Help me out here, lads? Anyone know the chances of this one?
I'm out there, this evening. Trying to get a make on the Spotted Fly's in my paddock. Ended up having a fantastic hour. Even glimpsed a sneaky Song Thrush. Haven't seen one in ages and would have sworn I'd lost them. Goes to show.
But, it's this single sparrow that's got me going. It turned up, completely alone, in my paddock hedge. That's different. Because my House Sparrows move in flocks. They also don't go down the paddock hedge.
I've got the bin's on it and, straight away, I'm struck by the tiny 'Bib'. Like one of those beards that look like they've been drawn on with a marker pen.
I've looked at the top of the head. It's only f***ing Brown! I'm. like; " Calm down, Ditch! Don't go having a heart attack! Think!: What's the other diagnostic feature for Tree Sparrow?
The cheek patch. Something about the cheek patch ..... OMG, you Epic Fail, you! Ye can't bloody remember, can ye?! Bird that was virtually extinct, in ye home county, by the time ye tried to find one. Bird ye've only seen at Rutland. Once. A decade ago. Now ye could be staring at one and ye can't remember the minutiae? They're gonna Love you, on Surfbirds, ye dick!
So; I've stared at that cheek. Checked and re checked the top of the head. I couldn't make it go gray if ye put a gun to me head. But, nor could I make out any bold, distinctive cheek patch. This bird was simply at the very end of my bin's / eyesights range. I feared moving closer would just spook it.
And now? I've just found time to check Collins. The Horror!!!
Juvenile Tree Sparrow doesn't show a glaring cheek patch!!! I didn't bloody know that!
Anyone care to venture an opinion on this one, please? Co. Leitrim. Are we ever said to have Tree Sparrows here? Any sites to check? We don't even have a County Recorder. Michael? Polar ice caps maps? Anyone? Anything? Please?
I promise not to 'Call' this one. But, by god, will I be on my toes ~ or my belly, sliding through the grass toward it! ~ for another one!
Could I have seen a Tree Sparrow, in Co. Leitrim?