Monday, 10 January 2011


I summoned Andy Field to come and look at one or two lapland buntings I'd found in this arable field next to Strood Hill on Monday 10th. When we got the telescopes up to look through the flock of skylarks, we first found at least five lapland buntings. A short while later the birds flew a short distance and landed a bit closer to us providing better views. This time we counted an amazing 22+ lapland buntings amongst the 70+ skylarks. Some of the laplands were well marked adults showing the blackish chests and chestnut on the back of the neck.

This was certainly an unexpected find, as previously this winter, there have only been 2 or 3 laplands seen frequenting these Strood-side fields. Although in the past there have been one or two glimpses of birds feeding on the ground, this was an unprecedented view of 22 birds on the ground. Later in the afternoon Andy met a birdwatcher at the Strood who'd turned up and managed to count 25 laplands!

Feeding with the laplands were the 70+ skylarks and one linnet, while a rock pipit flew over the seawall calling. Ten corn buntings were also noted by the weedy field with two of the birds singing. Three snipe, 50 golden plover, little egret, 6 reed buntings and a male marsh harrier were also seen in the area.

We then drove to Michael Thorley's East Mersea garden near Meeting Lane, where at least 10 waxwings were watched feeding on berries in a privet hedge. Fourteen birds were seen here yesterday and there was also a report of the same amount of waxwings in Mick Laver's garden in Empress Avenue in West Mersea. Whilst looking for waxwings today, 2 kestrels perched on the roadside and several small groups of fieldfares were seen along the East Mersea road and also a handful in Empress Avenue.

Plenty of blue sky on Sunday 9th during a quick morning walk along the Strood seawall. Birds of note included a yellowhammer flying over, grey heron while in the channel were 300 brent geese and the usual wildfowl while 2 avocets were the only waders of note. Twenty fieldfares and 2 goldcrest were noted in Firs Chase while 10 house sparrows were in Coast Road.

Andy Field and Steve Entwistle saw 2 coal tits in Shop Lane and 3 siskins near the pond at the country park on Sunday. Daryl Rhymes also visited the Shop Lane area and from the seawall noted 8 marsh harriers, 2 peregrines, common buzzard and a barn owl.

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