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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tough going

Hi all,
It's becoming ever clearer to me that I have next to no chance of not finishing bottom, as those of you with scores lower than mine have such valid excuses as, I don't know, living in areas that get even colder winter weather than we had here for a few weeks, and every winter to boot, or working and not being able to see their gardens in daylight. Once the days begin to get longer, and migration starts, all of you will start racking up the 'warblers' (as someone from the Old World, it is always a bit strange referring to birds more closely related to buntings as warblers), vireos etc, whereas the only summer migrants that I can be in an way hopeful of getting would be Barn Swallow, Sand Martin (a.k.a. Bank Swallow), House Martin and Common Swift, and the two martins will take some effort and luck.
Indeed, I can only realistically expect 15 or so extra species in the whole year, which would leave me short of 40 on 31st December...
At the moment, we are still enjoying milder weather, and, while bird numbers have dropped a little in my tiny garden, the male Blackcap found on 10th January is still present, a Winter Wren in song yesterday was new for the year and a Eurasian Goldfinch that briefly landed on the rowan tree reminded me to add the species to my list, having had a flyover a week or so back.


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  2. It's also strange that our warblers don't warble, but that's for another discussion. As for your yardbirding struggles ("don't have a Hussey"), when you are getting birds which would be lifers for me in your 'garden', I am not too sympathetic!

    But you really should build a nocturnal mic, man, and see what you can score with it. It's incredibly fun, and you and Booner could both add a lot of species that you wouldn't get any other way...

  3. Hi Caleb,
    I fear that, were I to get a nocturnal mic, some of what I recorded would be taken by the guards (Irish police) for use as evidence...
    Seriously, I do wonder if my area is too built up, and it opens up an ethical can of worms: if a species goes over, which I neither see nor hear, yet I manage to record it in that manner and identify it from listening back/sonograms, does it count as a legit garden bird tick...?
    Which birds would be lifers, btw?

  4. Harry- You must hear the bird with your naked ear, then use the mic to confirm it in order to count it as a yard bird. See our discussion under earlier post about this exact point for Booner "Views from the Wasteland" from 23 Jan. The full view of the sky for you is an excellent feature, but city noise could be a potential problem. Honestly, though, it is so fun I am sure you'd have a blast doing it. Maybe you could put together the first Palearctic compilation of flight calls??

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  6. My lifers would be everything on your yardlist except House Sparrow, Starling, & Black-headed Gull (seen once!). Have seen 1 each (presumed releases) of Whooper Swan, Common Chaffinch, and Eurasian Siskin.

  7. Yeah, your yard list while dull to you is filled with intrigue for us yanks. And who knows if you actually try then you might actually beat Slag heap and Booner.

  8. DubNer is right. At the rate I'm going, you may always have a 16-tick lead over me.


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