2014 got off to a good start when a Green Sandpiper got up in front of me and the pup as we took our morning constitutional along the receding floods on Bishopthorpe Ings. Feeling inspired and with last night's hangover fading, I tramped around the wet grassland hoping for a Jack Snipe but my luck failed to hold.
Later, a quick walk with the family and Philip around the Askham Bog boardwalk revealed a couple of Marsh Tits and Bullfinches and amazingly a Woodcock ejecting off the floor in the same place it has been the last three winters.
Later still, an hour at Acaster Malbis church revealed a corking flock of cream Goosanders (16, inc 11 males) cavorting on the floods, plus the pair of Shovelers again, along with 21 Tufted Ducks. Sadly, the gull flock was pushed off by a man on the far side who had with him a shotgun, a labrador and a nasty plan. As I stood on the iron bridge hoping for an Otter (and seeing to my surprise two Little Grebes on the Ouse) I heard the bang of both barrels to the south. I hope the strengthening breeze gave the ducks extra speed and the man had to settle for pizza.