Culture

The Pallas’s Rosefinch Of Late May 2005

By John Holloway. Kindly republished here with permission from The Stronsay Limpet

A brilliant male of this species arrived on the Reserve during a spell of warm easterly winds and although individuals of this species (only a very small number in total in he UK) are generally considered as escapes from captivity, this bird however, proved itself to be a genuine migrant – the proof becoming more and more definite during its 3 day stay.

The bird was discovered in the back yard at Castle eating dandelion seed – plenty of that in the area – but knowing that it would be classified as at least a ‘probable’ escape we decided to spread proprietary bird seed around the area, assuming that if it had been in a cage (or aviary) it would recognise it as ‘dinner’.

The local House Sparrows thought it was Christmas and tucked in to the seed – on walls, paths and rough ground etc etc. but the Pallas’s Rosefinch completely ignored them and continued feeding alone on the dandelion ‘heads’ and nothing else. And that continued for the rest of its 3 day stay in the area – the local House Sparrows did not harass it in any way and it would not allow close approach for ourselves.

It may be that not all records of this species in Western Europe have been genuine vagrants – but this bird certainly was!

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