Over last weekend the news began to emerge of a possible ‘first for Britain’, in the form of an Italian Sparrow, a stable hybrid between Spanish and House Sparrow and found mainly, as the names suggests, in Italy and believed by some to be a separate species. The bird had been present at Hungry Hill, Northrepps for a few days, apparently breeding with a House Sparrow. I saw the bird on Monday evening, when it was singing, displaying and visiting the nest site. Tonight it proved to be much harder to pin down, probably because the young fledged yesterday and have presumably dispersed. The bird did however come to bread briefly, which was kindly put out by Carl the very obliging finder. To my eye, the bird is a dead ringer for the image of Italian Sparrow in the new Collins and the numerous photos on the internet, save for one small detail – it lacks any apparent white ‘eyebrow’, although on it’s left side it did have a couple of tiny feathers, which hinted at that feature. Apparently it all hangs on the DNA analysis, so we’ll have to wait and see. An interesting bird, whatever it’s pedigree/origins:
No one has yet commented on its song which, according to Collins, is inseperable from House, but which to my untutored ear sounded noticeably sharper, sweeter, slightly more melodic?
Extra photos taken on Saturday 24th August: