bird or not. They have no respect for local residents. Within half an hour of BirdGuides broadcasting this news, three cars had parked in the cul-de-sac where they were instructed not to. Furthermore, two people turned up late and demanded that the sparrow flock be flushed from the roosting hedgerow at 1630 hours so that they could see it. Simon, who had painstakingly gone to great lengths to organise the twitch got serious verbal abuse from two pager users. I'm fed up with this attitude.
Only this past week have I been involved in a criminal case whereby local birders have been abused and threatened by other observers reacting to message on pagers informing them of a roosting Long-eared Owl. The bird was disturbed and flushed away within hours of New Services releasing news of it - again against the wishes of observers - information just carelessly copied and taken from the internet.
I was asked to help out with the organisation of this Spanish Sparrow twitch and am very annoyed that the information was released before all of the plans (and cones) were in place.
I could go on but it is not worth it. Twitching has changed very much for the worse in my opinion
Damn it. After missing the Cumbria bird - after a sparrowhawk got it I believe... I was pretty excited to get another bite at the cherry with another long-stayer.
I would agree with your reflections. Although generally behavior from visiting birders was fine today-as always there are a minority who dont seem to feel any rules apply to them. Two examples while we were there:
1) two cars who approached the lay by; moved the police traffic cones and parked.
2) One point where the bird moved to a different hedge and birders cut across front lawns to see it.
What happened today was small scale-but multiply it up on saturday and the bemusement and limited good will of local residents could quickly ebb away. It is almost impossible to police bad attitudes-I can only encourage the majority to speak up when it happens; and let the culprits know it is unacceptable.
We saw this attitude at the junco too-as photographers (specifically), flushed the bird to get better shots.....
As a Hamshire birder, it will be left to us, once the birds have gone to repair any damage to reputations. Lets hope this weekend passes off without major incidents and that the minority are left in no doubt about what is expected of them.