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Mystery bird
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Mystery bird

1st March 2012
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Picture added on 30 March 2012 at 16:06
Comments:
The spots and streaks on its breast and flanks are puzzling(to me anyway) otherwise I'd say it's a Tree Sparrow, a pretty uncommon bird in Orkney. I'd make sure a proper ornithologist sees this photo if I were you.
Added by Ian Hourston on 30 March 2012
I think you are right Ian this is probably the tree sparrow- passer montanus- It differs from the other sparrows in having chestnut plumage on it's head, which by the look of this one it does have.
Added by Neil Johnstone on 31 March 2012
Tree Sparrows tend to show a little more white towards the nape of the neck, but this one's head is drawn in, so the white may be hidden. It's the spots that don't fit - Tree Sparrows don't have spots, either as adults or youngsters, as far as I can discover. Could the 'spots' just be shadows cast by ruffled feathers? I do think it's worth running the original photo past an expert Hannah if there's one handy.
Added by Ian Hourston on 01 April 2012
Thanks I'll do that
Added by Hannah Booth on 10 April 2012
I have more pictures of it if you want me to put them up, I didn't before because I considered them to be perhaps a bit blurry
Added by Hannah Booth on 10 April 2012
Sarah - nice shot, but you have given us a bit of a puzzle. I have taken the liberty of copying your photo and passing it on to someone who should know. In the meantime - anyone have any ideas?
Added by Sandy on 10 April 2012
Hannah, maybe one of your other pics shows the bird with no spots (ie feathers not ruffled)? Perhaps one also shows that the crown is not all chocolate-brown but is blackish particularly in front? In which case out goes rarity and in comes common old Cock (House) Sparrow. The trouble with even slightly blurry pics, from the identification point of view, is that 'field-marks' distinguishing one species from another can often be very small details, as I'm sure you appreciate. But I for one would be very happy to see further pics.
Added by Ian Hourston on 10 April 2012
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Victoria Street, Kirkwall1918. S.S. Hoy from the Point of NessFinstown from WidefordGEORGE REID 1755-1859Doorway to The Gallery, Bridge StreetThe Jarvie Sisters 1915Lizzie Ann Thomson Smith (nee Wilson)John Cooper and Mary Cameron of TifmakaStronsay Central School