Stepping out of the car the wind was very strong and carried with it a bitter chill, so I was glad to have padded myself out with so many layers, but I was on a mission to see the Lapland buntings so the weather wasn’t going to deter me.
Walking up the steps to the sea wall, the wind immediately became stronger. A flock of brent geese to my left attracted my attention but they were soon disturbed by a walker on that side so they took off and flew over the sea wall. Moorhens and mallards were feeding in the ditches and reeds to my right, along with reed buntings which were flitting about. A male marsh harrier glided along in the skyline, the light showing the grey patches of the bird’s wing clearly as it drifted over the reeds. The distant mud flats showed curlew, redshank and various shelduck.
The strong wind was reluctant to take a break and I had long since lost feeling in my fingers – so much for wearing several pairs of gloves, but reaching the bend in the path I saw the Lapland buntings flying down to the ground briefly before going off again. I moved down to the gate and waited for their return, in the meantime being serenaded by skylark and entertained by reed buntings and a flock of chaffinch, who kept coming to the seed scattered on the ground. After waiting patiently, a small flock of Lapland buntings arrived all at once, taking advantage of the seed. You certainly got good views of them from this point, they really are a pretty bird, with their brown streaked plumage and white wingbars clearly visible. They stayed for a fair while before suddenly taking flight together, disappearing into the grass beyond.