Tree Sparrow

Tree sparrows are much scarcer in the UK than the more common house sparrow. The RSPB differentiates them by the “chestnut brown head and nape (rather than grey), and white cheeks and collar with a contrasting black cheek spot”.

The RSPB reports that “the main populations are now found across the Midlands, southern and eastern England”, which explains why we never see these birds in Cheshire, and we did see this example at RSPB Fairburn Ings in Yorkshire.

Apparently, populations have very much declined in recent decades, no doubt significantly attributed to the reduction in the number of insects. Wake up, people, modern farming is slowly killing the natural world.

Dunnock

The dunnock, a rather undistinguished little brown job, is quite common in the UK, so little remarked upon.

In my youth it was called a hedge sparrow, and this term is still sometimes used.

This one conveniently posed on a post at the excellent RSPB Fairburn Ings, near Leeds. The variegated markings mean it is well worth a second look, and actually quite attractive.

For inexperienced spotters like me, they are easily confused with house sparrows and corn buntings.