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Orange-crowned Sparrow: A First for Arran and for the UK

Orange-crowned Sparrow is a common bird of weedy or shrubby lowlands and city edges along the Pacific coast of North America from British Columbia to California. Having never been recorded anywhere in the UK or Ireland before it caused quite a stir when it turned up in a garden in South Feorline around this time last year. It was photographed by the puzzled owners in the evening. They had never seen anything like it. They put their photograph promptly out on social media seeking help with identification and were astonished when it was quickly identified as a North American species, the Orange-crowned Sparrow.

News spread like wild fire through the birding grapevine.  The following day many twitchers rushed to fill the first ferry.  The earliest arrivals in South Feorline got the merest glimpse of the bird flying off towards Blackwaterfoot and despite extensive searching of the surrounding area, it was never located again.  The photographs taken at Frailloop Cottage on 1 April 2017 were submitted to the British Rarities Committee for ratification of this remarkable record not only for Arran but for the UK and Ireland.

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