Last Sunday Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) was the very first time spotted in Estonia. It is also very rare throughout the whole Europe.
Just in the middle of November another European rarity, the Dusky Thrush was also spotted in Estonia, where it usually doesn’t occur. And now, some weeks later the Fox Sparrow was here.
Fox Sparrow is so incredibly rare because this is a North American species, as the birdwatchers say, having been spotted in Europe only two or three times.
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) / Source: Wikipedia
„Rarities happen to be in the birdwatchers‘ sight unexpectedly and this exactly happened there at the wastewater sewage plant in Haapsalu, where the local well-known birdwatcher Aivar Veide happened upon the bird. He was lucky enough to get the pictures right away, but first it was not clear, what it was, because the species is missing from the keybooks of Europe,” said Margus Ots, the chairman of the Bird Rarities Committee of the Estonian Ornithological Society to the “Terevisioon” broadcast. “These pictures spread quickly in the internet and the species was soon determined.”
To explain, how the rare Fox Sparrow could happen to Estonia Margus Ots said, that the outermost distant rarities come to pass here mainly with the same reason – something went wrong on the migration route.
“The bird may have been hit by a storm and then carried away even onto another continent. Another suspicion is, when talking about small Passerines, that being out on the Atlantic Ocean due to a storm or whatnot, they may take a wrong ship to rest on and travel towards Europe instead,” said Ots.
How it will cope with our winter, Ots ould not say.
The rarity has been watched by dozens of birdwatchers both from Estonia and from Finland. “While this is a rare bird throughout Europe then we may expect birdwatchers from further countries as well, such as Great Britain and similar,” Ots commented. Obviously nobody knows how long the bird will stay in one place.
The Fox Sparrow became the 386th bird species ever met in Estonia.
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca) / Aivar Veide
Source: ERR 04.12.2012