Well, as anticipated, I have already gotten most of the expected species for the whole year at this early stage, so I have spent the last few weeks not seeing any new species. Imagine my delight, then, when returning home, to be confronted by a Meadow Pipit flushing from the neighbour's garden and landing on a rooftop a few doors down. Some careful positioning in my front garden enabled me to see it from my own boundaries, and luckily I had my bins with me, enabling me to ensure that it was just a Meadow Pipit, and not something mindblowing like a vagrant Olive-backed Pipit (the only ever twitchable OBP in Ireland was at nearby Cobh, Co. Cork in Feb 1991: regrettably for me, I was not twitching at that time. There may never be one so close to home again...).
Recent 'non-garden' highlights include the first Western Palearctic record of a dresseri Eider (an adult male at Fanad Head, Co. Donegal, pics online at http://www.binocularface.co.uk/2010/02/13th-14th-february-2010-ireland-part-ii/ and http://www.irishbirdimages.com/pages/gallery/february2010page2.html), a (putative) 2cy Thayer's Gull at Cleggan, Co. Galway on the way home from the dresseri (http://www.irishbirding.com/birds/web/Display/sighting/20335/Thayers_Gull.html), a very odd Brent Goose showing some characters of 'Grey-bellied Brant', but which is perhaps not quite right for that, a Black Brant in the same flock and 6 Common Buzzards soaring together (this species becomes ever more abundant in Co. Cork).
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.