Castle Howard first thing revealed the wintering Scaup, 40 Goldeneye and a sleepy Shoveler. As usual, no sign of any rare grebes and divers no matter how hard I imagined them being there.
On to Wykeham Forest where it was snowing and I revelled in the sight of a very distant Kestrel and not a lot else. Even Willow got bored. But the view was nice!
Dropping Willow off, I headed down the LDV which teemed with birds. Bubwith Bridge was fab with c200 Dunlin, 40 Ruff including three white-headed males, c300 Golden Plovers two of which had attained spanking summer plumage and lots of ducks. Nearby the herd of Whoopers and the wintering pair of Bewick's Swans were in the usual field. Not much from the hide at North Duff. 9 Oystercatchers at Thorganby hinted at spring on the horizon.
The water had dropped at Wheldrake Ings so I managed to wade round to the Tower Hide in my wellies. A good candidate for a first winter Caspian Gull dropped in early and absolutely hordes of large gulls arrived from 4pm onwards and were still streaming in as I drove home. Sadly, apart from a few Lesser Black-backs, I couldn't pull out anything better before I had to head home to defrost my frozen toes at 5pm. A big scary Peregrine was terrorising everything as I walked back. She particularly seemed to enjoy scaring a trio of crows, repeatedly stooping at them; they rolled on their backs putting their feet up in the air and screaming their heads off. She was only playing luckily for them.