Back on the patch this morning after what seems like ages away, Old Water and down to the north side of the estuary first, all very quiet but really nice and spring like, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits and Stonechat pairs all confirming its late March already.
A good stroll and back to the car for tea. We then decided to take a look at the field on the coastal edge of Birling to see if the Arctic Redpoll was still present, this field is now absolutely full of birds, Good numbers of Reed Bunting, Yellowhammer, Tree Sparrow, Skylark, Linnet and Redpoll. No sign of the Arctic though, little winter star has obviously left us.
There were four or so Brown Hare, Gray Partridge and Pheasant.
Anyway, never mind all of that, half way up the field, heading north on our first transect we, at first, got our eye on and then heard the distinctive call that put us on Lapland Bunting alert.
What followed was what seemed like dozens of laps and wanderings through this field, legs getting heavier with each chase. Heading to where the bird seemed to go down, having brief views on the ground then following the bird in flight to the next secluded tuft, stalk or bare patch only for it to flush meters away from where we were certain it would be.. a frustrating and challenging exercise.
The bird did land on a bramble hedgerow for a while allowing the photographs I'm posting here to be taken.. dark ear spot, rusty nape, two or three dark secondary coverts and nice rusty wing patch, a large, 'long' bird in flight with a distinctive look and feel, easy to pick out..
I have never really had very good views of Lapland Bunting, still haven't really but nice to find one and observe it in flight, calling and sat up a bit.. absolutely whacked and ready for more tea when we got back to the car.