A quick visit to Rufforth airfield revealed a man walking his dog and no gulls, so I headed round to Poppleton. A staggering number of large gulls were in the fields north of the Red Lion and viewable distantly from the road west of the field. I soon picked up a sleeping Iceland Gull. It was very white and I assumed it was the regular second-winter bird that has been reported. However, on second thoughts despite having not seen the bare parts I think this is actually a first-winter. There are certainly no newer feathers on the mantle showing. Thoughts?
Further scanning revealed a good candidate for a first-winter Caspian Gull. It was a bit distant for a reasonable photo, but the jizz, structure and plumage all worked pretty well. I really could use a better camera! Also, several Corn Buntings along the road here.
After 20 minutes the gulls took flight and so I headed to the park with Sol who had been very patient.
Later on I popped down to Wheldrake Ings to see if I could get on for the roost. The place was very flooded and I was anxious about driving through the water to the car park but thought I would try. Bit neverwracking but I made it ok.
This site was still very wet so I will unable to get further than the bridge. Fortunately a pack of large gulls were loafing on a near spit and after a few minutes a cracking adult Iceland Gull dropped in and began preening. A little later it took off and flew right to the back of the flood near Swantail where I struggled to see it. Craig Ralston arrived and said he has seen a second winter Iceland flying over Bank Island a few minutes ago. A little later, I picked up a lumbering first-winter Glaucous Gull coming in. It settled on the water but was too distant for photos. My first of the winter. Shortly, I picked up another white winger, this time a first-winter Iceland Gull. This was clearly a first winter, being dark-billed and with plenty of brown on the upperparts. Not much else of note, apart from half a dozen Goldeneye, some Pintails, 30 Fieldfares flew north, calling Little Owl and Water Rails and a fine Barn Owl on the way home. Not bad for a total of 80 minutes birding!
By the way, one Waxwing seen this morning feeding on rosehips by the river near the Bishopthorpe allotments. Also, three Bullfinches.