Enough of this dreary, cold, wet weather it is doing my head in! Nevertheless, spring is just starting to peek through, with Skylarks, Song Thrushes, Dunnocks and the odd Blackbird now adding their voices to the Great Tits and Robins that are already singing. Winter aconites are blooming here and there, splashing glorious mustard yellow along the foot of the hedge.
Yesterday, 11 Waxwings were trilling away from a treetop outside the petrol station near St Helen's Road junction in York, a nice surprise on a lunchtime walk.
Today, accompanied by Sol, I headed up to Castle Howard mid-morning, to see what the east wind had blown in. Pretty dire weather, but reasonable birding, with one Tundra Bean Goose on the water with four Pinkfeet, plus two female Scaup (first winter and adult by the looks of it), 12 Goosanders, four Mandarin (3 males, 1 female), one lonely-looking female Pintail, and a pair of Shovelers, besides the usual cast. A couple of Great Crested Grebes were back on territory, plus several noisy Nuthatches and nest-building Cormorants added to the spring feeling in spite of the parky climate. A Marsh Tit and Redpoll (Lesser or Mealy, now in doesn't matter apparently) showed close by. Most frustratingly, a small skein of nine dark grey geese flew off into the distance and failed to reveal themselves. They could have been the rest of the Beans that have been around but I wasn't sure. The five geese flew into the field and after a bit, sat down and went to sleep.
It started raining again and Sol got bored after a bit, so we headed home.