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spuggies and jackdaws and hedgehogs and frogs

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Plenty of orange tips up here too , Chiffchaffs finally got down to nesting , Willow Warblers and Blackcaps shouldn`t be too far off either .

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Over here in North Hull, I have a keen interest in all things ornithological that take place in my rather urban front garden. As folk may remember, I was delighted to have a sparrowhawk visit not long since, the unfortunate blackbird it caught was obviously less so.

Just recently, I have another visitor that you might not expect to see. It looks like a sparrow, acts like a sparrow, and flies with other sparrows. The only thing is it's plumage is light grey/silver and I've never seen anything like it. I don't think it can be another species as it hangs around with all the other sparrows but is far more spectacular looking in flight.

Any thoughts from bird experts on here?


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28 minutes ago, Old Frightful said:

Over here in North Hull, I have a keen interest in all things ornithological that take place in my rather urban front garden. As folk may remember, I was delighted to have a sparrowhawk visit not long since, the unfortunate blackbird it caught was obviously less so.

Just recently, I have another visitor that you might not expect to see. It looks like a sparrow, acts like a sparrow, and flies with other sparrows. The only thing is it's plumage is light grey/silver and I've never seen anything like it. I don't think it can be another species as it hangs around with all the other sparrows but is far more spectacular looking in flight.

Any thoughts from bird experts on here?

Three thoughts, OF, and none of them particularly conclusive or convincing, I fear.

The first is that this is simply a local house sparrow with some colour variation, but not as extreme in appearance as it were, say, albino. 

The second is that it is an escaped exotic bird.  Different species in this country do hang around together, most obviously in large flocks in winter when, for instance, you might get some bramblings in with a load of chaffinches.  So, I don't think you can be certain it isn't another species simply because of the company it keeps.  

The third is that it is a sub-species of house sparrow from elsewhere in the world and has hitched a ride - possibly when it was exhausted and over open sea - on a passing boat.  In suggesting that, I am reminded that a few years ago a Spanish sparrow (similar to a house sparrow but a definitely separate species) turned up in Hampshire, a few miles from the Solent and Southampton Water.  Almost certainly this came in on a boat, which is always a possibility near large ports like Southampton and Hull.  Once here, it seemed to turn on its Mediterranean charm, and was reported to have successfully mated with a local house sparrow!

Of these three possibilities, the first is arguably the least exciting, so is probably true!

Any chance of a picture of it?

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I haven't seen a swallow or house martin yet, but now there are reports in neighbouring Hampshire of swifts coming in each day, which strikes me as being quite early; I always think of them arriving during the first week of May.  But there was, for instance, a flock of twenty over water near Romsey yesterday, apparently.

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2 hours ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Any chance of a picture of it?

I'll see what I can do but tried earlier on only to find it wasn't too keen on posing for long.

Thanks for your thoughts anyway. 


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3 hours ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

I haven't seen a swallow or house martin yet, but now there are reports in neighbouring Hampshire of swifts coming in each day, which strikes me as being quite early; I always think of them arriving during the first week of May.  But there was, for instance, a flock of twenty over water near Romsey yesterday, apparently.

Swallows have just arrived in the last hour where I work near Leeds. I always use St George’s day as a guide so 1 1/2 days early, not bad for a few thousand miles, no map, compass or diary. They have loads of energy left, feeding and checking out last years nesting spots.

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Saw my first swallow on the 10th in West Cumbria , 7 days earlier than last year . Watched a couple of Willow Warblers nest building this morning , also heard the first Grasshopper Warbler of the year but couldn`t see it , no binoculars with me unfortunately .

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On 21/04/2020 at 09:24, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Three thoughts, OF, and none of them particularly conclusive or convincing, I fear.

The first is that this is simply a local house sparrow with some colour variation, but not as extreme in appearance as it were, say, albino. 

The second is that it is an escaped exotic bird.  Different species in this country do hang around together, most obviously in large flocks in winter when, for instance, you might get some bramblings in with a load of chaffinches.  So, I don't think you can be certain it isn't another species simply because of the company it keeps.  

The third is that it is a sub-species of house sparrow from elsewhere in the world and has hitched a ride - possibly when it was exhausted and over open sea - on a passing boat.  In suggesting that, I am reminded that a few years ago a Spanish sparrow (similar to a house sparrow but a definitely separate species) turned up in Hampshire, a few miles from the Solent and Southampton Water.  Almost certainly this came in on a boat, which is always a possibility near large ports like Southampton and Hull.  Once here, it seemed to turn on its Mediterranean charm, and was reported to have successfully mated with a local house sparrow!

Of these three possibilities, the first is arguably the least exciting, so is probably true!

Any chance of a picture of it?

On your second guess, there are colonies of green parakeets in London, especially South-East districts. They've been around for years, and seem to be doing fine. Exotic species can thrive, sometimes.

Edited by Futtocks
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On 21/04/2020 at 11:35, Old Frightful said:

I'll see what I can do but tried earlier on only to find it wasn't too keen on posing for long.

Thanks for your thoughts anyway. 

Any more sightings, mate? Fascinated to know what it is.


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On 21/04/2020 at 12:56, Rodill Rover said:

Swallows have just arrived in the last hour where I work near Leeds. I always use St George’s day as a guide so 1 1/2 days early, not bad for a few thousand miles, no map, compass or diary. They have loads of energy left, feeding and checking out last years nesting spots.

It being a leap year it’s only half a day early?
Here in Calder Valley I’ve seen my first two swallows this morning.

Does anyone else think bees are getting bigger? I know there are numerous variations but the ones in my garden are horror film size.

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A neighbour of mine tells me that her husband has seen a swift over our village this morning.  She reckons that is about a week earlier than usual, but I suppose the weather just now is just about as helpful as it can get for migrating birds.

That said, I haven't even seen a house martin or swallow yet!

An osprey has been reported over a period of about twenty four hours in urban Southampton.  It appears to be on the other side of the River Itchen from the new-ish Southampton FC stadium, St Mary's.  Maybe, in soccer parlance, it's a Saints fan.  More likely, it is finding the Itchen a comparatively easy spot in which to fish before it presses on further north.

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On 23/04/2020 at 15:31, ivans82 said:

Saw my first swallow on the 10th in West Cumbria , 7 days earlier than last year . Watched a couple of Willow Warblers nest building this morning , also heard the first Grasshopper Warbler of the year but couldn`t see it , no binoculars with me unfortunately .

The Grasshopper Warbler reeling song is great to hear... i haven't heard one yet, but then again, I haven't been venturing very far for some reason....

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Well, it's happened.  I have seen a swift flying over our road this afternoon; possibly the same one as my neighbour saw yesterday.

This is definitely the first year I can recall seeing a swift before either of a swallow and house martin!

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On 24/04/2020 at 10:18, Ullman said:

Any more sightings, mate? Fascinated to know what it is.

Came round the corner of my house this morning and it was sat on one of the feeding dishes right in front of me, about four yards away. It flew away immediately so I had no chance of a snap but at least it's confirmed that it's absence over the last couple of days wasn't linked to my LSD supplier going into self isolation.

I had a feeling it was slightly larger than your average sparrow so checked on other species but there is really nothing quite like it. There are photographs of silver finches I've looked at but I can't really see much of a resemblance in those tbh.

I'll keep looking and really hope to get a snap of it sooner or later, it's starting to become an obsession to prove I'm not going nuts.


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Right, it's just paid another visit and I managed to get a couple of grainy pics through my lounge window, sorry for the low quality but at least you can see how silvery it is...

 

20200428_075910.jpg

20200428_075907.jpg


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And another next to a regular sparrow...

 

20200428_075917.jpg


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Right, I'm afraid I'm not very good at this photo on the internet lark but if you expand this you get quite a good image of it...

I'll try and get Padge to help.

20200428_155802.jpg

Edited by Old Frightful

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1 hour ago, Old Frightful said:

Right, I'm afraid I'm not very good at this photo on the internet lark but if you expand this you get quite a good image of it...

I'll try and get Padge to help.

20200428_155802.jpg

Thanks for all your photographic efforts, OF.

As you have previously noted, it is hanging out with the other spuggies and I can see that there is some brown, sparrow-like colouration showing through.  I think, therefore, that this is probably an example of leucism.  This is when there is some pigment abnormality.  The effect can be to have an almost white bird, but you wouldn't get the pink eyes that a true albino bird has.  This is because leucism only affects pigment in the feathers.

For a bird, a sad, but inevitable, consequence of being albino or leucistic is that you stand out more when, for instance, your friendly, neighbourhood sparrowhawk drops by!  I hope your one survives!

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Every morning we are being tortured by grey crows pecking at our windows. It starts from the moment it starts to get light at 6am or so and has happened for the last few years now at this time of year. Blood and God knows what all over the windows. They are massive things too.

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50 minutes ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Thanks for all your photographic efforts, OF.

As you have previously noted, it is hanging out with the other spuggies and I can see that there is some brown, sparrow-like colouration showing through.  I think, therefore, that this is probably an example of leucism.  This is when there is some pigment abnormality.  The effect can be to have an almost white bird, but you wouldn't get the pink eyes that a true albino bird has.  This is because leucism only affects pigment in the feathers.

For a bird, a sad, but inevitable, consequence of being albino or leucistic is that you stand out more when, for instance, your friendly, neighbourhood sparrowhawk drops by!  I hope your one survives!

Did a search for leucistic  sparrows and there are quite a few images of them that look like the one in OF's pics. Think you're probably right.


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Old Frightfulls bird 

RobTRL_bird2.jpg.628356fffa6b26ac6c7e3ce30d4ae00d.jpg

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Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

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29 minutes ago, Padge said:

Old Frightfulls bird 

RobTRL_bird2.jpg.628356fffa6b26ac6c7e3ce30d4ae00d.jpg

Fantastic effort mate, I knew you'd come up with the goods.

Must admit though, it was all thanks to me being able to send you an email, the rest was kid's stuff.

I presume!


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3 minutes ago, Old Frightful said:

Fantastic effort mate, I knew you'd come up with the goods.

Must admit though, it was all thanks to me being able to send you an email, the rest was kid's stuff.

I presume!

You didn't send me an email, you sent me a text. I have replied to said text asking you to email the original at full size, but you seem to have not worked out that bit yet. ? 


Visit my photography site www.padge.smugmug.com

Radio 5 Live: Saturday 14 April 2007

Dave Whelan "In Wigan rugby will always be king"

 

This country's wealth was created by men in overalls, it was destroyed by men in suits.

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1 hour ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Thanks for all your photographic efforts, OF.

As you have previously noted, it is hanging out with the other spuggies and I can see that there is some brown, sparrow-like colouration showing through.  I think, therefore, that this is probably an example of leucism.  This is when there is some pigment abnormality.  The effect can be to have an almost white bird, but you wouldn't get the pink eyes that a true albino bird has.  This is because leucism only affects pigment in the feathers.

For a bird, a sad, but inevitable, consequence of being albino or leucistic is that you stand out more when, for instance, your friendly, neighbourhood sparrowhawk drops by!  I hope your one survives!

As my pal Ullman says, looks like you're spot on mate. I'm delighted to have had help in solving the mystery, your knowledge on all things avian is rather impressive.

I'll keep an eye out for said leucistic sparrow who, from now on, shall be known as Luke, and will post bulletins as to his/her well being.

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