Juvenile House Sparrow

A combination of the summer warmth and tidal nutrients has caused a greening of the harbour edges. the ground is carpeted in a layer of bright green algae making the rocks slippery and treacherous underfoot.

This bloom of vegetation seems very attractive to the house sparrows, with a small flock hopping about foraging for food. Whether they were feeding on the algae itself or just insects and other tiny morsels within I’m not sure. Either way their antics made for some charming images.

Among the algae

One sparrow was very obliging and allowed me to get surprisingly close with camera in hand. At first glance it looked to be female, and in fact it was only after getting home and reviewing the photographs on the computer, that I realised this is in fact a juvenile male.

Juvenile male house sparrow

Almost impossible to tell apart from an adult female, particularly at a distance, there are some subtle differences which identify this as a young male. There is a hint of grey on top of his head and a black eye mask and bib are just begin to appear through the buff feathers.

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Here you can see the black chest just beginning to appear
Hiding in the grasses


Another telltale sign is the tiny white patch just behind the eye, which is lacking in females.

Adult female
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Adult male

All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2017 ©

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