Lapland buntings used to be a regular feature of Elmley in winter, with more or less annual records during the first 25 years from 1975-2000. But the frequency of records has declined recently, perhaps as a result of fewer birders being familiar with their distinctive "ticky-tick teew" flight call, but probably equally reflecting a real decline in the numbers wintering on the North Kent Marshes. So it was nice that one was recorded flying over today - not seen, but picked up on call. This reflects a massive influx of these delightfully subtle & unobtrusive tundra specialists into NW Scotland & Ireland (hinting at a Greenland origin), with singletons & small flocks being picked up at coastal watch-points up & down the country. Keep an eye (or more accurately, an ear) out - hopefully the on-coming autumn/winter will bring more to the reserve.
Today's high tide again produced some interest on the Flood (mainly from Wellmarsh hide again) and waders present included 12 little stint, 21 curlew sandpiper, 13 bar-tailed godwit, 48 black-tailed godwit, 120 dunlin, 150 ringed plover, 205 avocet, 3 ruff & single spotted redshank & LRP. Raptors around the reserve included 2 buzzard and male & female merlin and peregrine. A covey of 12 grey partridge on the access track near Straymarsh Farm was the best count I've had in quite a while.