14 May 2010

Tree Sparrow update and plea for records

Andrew Lucas wrote yesterday: I made an early morning visit to the main west Gower site today. I'm afraid the news is not good.

Firstly, despite being on site for over an hour, I didn't see any tree sparrows. There were plenty of other species in evidence (house sparrow, pied wag, chaffinch, goldfinch, yellowhammer).
Secondly, no sparrows in any of the boxes. In fact box use has been very low this year. Just three boxes in use (2 blue tit, one great tit) out of 20 boxes. Occupancy is usually more like 40%+.

Thirdly, I've broached the idea of a bird cover crop with the owner, but he's not interested. The bit of fallow land to the north which is always grass (which I though might be a possible location), can't be ploughed and seeded because it is too rocky.

So the most recent records are from Barrie Swinnerton, of two, briefly on 24 April, and one on 11 April.

Whilst it's way too early to say that we have lost tree sparrows for good - they can be very elusive when nesting at low densities - this is a worry. I'd be grateful for any other sightings, or negative reports, that anyone may have from the last few months or so.

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