I went outside my normal St Margaret's area today, the report of some easy to see Lapland Buntings down the road was too strong a lure.
They've been appearing along the Ancient Highway, across Worth marshes on the way to Sandwich and now the observatory is baiting their favoured area with seed. I hadn't been there long when one appeared, typically crouching close to the ground to feed. It is a bulky Bunting with long wings, which give the impression of a short tail.
The chestnut panel in the wing is a very distinctive mark and the stubby pale bill separates it from a Reed Bunting.
At first two birds came to feed, one of them a male, beginning to develop the black chest that will be present during breeding season.
After these two had gone there was a short wait before a third bird appeared. This bird had been ringed by the observatory staff and I understand that on examination it was evident that the bird needs to feed up before it migrates as it has low fat reserves.
This was a good pose showing the developing black breast, the crown stripes and the pale bill. (If you are from the Americas this a a Lapland Longspur).