Friday, 11 June 2010

What looked very much like another unexciting day was suddenly enlivened mid-way through the morning by the astonishing surprise appearance of a White-throated Sparrow at Nant. After perching on top of a fence in front of its stunned finder for a few seconds, the bird flew into the dense cover of the plantation and, although excited Observatory staff and visitors were soon on the scene, it remained stubbornly concealed amongst the foliage.

While waiting for the bird to reappear, the assembled observers became aware of an unfamiliar song coming from the nearby withy. It was quickly identified as the song of Greenish Warbler and, eventually, the bird revealed itself well enough for its identity to be confirmed as it flitted from garden to garden singing repeatedly.

The mist nets were opened and amazingly, a short while later, both the sparrow and the warbler found their way into them at the same time. There is no way of knowing what circumstances led to two vagrant birds from such very different parts of the world – a White-throated Sparrow from North America and a Greenish Warbler from Asia – both finding their way to Bardsey on the same morning, but it must be an incredibly rare event for these species to be seen side by side.

Besides the rare duo, there was really nothing much to report. Four Redpolls and three Siskins were flying around the island, a couple of Collared Doves remained and the three Dunlins were still on the beach.

The first view of this stunning White-throated Sparrow was as it popped up on a fence at Nant for approximately 5 seconds before disappearing into the Plantation (c) Richard Brown

Whilst searching for the sparrow this Greenish Warbler was heard in song! Although very mobile it eventually found a mist net (c) Richard Brown


  1. wow! what a day! Bardsey keeps turning up the goods. Many thanks for all the calls. Alan Davies Birdline North West/Wales