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Sunday, 5 February 2012

It's a Sparrow... but not as we know it !

Pulling back the curtains this morning (5th) revealed the full extent of the damage. c10cm of snow had fallen in Ashford overnight, resulting in a day staring out of the window into the garden, catching up with the Blog and sorting out the photos that I had taken at Dover. The car and driveway were cleared and this resulted in seeing a group of c10 Redwing fly over, calling noisily. I got a text alerting me to the presence of a juvenile Rough-legged Buzzard that had flown over Kennington. Sadly it didn't enter our airspace but well done to the finder - a top bird for the Ashford area.

Birds noted during the day in and around the garden:
3 Blue Tits, 2 Blackbirds (male and female), a Robin, 2 Dunnocks, 4 Feral Doves (matching the snow), 1 Woodpigeon, 10 Collared Doves, 2 Jackdaws, 2 Magpies, single Carrion Crow, 7 Chaffinches (3 males), 1 Common Gull, 2 Herring Gulls (adult & 1st winter) and 5 Black-headed Gulls, plus many Starlings and  30-40 House Sparrows.

A lovely selection of garden birds, we feel proud to have given these birds a fighting chance during this cold snap, though just a touch disappointed that the R-L B had missed us. However around 1:30pm during lunch, a bird caught my eye on the mixed seed feeder. I couldn't believe it - a sparrow with a black spot on a white cheek. Panic ensued for the second weekend in a row as binoculars and the camera were hastily grabbed. It was a TREE SPARROW, the first one we had seen in the garden in the 30 years that we have lived here. All the birds were spooked by something but around 20 minutes later it returned with the House Sparrow flock and gave more prolonged views on the feeder - a few record shots were taken through the window. A lovely bird, especially as they are extremely scarce away from Dungeness and a couple of sites on the marsh. In fact the nearest we have seen Tree Sparrow to Ashford is Warehorne. Lets hope it returns ... with a few of its friends.

What a brilliant weekend birdwatching !

Tree Sparrow in the snow covered Cotoneaster bush

Tree Sparrow with commoner cousins


  1. That Treep's a good record and reminds me of a flock that fed in my Surrey garden in the snow (again about 30 years ago).
    I'm enjoying the blog - it's a good read, thanks!

  2. A great record and well done for checking these things out, even better you got a shot.

  3. Well done on you find Neil.Have recently been reading your blog and finding it a good read and very informative. Well done and thanks.

  4. Great to have a Tree Sparrow after so long, excellent!

  5. Nice garden species! Need to fill that feeder pretty quick though, it might not come back :-)