Spanish Sparrow & Dark-eyed Junco
Finally gave in to the temptation of a twitch down to Hampshire to get two new "lifers" and two Megas within ten miles of each other.
First stop was Calshot Close, in Calshot for the Spanish Sparrow, in my mind this was the easy one - but it wasn't and after over an hour looking with the help of a father & son from Edinburgh I gave up and drove the ten miles to Hawkhill Inclosure for the Dark-eyed Junco. There were already four birders there, they'd been there for over half an hour and not seen it yet, but one of them had been at Calshot earlier and seen the Spanish Sparrow - damn!
A bit more exposed here than in Calshot Close, a bitterly cold wind and an hour of not seeing the bird convinced me to drive back to Calshot if for nothing else just to warm up. Calshot Close was quite different this time, the garden next to the green with feeders which had had no birds in it on the first visit was alive with sparrows and within five minutes I'd found the Spanish Sparrow - excellent, one down, one to go.
Back at Hawkhill Inclosure only one birder was on site and he was leaving having seen the Junco. Good news, but it wasn't there at the moment. I'd picked up a couple who'd not known which area to look in, then another three joined us - a possible sighting, but not by me. The first couple gave up, a second couple came along and then up went the cry "I've got it" - There it was sitting on the edge of the furthest fallen tree. Snap, snap, snap before it flew off - three and a half minutes. Stayed a bit longer but didn't find it again and the photos seemed okay. So two out of two, a good day, time to head home. A 235 mile round trip for two "lifers" - yup, that'll do nicely.