Lets start 2010 with an 'annual report' of the Boulmer Birders monthly highlights of 2009.
New Year on Speyside in temperatures down to -6 degrees. Birds on New Years day included Crested Tit, Hooded Crow and Red Grouse.
My first lifer of the year came early on 8th with the adult Glaucous winged Gull on Teesside, supported by a fw Glaucous Gull both on the same ice.
On 24th work commenced on improvements to our new house in Howick curtailing many weekends thereafter.
Started with snow and ice. My new garden list also started. A hard weather movement on 12th had birds flocking to our coast and a short walk had 65 Skylarks, 120 Fieldfares,20 Redwings and 7 Snipe on the coast path.
The first Fulmars were flying over the garden on Valentines day.
My first moths of the year paved the way to a more concentrated effort that will continue into 2010 and beyond. 4 Pale brindled Beauty were on the wall of the local Spar shop.
The the first new garden and patch highlight of the year. One Raven on 28th was joined by a second in March and were my first coastal birds in Northumberland.
The Ravens were on the garden list on the 13th and 15th. On 15th the first butterflies were a Small Tortoiseshell and a Peacock in the garden.
On 17th a Yellow horned Moth on the Spar wall was a good north Northumberland record.
Near the month end, 3 Chiffchaffs started off the spring on 29th at Howick.
No fool on the 1st when 3 Wheatears were near home on the coast path.
On 6th and Early Grey moth was another good Spar shop record.
Sand Martins arrived back at Howick on 7th followed by a pair of Swallows on 11th and Willow Warbler and Blackcap on 12th.
We finally moved house on 17th.
What a moving in present when a male Marsh Harrier showed well from our porch on the 21st!
During the last week of April other migrants at home included Grasshopper Warbler, Wheatear, Yellow Wagtail and House Martin.
My second Marsh Harrier arrived on 3rd when a female flew north over the pond field.
On 5th a Blue headed Wagtail was a stunner in with cattle near the coast path.
The 6th produced both Lesser and Common Whitethroats as well as a few Bird's Nest Orchids in the estate woods.
More spring birds were added with Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Swift and Common Tern. A few Turnstones and Whimbrel trickled through too, with 7 of the latter calling as they flew north over the garden.
The first Wall Brown was seen on 11th.
Some 'weather' on 17th had me off to Holy Island for some migrants. Pied Flycatcher, Marsh Harrier and a day flying Nightjar were the best. None of these were consolation for missing a Turtle Dove at our village duck pond early on.
On 19th a Cuckoo was heard from our garden plus 4 Noctule Bats showed well feeding at dusk over the pond.
My first Northumberland Speckled Wood was in the pond field on 23rd.
Up the Harthope Valley on 24th. Mother Shipton moth was a lifer for me as they are a scarce species in Northumberland. 6+ Redstarts, Tree Pipit and Whinchat also brightened the day.
Back home on Bank Holiday 25th had my first evening seawatch. Manx Shearwater, Arctic Tern, Red throated Diver, Puffin and Razorbill were all added to the patch year list.
At the months end Badgers featured but it was a shame to find a roiad casualty near home.
The Barn Owls near home began a pattern of hunting right outside our kitchen window that continued right until late August.
One of the years ultimate highlights for me was my first ever self found Northumberland Golden Oriole. A first summer male took up residence in Village Wood for several hours on 18th allowing a few keen birders to twitch it from as far as Newcastle. When it stopped singing at midday it melted away into the canopy and was not seen again.
On 20th a family of 4 Bottle nosed Dolphins gave us a private display in the evening on a flat calm sea just in our little cove, jumping clear of the water before swimming further offshore.
15 Caterpillars of Mullein moth were on verbascum on our drive. A great record only the second record for Northumberland. I will try and catch an adult in spring this year...
The last week of the month was spent on holiday in the New Forest chasing the dragon. No, its not 'Trainspotting', Im talking about odonata, dragon and damselflies. I saw plenty including several new species with a southern distribution including Downy Emerald, Southern Damselfly and Beautiful Demoiselle. Butterflies were exciting too with Silver washed Fritilliary, White Admiral and Emperor.
In what can be a slow month up here I was pleased to be told about some Red veined Darters near Newbiggin. I saw 8 on 14th along with Black tailed Skimmer one of few county records.
Roseate Terns showed well from the coast path early in the month.
A couple of parties of Crossbills were seen and Green Sandpiper was on the Hall pond mid month.
My third Marsh Harrier of the year on the home patch was seen flying north offshore on 25th.
From late in July I scrutinised the garden buddleia's form moths at night finding scarce county moths such as Least Yellow Underwing, Shuttle shaped Dart and Common Footman.
A calling Quail heard from our garden was a good start on 7th.
I was suprised and pleased with an early Icterine Warbler, self found at Fenham le Moor on 9th. Roseates continued to show off our point at home with 1 ad and 2 juvs on the same date.
Bulrush Wainscot was found in the village phonebox.
On 19th and excellent county tick turned up at Cresswell when a Semi palmated Sandpiper showed well.
Moth trapping proper started on 20th when Tom Tams loaned me a Skinner Trap. I was well in there on 22nd with a catch of 283+ moths of which 171 were Large Yellow Underwings!
On 24th a mad dash up to the Farnes for a British lifer - Yellow breasted Bunting turned out to be a wild goose chase, but the Ortolan on show was nice all the same.
On 8th an Osprey on a local telegraph pole was a real joy, totally unexpected too.
The seawatching wasn't up to much really but a Sabines adult north at Newbiggin was appreciated.
The wheel came off on 26th with Northumberlands second Glossy Ibis in 100 years at Druridge. A massice twitch ensued but we needn't have panicked. The bird was faithful to Druridge for another month!.
Some good moths this month with Red Underwing, 2 Merveille du Jour, 2 Blair's shoulder Knot and rarest of all a Tawny Pinion.
On the 11th JWR and myself found a Barred Warbler in the hedge behind the Heugh at Craster.
Then the highlight of 2009 came on 22nd when an Eastern Crowned Warbler was found at South Shields in Trow Quarry after being mis -id'd as a Yellow brow! Luckily it was still showing well on 23rd for me. Although I saw a couple in China last year this did not detract from this first UK record only an hour from home.
0n 25th 2 male Firecrests showed well in Howick Dene.
On the 8th I added a stringy Snow Goose to my county list on the b asis that everyone else does so why not me.
On 29th a good seawatch included 2 Black throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers and 2 Long tailed Ducks all on the patch.
Came and went with little to show except for the cold spell around Christmas. Lapland Buntings, Jack Snipe, Merlins and Long tailed Ducks were good off patch records and 500 Skylarks in the field behind our house was a good count.
Finally at the months end 2 Ravens returned to my Village, bringing 2009 full circle.
Happy New Year everyone. Keep wildlife watching and dont get too down in the mouth during the quiet spells. Retire, regroup and get back in the saddle there's always something interesting just around the corner.