...meanwhile, in another corner of the planet (how can a planet, being roughly spherical, have a corner?)
Not much to report on the garden bird front, with no new birds (had a Greenfinch a week or so ago, heard only, that was new for the year), and the highlight being that the male Blackcap must have been lurking unseen all along, or else we've had a new one today, as I heard some plastic song from within the shrubbery.
Otherwise, the hot news over here is that many keen birders (including me) finally caught up with Pacific Diver for our Irish lists (a lifer also for most, again including me, but some had seen the species in Britain or the western US) on Sunday last (some local birders had made it in time on Saturday also). Despite this being in Galway Bay, it seems that this bird is a different individual, with a less well-marked chin strap, from the bird seen there some weeks back! Which, if either, of them are the same as the bird reported as a possible/probable by some experienced visiting British birders in the Galway Bay area last winter, we have no idea.
On returning home that night, news broke of a Fan-tailed Warbler (a.k.a. Zitting Cisticola) at Kilcoole, which had been posted to irishbirding.com as a Sedge Warbler, but, worryingly, the fourth pic in the series was of a Cetti's Warbler, which, despite breeding as close as Wales now, is as rare here as the cisticola, both would be third records for Ireland (the only difference being that there has been a twitchable Cetti's, in 2005...happy days!). As a result, myself and many others smelled a rat, and never travelled: it has been confirmed publicly now that the whole thing was a hoax, and that the shots were taken in Greece last spring! Just when I had begun to wonder if I was becoming too cynical, it seems that my cynicism was vindicated in this case...
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.