By PETER DAVIS and ROY H. DENNIS ON THE EVENING of 27th April 1959, R.H.D. found an unfamiliar small bird--"like a cross between a Hedge Sparrow and a bunting"-- skulking in a tangle of rusty barbed-wire near the derelict radarstation on Ward Hill, Fair Isle. He came down to the Observatory to report this find, and it was still present when we returned to the hill an hour later. It proved difficult to get an adequate view of the stranger, since it was very shy and kept closely to the cover, but we saw it well enough to know that it was one of the North American "sparrows" (Emberizidae). The size, generally drab coloration and skulking habit were reminiscent of a Dunnock (Prunella modularis), but the bill and head-pattern suggested a bunting. At 10-15 yards, in indifferent light, we made out a chestnut crown with a greyish central streak, grey superciliary, a brown stripe through the eye, and pale grey and black moustachials. The under-parts were seen to be whitish, with heavy dark streaking on the flanks and on the breast, coalescing into a conspicuous dark smudge in the centre. The upper-parts were mottled grey-brown, the wings sandier brown, the tail apparently uniform mouse-brown. The bird hopped when moving slowly, but broke into a rapid run when disturbed outside the cover; when flushed, it flew rapidly into cover, but sometimes emerged near the top to watch us. Within half an hour it was caught in a single-panel mist-net and was

Issue 12
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