09 December 2011

Gower Tree Sparrow Project update

Andrew Lucas wrote: "This winter, the Gower Tree Sparrow Project has restarted some feeding at two locations where tree sparrows have been seen in the not-too-distant past: Newton Farm and Kimley Moor. Local birders have been busy in recent years with Atlas work, but now that is more or less finished, thoughts have returned to finding one of Gower's most elusive passerines! Incidentally, don't take any notice of 'Gower Birds'; reports of the project's death have been greatly exaggerated.
feeders at Newton feeding station
Kimley Moor feeding station
This year, we will try single feeders at two locations - Newton Farm and Kimley Moor - with possibly more when we get them renovated. After four years, they are looking a bit tired, and several need spare parts!. Both locations are on public footpaths, and anyone is welcome to visit them. If you do visit, please report back what you see to me at a.lucas@ccw.gov.uk, even if you see nothing! If the feeders are empty, please feel free to refill them. At Kimley Moor, the seed is in a dustbin near the feeder. At Newton, the food is in a dustbin inside the barn on the left as you approach the derelict farm from the south.
The story of tree sparrow on western Gower is a perplexing one. Birds have been known to breed at Newton Farm for several years, but have disappeared recently. Nestboxes have been provided at several locations, without success (though we have boosted Gower's blue tit population!!).

This winter,we hope to relocate the birds, but to do that, we need birdwatchers out there looking. The two locations would make a very nice circular walk on western Gower. The area is well worth a look, as over the years a number of other nice birds have been seen in the area, including Merlin, Woodlark, Hen Harrier and Barn Owl. Oh yes, and Gyr Falcon!!! If you see a possible Tree Sparrow, remember the differences with house sparrow. In Tree Sparrow, the sexes are similar, the crown is chocolate brown, and the birds have characteristic dark cheek spots or 'ear muffs'.

The project has produced a newsletter for participating farms each year at Christmas, which can be found by clicking on the links below.

Don't forget that the project relies on landowner goodwill, so if you visit, please keep to the public footpaths and follow the country code. In particular, make sure that all gates are shut properly.

Finally, the project is always looking for help, so if you'd like to get involved, please let me know.

Thanks to Sean Hathaway and Mark Winder of the City and County of Swansea for their help."


To view the GTSP newsletters click on the following links:
     2007     2008     2009     2010       


Mark Hipkin said...

Thanks for publishing the info on this. I'm very keen to see a Gower Tree Sparrow and the location info will be very useful to me. I will report back news of any visits that I make.

Barry Weston said...

Feeders re-filled today.

Alun said...

For Barry Weston... the feeder was down about 12 inches so didnt see the need to refill as there was a lot of bird activity... blue tits.. several robins.. lots of chaffinches.. and about 6 to 12 house sparrows both male and female either on the feeder or in the nearbye tree.. I watched for about an hour until 50 plus sheep arrived and scared all the birds off..

Barry Weston said...

Thanks Alun.
No problem about re-filling just like to keep informed if possible as Andrew and I both live in Clydach and we can't visit every week.

Alun said...

Went on the circular route this morning.. Filled the half empty feeder in Newton Farm about 11:00.. while settling down to watch for a while several sparrows flew into the bushes to the right of the feeder.. Bins showed one was a tree sparrow.. they were then scared off by a nearbye shooter... I watched and waited this time with the camera on the feeder and after about an hour I finally got a picture of it... My first tree sparrow and a Gower one at that.!! Pictures available if you let me have your address..

Mark Hipkin said...

Alun, this is fantastic news and I for one will be heading the down there for my first Gower Tree Sparrow in a very long time. The photos you took would be great on this site you can send them to Barry or me to upload

Barry's is monmoths@virginmedia.com
Mine is markhipkin1@gmail.com

Mark Hipkin said...

Barry's email should have read


as found at the top of the blog page underneath the Welcome Note