Vagrant Fox Sparrow in Estonia

During the last days one Fox Sparrow Zonotrichia or Passerella iliaca, continues to stay in the town of Haapsalu, Estonia at the Baltic Sea. The bird was first spotted on last Sunday. The location Läänemaa/ Haapsalu is roughly 100km away from the Estonian capital, Tallinn. This thrush is obviously only the 5th record for the Western Palearctic after Iceland in November 1944 and Northern Ireland June 1961 plus two records from Germany (caught at Mellum, May 1949 and Scharhörn, Hamburg 24.04.77). In his „Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas“, Band 14/III „Passeriformes, Emberizidae “ Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim considered these birds as ship-assisted vagrants. There is also record in Denmark from 08.01.2010.
The picture show a bird in its home range habitat in southern California. This bird belongs to the subspecies Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis (Sooty Fox Sparrow). This is the west coast (of the US) taxa in the genus Passerella. Although some of the excellent images shot of the vagrant in Estonia give the idea that the Fox Sparrow in Estonia belongs to the nominate form Passerella iliaca iliaca (the so called Red Fox Sparrow), bird-lens attaches the photo to give you some idea of appearance. More pictures you will find in the gallery.

The Fox Sparrow in Estonia belongs probably to the generally central and east coast taxa in the genus Passerella. This is the brightest colored group. The Sooty Fox Sparrow is browner and darker than the Red Fox Sparrow A nice report of the twitch you see here. Just in the middle of November another European rarity, the Dusky Thrush was also spotted in Estonia. And now, some weeks later the Fox Sparrow has shown up.
In his „Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas“,Band 14/III „Passeriformes, Emberizidae “ Urs N. Glutz von Blotzheim mentioned that this is a bird of any overgrown

and wooded habitat, including marsh edges, overgrown fields,  desert washes, and forest edges. The Red Fox Sparrow breeds from the Aleutians and mainland Alaska east to northern Quebec and Maritimes. Will winter in almost the same habitat as the breeding habitat. During migration this species might also appear more in the open in gardens, backyards and forest without any ground cover.
To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic. This image is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Pictures Shop” very soon. Just give a message, if Bird-Lens could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.
Other successful shootings you can see under: www.bird-lens.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.