|Bird of the Year 2022.|
Over the past 12 months most of my activity has been based around my, very local, home patch, the 3 sq kms around Howick, but in reality a lot of that time is within a single 1 km square. Last year I found a 5km radius way too big to do justice with the majority of that area not visited or not worth a look, so its basics all the way from now on.
There were regular visits to other local areas just over the boundary to places such as Boulmer, Alnmouth, Alnwick Moors etc all within about 10 miles from home.
|My 3km Local Patch|
Further afield were 2 weeks in Caithness and 1 week at the Ardnamurchan plus a single long distance twitch to Bempton Cliffs, Yorkshire with a couple of 'within county' birds taken in as the fancy arose.
This year I decided not to pile pressure on to 'hammer' the list, but to take things quite casually, just enjoying what ever I can come across.
The birding around home was quite good with a few species new to the area list plus a few that are categorised ( by me) as rare, ie recorded in 4 or less years out of the last 14. Birds in this list are as follows.
Egyptian Goose 1st record here, a lucky sighting on a morning dog walk on the 12th May.
Mandarin Duck 3rd patch record was of a nice drake on the pond, the same week as the goose and can be seen in the same link.
Pallid Swift 1st record. The rarest birds on patch this year will obviously be firsts when a party of 3 Pallid Swifts spent an hour showing well over the cricket pitch on 29th October.
Black Tern 2nd site record for me, a close in single feeding over the sea at Rumbling Kern on 6th September. Last record was 2011.
Great Shearwater 3rd record. This pelagic wanderer is getting commoner each year and can now be actively looked for rather than just being a random occurrence.
Cory's Shearwater 1st and only my 2nd ever in the UK. What a year for this bird in Northumberland, with multiples seen. I was lucky enough to get decent views of one from Cullernose on 26th July.
Hen Harrier 2nd record, was a great surprise on an otherwise quiet day for birds on 22nd February near the Teepee track.
Green Woodpecker 4th record but none since 2017 and before that was 2010. Flew S along the coast path on a fine spring morning in May.
Siberian Chiffchaff 2nd record. One calling seen briefly near the pond on 30th October.
Bluethroat 1st record and contender for bird of the year for me. Found by Mandy Fall in her garden at Seahouses Farm. Sublime! A classic May date too. Worth another read.
Pied Flycatcher 4th record. Probably commoner here really but I don't seem to find them often so it its always a pleasure. 5th September.
Apart from these, other noteworthy species this year -
Whooper Swan, Pink footed and Barnacle Geese, Scaup, Cuckoo, Water Rail, Purple Sandpiper, Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Med and Little Gulls, Little and Roseate Terns, 4 sp Skuas, Little Auk, Sooty Shearwaters, Marsh Harrier, SEO, Raven, Waxwing, Willow Tit, Redstart, Twite and Snow Bunting.
Moth Trapping continued in the garden, where the species list continued to grow.
04.089 Ectoedemia albifasciella
15.044 Phyllonorycter sorbi
21.001 Lyonetia clerkella
32.016 Agonopterix propinquella
|35.118 Scrobipalpa ocellatella Beet Moth part of an unprecendented National Influx. New to Northumberland, I caught 6!|
35.118 Scrobipalpa ocellatella Beet Moth
35.159 Exoteleia dodecella
38.039 Elachista maculicerusella
49.376 Pammene aurita
|62.053 Ancylosis oblitella|
62.053 Ancylosis oblitella, new for the north of England!
|My first garden Box Tree Moth was this lovely dark form.|
63.054 Cydalima perspectalis Box-tree Moth My first record.
63.074 Eudonia mercurella
70.046 Orthonama vittata Oblique Carpet
70.051 Xanthorhoe spadicearia Red Twin-spot Carpet
70.166 Eupithecia simpliciata Plain Pug
|Lunar Marbled Brown.|
71.011 Drymonia ruficornis Lunar Marbled Brown
73.087 Spodoptera exigua Small Mottled Willow
These were all new. Several Scarce Bordered Straw and Hummingbird Hawk-moths were a good feature as was a single Convolvulous Hawk-moth found in a nearby field.
Out of the other many highlights off patch must be -
|The Bempton Black-browed Albatross a lifer for me, clawed back after last years galling dip.|
|Another get back after last years miss was the Long Nanny American Black Tern, and what a stunner too giving great views.|
|Orca at Auchengill, Caithness in June.|
|Oysterplant, Caithness, June. Very pleased to find this declining plant.|
|Pine Marten, Ardnamurchan, September.|
|Moonwort, Caithness, June.|
|Pied Wheatear, Whitley Bay, October.|