Birdwatchers flock to Stockholm for rare sparrow sighting

A yellow-browed bunting (Emberiza chrysophrys) was spotted near Stockholm on Saturday. The species of sparrow has never before been spotted in Sweden and caused excitement among ornithologists who came from far and wide, Expressen reports.

Birdwatchers flock to Stockholm for rare sparrow sighting

The yellow-browed bunting usually spends its winters in China and breeds in a very small area of Siberia, south of the Baikal sea. So when the signal went out among Sweden’s ornithological community that one had been spotted on Norra Järvafältet near Stockholm over 400 enthusiasts felt the calling to make the journey.

Ornithologists from as far away as Denmark could be found on the heathland in the Stockholm suburb laden with zoom lenses and binoculars, eager to get a glimpse of the rare bird and the excitement occasionally got the better of them.

“There was a bit of turmoil in the camp. It was very crowded and as soon as the bird or someone else moved then everyone started running. Fortunately there were no outbreaks of actual violence, but the atmosphere was dramatic to say the least,” said veteran ornithologist Hanrik Waldenström to Expressen.

There have been very few sightings of the yellow-browed bunting in western Europe as the bird generally has a very short range. According to the Swedish Ornithological Association only five sightings are on record in Britain since 1998 to add to a few in the Benelux countries.

The latest sighting of the bird was recorded on Monday morning and the yellow-browed bunting is reported to be resting in the vicinity of Säbysjön on Järvafältet.