2013 and beyond

It's pretty simple: the most birds seen or heard from one's yard during 2013 will be the "winner". Want in? O.k....then do it despite that.

2013 promises to be a lot less mean but still a carbon-free birding competition, even if slightly less exciting than a MEGA x EPIC hybrid.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The European Canon is here...

Hi all,
First off, the excuses. My garden is tiny, it is surrounded by concrete, the avifauna of Ireland is impoverished, as is usual for island fauna in general, we are too far west, with no great landmass to the north and no land due south for hundreds of miles, to be on a migration route, I tend to bird elsewhere, and, perhaps, in your American vernacular, I may even suck...who knows?

Now, for those of you living in the home of Uncle Sam, I understand that the average American (meaning people less intelligent than you lot, presumably...you are all birders...but let's not make any assumptions here) has a very poor grasp of geography, so: Ireland is a relatively small island nation, divided into the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, sitting on the western edge of Europe, blocked from getting so many mouth-watering Siberian birds by those Brits (I have British friends, I won't start!), and is probably the best place in the world for seeing Buff-breasted Sandpipers, given that they appear to dematerialise on the breeding grounds and reappear somewhere in South America. Cork is on the south of the island, though, regrettably for me, Cork city is not on the coast proper, even if it does meet the saline waters of Cork Harbour...we might get passerine migrants, including rare ones, if it was.

My garden is tiny, as I said. Caleb kindly sent me a pic showing the position of my house from the air...we won't even ask what a US Air Force unmanned drone was doing flying over my house, though, even had I seen it, I'd probably have misidentified it as a Raven or maybe my first garden Common Buzzard at a push. Here it is.

What do you mean you can't see it? Oh well, here's a closer image.

A not so subtle plug of the one time my team won the Great Island Bird Race (no, I didn't just steal the trophy, and the reason I was so glum is that we won it in January 2008, yet the pic was taken that November).

So, basically, with a running garden total of 52, all I can hope is to offer tantalising glimpses of bird life in a whole different region, some of which may have vagrancy potential to North America.

Given the recent increase, for example, one of these may stray to somewhere like Newfoundland some day...

So, at the moment, we're suffering our worst winter for over 25 years, and I understand this to be the case in much of the US also. Hopefully, this will not cause any extinctions here in Ireland, be they local or national, but it is inevitable that many species will exist at greatly reduced levels for at least a few years. That said, this weather has led to a new species for my garden, in the form of 1-2 Fieldfares, and it was no surprise that there were also a few Redwing for the last 2 days, a species that I saw there as a kid way back in the early 80s, but which I had only recorded flying over on migration since. A male Blackcap also put in a brief appearance yesterday.
That said, I may have had more species this year than I have listed: had I known that I would be taking part in this challenge, I could have kept track. Needless to say, I shall be more vigilant now...I don't know why I bother, though, I'm going to finish rock bottom anyway...


  1. Yada yada yada. 52 species speaks for itself. That puts you among the lowly ranks of Slags himself, an unenviable position. We'll let you two duke it out for second to last place this year.

    As for the American comment- I wouldn't necessarily put some of us on this blog ahead of most Americans in intelligence (names not to be mentioned, Haas been, Dykstricken, Fitzroy, and Slay Gur).

    I do have one question, though, Harry. In regards to your very witty comment regarding American spellings, how exactly do you pronounce "humour". Does it rhyme with "devour"?

  2. Oh yeah, finally added House Sparrow to my 2010 yardlist today. Apparently some kind of deference to our newfound European influence...

  3. 'Humour' is pronounced as it is in the US...

  4. I see the language barrier here (Irish vs. American, oh wait) is becoming a significant problem. Let me explain, Harry: sarcasm is when you...

    Seriuosly though, my flavour and colour are honoured according to the rumours of my neighbours. How am I doing here anyway?

  5. ha CAPut, you're spot on. I'm about as intelligent as a bag of hammers. Ireland is known for its beer and whisky and thats good news for you Harry, you and your poor yard/garden as you calls it. Seriously though, I look forward to more yard highlights and pics from you, nothing like foreign birds.


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