Spanish Sparrow brings great excitement with his return
A village in Hampshire has become swamped with unexpected visitors, all hoping to catch a quick view of a tiny sparrow last seen in the UK in 1966.
A quiet and sedate neighbourhood in Calshot, Hampshire, has been flooded with bird watchers eager to catch a glimpse of the Spanish Sparrow.
Professional photographers desperate to take the perfect picture lined up in the streets on lawns and outside garages, looking as if the paparazzi was in town attempting to photograph a Hollywood celebrity.
But this celebrity is a feathered-rarity, all of six-inches long, and is expecting around 2,000 hopeful viewers.
Police have had to cordon off areas to keep things from getting out of control and a local Army base has also been informed that there are some strange activities in town.
A local resident first spotted the bird and thought it was just an odd looking member of the sparrow family.
“When we first spotted it we thought it was just a strange-looking sparrow,” says Claire Milgate-Whitcher who first sighted the bird in her garden. “But after showing it to a neighbour who is a keen birdwatcher, we realised it was something quite special.”
Public release of the news was delayed so that residents of the small village were able to prepare for the sudden influx of visitors.
Said Simon Ingrim, from the Hampshire Ornithological Society: “We warned residents the discovery would cause what is known as a major twitch.
This type of thing might never happen again so it has generated a lot of excitement.”
The last sighting of a Spanish Sparrow in the UK was 12 years ago. The latest sighting marks only the 8th sighting ever recorded.