2009 got off to a flier with a mystery grey winged gull found on new years eve at Saltholme Pools, Cleveland getting identified on new years day as the UK's 2nd Glaucous-winged Gull. Fortunately it hung around long enough for me to see it, after spending the Xmas and New Year up in Shetland.
After the good came the bad ? Spent the best part of the day on the 7th looking for the hoax Steller's Eider in North Wales ..... say no more.
The month was dominated by the Waxwing invasion and White-winged Gulls.
More gulls during the first couple of weeks around Arpley Tip and Moore NR. Also in the first week a male Siberian Thrush in Norfolk, which was fresh out and straight back into an aviary. The Black-bellied Dipper was nice though.
The furniture runs up to Shetland were in full swing ready for the big move. Whilst on one of the shuttle runs took in the Ring-billed Gull at Strathclyde Loch. Once back in Cheshire a Cattle Egret was a welcome local bird, just down the M56 at nearby Frodsham.
The last week of March was earmarked for a day out in Devon for the Penduline Tit at Paignton, the Cirl Buntings at Broadsands and the very showy (but probably plastic) Hooded Merganser.
The month ended with another bloody plastic bird? This time a White Stork down the M62 in Yorkshire.
The month started well with a drake Lesser Scaup in Notts, a singing Siberian Chiffchaff near Leek and a Great Spotted Cuckoo in Cornwall. The big move north happened on the 9th, and i was reaping the benifits on the 10th with a Hoopoe gracing the patch for 3 days. Also visiting the garden.
A 1w Kumliens Gull showed well throughout the month at Hamister, a North American Wood Duck (of unknown origin) was also present on Brow Loch. I finally caught up with the Ring-neck Duck on Loch of Tingwall and a mini invasion of Mealy Redpolls occurred on patch.
Its all about spring. Wheatears, Whimbrels, Arctic Terns, Great & Arctic Skuas all returned during the month. On the 5th a Black Kite at Fladdabister was a slight distraction away from a scheduled shopping trip in Lerwick.
A journey back to Cheshire to collect our 2 cats was rewarded with a Pallid Swift at Seaforth, and better news was to follow with a Brown- headed Cowbird on Fair Isle. Thankfully i got back in time to see it.
2 Black Ducks at Scatness and a White-tailed Eagle on return from Fair Isle on the 11th, and a Franklins Gull on the 12th at Sullom was most welcome.
The 16th was a bumper day with lots of migrants around on patch. With the pick of the bunch being 2 Wood Warblers, an Icterine Warbler and a Rustic Bunting.
The migrants kept coming with 4 Dotterel on the 17th up at Skaw. 4 each of Wood Warbler and Tree Pipit and 3 Common Sandpipiers on patch on the 18th. The 19th was a massive day with another Icterine warbler on patch and 2 at Skaw, 4 Bluethroats and a Wryneck the pick of the migrants on isle.
A lull during the 3rd week was chance to get refreshed for the last week. A trip off isle on the 28th meant i could pay the Lesser Scaup a visit on Loch of Freester and the Subalpine Warbler at Scatness. A Golden Oriole did a tour of Whalsay on the 30th. The highlight of the month was left to the last day with breath taking views of a pod of Killer Whales in Lerwick. Simply stunning.
The month started with another Golden Oriole on the 2nd and a Wood Sandpiper near Lerwick on the 3rd. A visit south on the 10th had me heading to Norfolk for a Black-winged Pratincole at Titchwell. A trip over to Fetlar on the 12th produced my only Red-backed Shrike of the year and was a good opportunity to photograph the Red-necked Phalaropes.
A trip to Bressay on the 18th was rewarded with excellent views of the Lesser Grey Shrike and a singing Marsh Warbler at Hoswick.
Another visit south on the 20th had me heading for North Wales straight off the plane for the African Royal Tern, unfortunately this was coupled with 3 points for speeding.
The month was dominated with the Crossbill invasion with probably hundreds throughout Shetland.
Another visit south was rewarded with a Collared Pratincole in Yorkshire on the 21st, but wasn't so lucky trying to catch up with the Blue-cheeked Bee-eater on the 22nd. A patch Little Stint on the 30th ended the month on a high.
The month didn't get started until the 18th with a Common Rosefinch up at Skaw. The 20th produced a Pectoral Sandpiper on patch at Houll Loch which stayed up to the 27th.
Ah, the autumn starts here. Or so i thought ? The first couple of weeks were pretty dire, it got slightly better with 2 Buff-breasted Sandpipers on the 16th up at Skaw. The morning of the 18th was a vast improvement with an Arctic Warbler at Marrister.
The 24th was spent twitching the Sandhill Crane on Orkney with an Adult American Golden Plover also present nearby.
The Taiga Flycatcher on Fetlar on the 28th was the first autumn mega on Shetland.
What a month, definitely one to remember.
A trip to Foula on the 2nd was very memorable. Veery, Buff-bellied Pipit, Pechora Pipit & Arctic Redpoll.
Then another Veery at Symbister when i got back.
Brilliant views of the Pechora Pipit on the 3rd up at Skaw.
My first Yellow-browed Warbler on patch on the 5th and 2 on the 6th. A very showy Arctic Redpoll on the 7th at Cunningsburgh as well as another Arctic Warbler at Quarff.
The 11th produced an Olive-backed Pipit at Vats-houll and a Lapland Bunting on the 12th at Isbister.
A Red- flanked Bluetail at Sandgarth on the 13th was a nice local twitch. The 18th produced my first patch Bluethroat and a probable Spotted Crake on the 19th. Camera got wet on the 20th! A Little Bunting at Sandwick on the 22nd and a smart Wood Lark on patch on the 23rd. A very confiding Common Rosefinch at Sandwick on the 27th rounded off a brilliant October.
A good start with another patch Bluethroat on the 1st, a very late Wheatear and a Short-eared Owl on the 2nd. The Bluethroat was seen again and a Dusky Warbler was very welcome at Sandwick on the 5th.
A trip back to Cheshire for a fortnight included a visit to the Lesser Yellowlegs at Aberlady on the 6th and a journey further south on the 7th for the Fan-tailed Warbler at Pegwell Bay, Brown Shrike at Staines Moor and the Azorean Yellow-legged Gull at Didcot.
Another journey south on the 30th took in a visit to Dungeness for the 2 Glossy Ibis, and another look at the Brown Shrike at Staines Moor which gave breathtaking views.
The very welcome Baird's Sandpiper at Barns Ness on the 2nd, as well as the Lesser Yellowlegs again at Aberlady broke up our return journey north.
The rest of December was as you would expect ? Very Quiet.
So heres to 2010. All the best and good birding.