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Year 10, Issues 1-3

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*The Cup 10.1-10.3 ­ January/February/March 2005
*The electronic publication of the David Cup, McIlroy and various 
*other birding competitions.
*  Editor-in-Chief:  Jay McGowan
*  House Interviewer:  Mark Chao
*  Highlights:  Jay McGowan
*  Food Critic:  Steve Fast
*  Bird Taste-Tester:  Martin McGowan

It is hard to believe it, but we are already nearly a third of the way 
through 2005.  As you may have noticed by now, this issue covers three 
months instead of the customary two.  We at The Cup have decided to 
make this publication, at least for a while, tri-monthly (or quarterly, 
if you prefer.)  Ostensibly this is to grant more time for putative 
columnists to complete their respective columns, assemble more 
entertaining material, and generally ameliorate the entire entity, 
consequently bringing you a more insightful and engaging publication 
all around.


In any case, we plan to send out updates on the totals every month.  
Therefore, because we will not have to wait for other components in 
order to publish the standings, as long as you reliable Cuppers send in 
your totals in a timely manner we will have more up-do-date standings 
than in the past few years.  (Please note that by “reliable Cuppers” I 
am referring to ALL Cuppers rather than those Cuppers who are actually 
reliable, in the hopes that this modest accolade will lend motivation 
to some of you.) 

So, send in your totals.  Write up your articles.  Read The Cup.  Or 
better yet, go birding.

And now, The Cup 10.1-10.3 inclusive!


<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< PILGRIMS' PROGRESS >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

January, February, March 2005 David Cup Totals

Bob McGuire has taken an early lead in the Basin competition.

83, 101, 119 Bob McGuire
88,  95, 114 Tim Lenz 
74,  93, 108 Steve Fast
67,  92, 107 Jay McGowan
43,  86, 107 Mike Harvey
81,  --, 102 Mike Andersen
70,  77, 102 Kevin McGowan
62,  68,  98 Ken Rosenberg
56,  67,  96 Mark Chao
--,  90,  90+Scott Haber
49,  66,  89 Anne Marie Johnson
47,  55,  78 Meena Haribal
38,  49,  78 Perri McGowan
76,  77,  77+Jesse Ellis
43,  53,  65 Bard Prentiss
 0,  61,  61 Matt Medler
10,  58,  58+Dan Lebbin
--,  48,  56 Chris Tessaglia-Hymes
51,  51+, 51+Mickey Scilingo
44,  44+, 44+Melanie Driscoll
16,  26,  44 Tringa (the Dog) McGowan
13,  17,  22 Martin (the Cat) McGowan
11,  11,  23 Frank “Pusser D. Cat” Fast
 0,   0,   0 Pete Hosner
 0,   0,   0 Jeff Wells

[EDITOR’S NOTE: If I were the sort of person who held grudges and 
enjoyed making biting and sarcastic comments about people, I would 
probably note that this is the first time in recent memory that Jeff 
Wells has sent in his totals on time without several snippy reminders 
and dire threats.  Is it not an odd coincidence that when this happened 
his total just “happened” (note biting and sarcastic quotation marks) 
to be a big, easy-to-figure-up zero?  As I say, this is undoubtedly the 
kind of thing I would say; however, luckily for Jeff, I am not that 
kind of person.]

[EDITOR’S NOTE 2: To be fair to the Wells’ and because the preceding 
note is really more her style anyway, it should be noted that I might 
also have mentioned that Allison Wells STILL did not send in her 

Jay McGowan’s 100th bird - Eastern Meadowlark
Kevin McGowan’s 100th bird - Brown-headed Cowbird
Bob McGuire’s 100th bird - Gyrfalcon!

January, February, March 2005 McIlroy Award Totals

62, 66, 90 Ken Rosenberg
57, 60, 84 Tim Lenz
--, 33, 67 Mark Chao
42, 48, 63 Jeff Gerbracht
43, 47, 62 Kevin McGowan
36, 51, 58 Jay McGowan
31, 31+,31+Melanie Driscoll
24, 24+,24+Mickey Scilingo

January, February, March 2005 Evans Trophy Totals

39, 51, 71 Jay McGowan
43, 47, 68 Kevin McGowan
22, 34, 62 Steve Fast
38, 30, 51 Bard Prentiss
18, 27, 50 Perri McGowan
34, 34+,34+Mickey Scilingo
33, 33+,33+Melanie Driscoll

January, February, March 2005 Yard Totals

Surely there are more people out there who keep yard lists!  Come on, 
don’t be afraid to join the fun...

--, 30, 45 Nancy Dickinson
22, 25, 35 McGowan/Kline Family, Dryden
26, 26+,26+Pixie Senesac 
16, 17, 25 Anne Marie Johnson, Caroline

January, February, March 2005 Lansing Competition Totals

40, 49, 68 Mark Chao
--, 40, 55 Jay McGowan
36, 44, 54 Kevin McGowan




By my count the totals for January, February, and March were 112, 117, 
and 135, respectively.  
Here is the whole list as of the end of March:

Mute Swan, Tundra Swan, Canada Goose, CACKLING GOOSE, G. W-F GOOSE, 
ROSS'S GOOSE, Snow Goose, Wood Duck, Mallard, Am. Black Duck, Gadwall, 
N. Pintail, Am. Wigeon, EURASIAN WIGEON, N. Shoveler, B-w Teal, G-w 
Teal, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, L-t 
Duck, Black Scoter, W-w Scoter, C. Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded 
Merganser, C. Merganser, R-b Merganser, Ruddy Duck, R-n Pheasant, 
Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, C. Loon, P-b Grebe, Horned Grebe, R-n 
Grebe, EARED GREBE, D-c Cormorant, Great Blue Heron, Turkey Vulture, 
Osprey, Bald Eagle, N. Harrier, S-s Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, N. Goshawk, R-
s Hawk, R-t Hawk, R-l Hawk, Golden Eagle, Am. Kestrel, Merlin, 
Peregrine Falcon, GYRFALCON, Am. Coot, SANDHILL CRANE, Killdeer, Am. 
Woodcock, Wilson's Snipe, Bonaparte's Gull, R-b Gull, Herring Gull, 
Iceland Gull, Glaucous Gull, Lesser B-b Gull, Great B-b Gull, Mourning 
Dove, Rock Pigeon, S-e Owl, Great Horned Owl, Barred Owl, N. S-w Owl, 
E. Screech-Owl, Belted Kingfisher, R-b Woodpecker, Y-b Sapsucker, Downy 
Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, N. Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, Eastern 
Phoebe, N. Shrike, Blue Jay, C. Raven, Am. Crow, Fish Crow, Horned 
Lark, Tree Swallow, Tufted Titmouse, B-c Chickadee, R-b Nuthatch, W-b 
Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina Wren, Winter Wren, G-c Kinglet, R-c 
Kinglet, E. Bluebird, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD, Am. Robin, N. Mockingbird, 
European Starling, Am. Pipit, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Cedar Waxwing, Y-r 
Warbler, C. Yellowthroat, N. Cardinal, E. Towhee, Am. Tree Sparrow, 
Field Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, W-t Sparrow, W-c 
Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Swamp Sparrow, D-e Junco, Lapland 
Longspur, Snow Bunting, E. Meadowlark, B-h Cowbird, R-w Blackbird, 
Rusty Blackbird, C. Grackle, Evening Grosbeak, Purple Finch, House 
Finch, C. Redpoll, Pine Siskin, Am. Goldfinch, House Sparrow.


Bob has missed only a few birds so far:

Scoter, Bonaparte's Gull, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Yellow-bellied 
Sapsucker, Winter Wren, BOHEMIAN WAXWING, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Common 
Yellowthroat, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, White-
crowned Sparrow, Evening Grosbeak.



by Jay McGowan


The 43rd annual Ithaca Christmas Bird Count was held, as usual, on 
January 1st.  A total of 78 species were found, including WOOD DUCK, 
were set for Fish Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, and White-breasted 

The Montezuma Christmas Bird Count was held on January 2nd.  Highlights 
FIELD SPARROW.  Also reported was a YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD near Noble 
Corner.  Unfortunately details for this bird were rather sketchy and 
the bird was not refound.
Winter finches were sparse but present this winter.  The first COMMON 
REDPOLL was seen on Hunt Hill Road by Laura Stenzler on January 6th.  
Two days later it was joined by a PINE SISKIN.  Siskins continued to be 
seen in small numbers in various locations around the area, including 
Hunt Hill and Summerhill.  Mickey Scilingo and Melanie Driscoll had 
redpolls visit their feeders on Yellow Barn Road on the 15th and 
continued to see rather large (for the year) numbers for several weeks.

Ken Rosenberg saw a YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER at the Lab of O on the 7th.  
As in several past years, a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK spent much of the 
winter in the vicinity of the Lab of O.  Larry and Sarah Jane Hymes 
found an adult CHIPPING SPARROW (with some retained alternate plumage) 
at their feeders in Ithaca on January 7th.

One of the best birds of the month was just outside the Basin.  A male 
VARIED THRUSH was found by Arnold Talentino in his yard in downtown 
Cortland on January 7th.  This bird stayed until the 8th.

A GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE was seen on Montezuma on the 8th.  The 
EARED GREBE was seen on January 9th and remained until at least late 
March, during which time it was joined by a second individual.  Red-
necked Grebes were seen occasionally in early February.

Tim Lenz found a Richardson’s CACKLING GOOSE at Stewart Park on January 

NORTHERN SHRIKES were quite numerous this winter.  A sometimes-
cooperative individual haunted the northeast corner of the Ithaca 
airport, and another (or possibly the same) was seen occasionally near 
the Lab of O.  Another was seen intermittently on Mount Pleasant Road 
and several others were reported from many other locations.
SNOW BUNTINGS were also fairly abundant this winter.  One flock near 
Center Road in Genoa included at least three LAPLAND LONGSPURS, and 
another longspur was seen with the large flock of buntings on Cornell 
Lane in Cortland County.

SHORT-EARED OWLS were seen reliably near Rafferty Road in Ledyard in 
late January and for most of February and March.


PEREGRINE FALCONS were seen sporadically in January, but in early 
February one individual began to spend much of its time on the ice off 
Stewart Park.  In early March it was joined for a time by a second 
Peregrine.  Neither individual was reported after mid-March.

White-winged gulls were numerous around Seneca Falls and Geneva in 
February.  Multiple individuals of GLAUCOUS, ICELAND, and LESSER BLACK-
BACKED were reported, as well as a possible THAYER’S at Van Cleef Lake 
on the 19th.

On February 24th, Kevin McGowan found a BOHEMIAN WAXWING in with a 
flock of Cedars on the Cornell Plantations near Mundy Wildflower 
Garden.  Two Bohemians were seen nearby on the following day but none 
were reported subsequently.

On February 27th, a group of birders circling the lake found an adult 
gray-phase GYRFALCON (first spotted by Dan Lebbin) along the lake shore 
in the town of Varick on the west side of Cayuga Lake.  Nearby at 
Dean’s Cove, a CACKLING GOOSE was seen accompanying a large flock of 
Canadas.  The next day the Gyrfalcon was relocated in Aurora (on the 
opposite side of the lake.)  It was not reported after that, however.


On March 6th, Brian Sullivan found an immature male MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD 
(the first ever for the Basin) on Quarry Road near the intersection 
with Ellis Hollow Road.  This bird was fairly cooperative for a large 
number of people that afternoon.  It was refound nearby the next 
morning, but was seen only briefly and never again.

GOLDEN EAGLES were seen in many locations in mid to late March, 
especially Mount Pleasant.  Many RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS and a few 
NORTHERN GOSHAWKS, as well as other more common raptors were also seen 
migrating over.

Ken Rosenberg saw a probable ROSS’S GOOSE in a flock of Snow Geese 
migrating overhead from his yard in Ithaca on March 19th.  One or more 
ROSS’S GEESE were seen near Cayuga in a huge flock of Snow Geese on 
March 26th.  On March 27th, Bob Guthrie found a male EURASIAN WIGEON in 
the Knox-Marcellus Marsh off East Road near Montezuma.  This bird was 
not seen for a few days but was relocated at the same location on April 
1st.  On the 31st the SANDHILL CRANES returned to Carncross Road north 
of Montezuma.


:-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P :-P
Local Dining Cold Spots
by Steve Fast
:-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-( :-(

A couple of the cuppers, those who actually eat food, have noticed that 
my wife & I do enjoy a good diner meal.  We are not picky; 90% of our 
meals are "good".  However, there are several local places that we now 
avoid like bad mule meat.  I feel it only fair to give details of 
our/my experiences and let you gourmands judge.

Ziffy's Diner:  As I sometimes work downtown, this, when it opened, 
seemed convivial and convenient.  My first meal was a burger of some 
sort.  Looked good on the plate.  First bite and I got jaw-whiplash.  
The taste was akin to wet cardboard, and, while I got thru it, it took 
a week of flossing to get the gristle out from between my teeth.  I 
vowed never to return.  Some months later, a friend offered to "treat" 
me there, insisting that it was OK, improved and all that.  So I went.  
Ordered the old standby that almost nobody can ruin--hot roastbeef 
sandwich.  Again it looked good.  I should have simply watched it, 
hoping to absorb nutrients thru my eyes.  But, knife and fork poised, I 
went at it.  Then went at it again, and again.  It defied the knife.  
So I took a peek under the top layer of bread.  Under was a great mass 
of connective tissue.  I tried to separate the slivers of meat from it 
and after a time had a pile of inedibles that looked larger than the 
original sandwich.  I showed the heap to the waitress, but she just 
shrugged as if this was the normal state of cookery there.  Finis.
Queen Diner:  Susie & I , with one of our daughters, tried this place 
ONCE.  I don't remember what I had, so it wasn't particularly 
memorable.  But I noticed that my daughter, after eating a couple small 
pieces of grilled chicken breast, began to pick at her food.  This was 
not unusual, but I asked how things were and she appeared to be getting 
ill.  Said her meat was raw.  I analyzed, and so it was.  We called the 
waitress, who had not a clue, but called the manager/owner.  She looked 
at it, agreed it was raw, and offered to cook it.  We declined.  She 
said she would "make it right", so we did not expect any charge when 
later we went to pay.  Wrong.  She had listed the original number of 
chicken pieces, subtracted the raw ones from this, calculated a 
percentage (a quivering ratio?), and reduced the listed price by that 
amount.  We were so intrigued by this method of screwing the public 
that we paid up and walked out, never to return.
Country Diner in Cayuga:  We have stopped here several times and the 
food has been mediocre to good; i.e. standard diner fare.  Our last 
trip was memorable however.  We were chewing away on something or other 
when a large man came in.  A local. A regular.  He ordered a cup of 
coffee, drank it in 5 seconds, and proceeded to "entertain" the 
owner/cook and all patrons with a literally non-stop barrage of loud 
opinions, off-color jokes, gossip, etc.  A little of this and you can 
quickly lose interest in eating, which we did.  However, the owner, 
instead of quietly ignoring him or showing him the door, joined in 
wholeheartedly and essentially stopped cooking and forgot about 6 other 
people, none of whom looked like they were enjoying this diatribe duet.  
We had to walk around the counter to get coffee refills, drank them 
quickly, and left.

I have more, but this should have taken the edge off your appetite for 
J. Beard


!                       KICKIN' TAIL!                      !

The Cup, once again ably represented by Mark Chao, interviews February 
and March leader and first-time Cupper Bob McGuire:

THE CUP:  Bob, your run of birding over the first three months of 2005 
has been truly remarkable.  Congratulations on your roaring start, and 
on your decisive early claim on the Cup lead!

BOB:  Thank you.

THE CUP:  Your appearance as the Cup frontrunner probably leaves some 
of our readers asking, "Where did this guy come from?"  But actually, 
you've been in the area as long as almost anyone in our birding 
community.  You grew up here, right?  

BOB:  Yes, I grew up on the corner of State and Cornell Street. Went to 
Belle Sherman Elementary and the (old) Dewitt Junior High School. 

THE CUP:  What was your trajectory from your early years in Ithaca, 
ultimately leading to your returning and settling here?

BOB:  Growing up here as a kid was not a lot of fun - tough to get 
anywhere on a 3-speed bike with all the hills. So I got out of town as 
soon as I could, went to college, lived in Czechoslovakia and Austria 
(where I taught English), and then came back to this area as an adult. 
What a difference! Such a beautiful place. So much to do. I have lived 
here for the past 30 years. 

THE CUP:  How did you get involved in the Basin birding scene, and what 
do you like most about it?

BOB:  My wife Judy first got me hooked on birding. I started birding 
semi-seriously five years ago when Judy introduced me to Steve Kress' 
SFO course. In SFO I met some of the area's most engaging and dedicated 
birders. And some of that enthusiasm must have rubbed off. Since then I 
have found myself drawn deeper and deeper into the realm of birding. 
Even so, I still consider myself a novice, rookie, a greenhorn.  All of 
these, by the way, are good colloquial translations of the Czech word 
"bazant" (pronounced "bazhant"). The literal meaning of the word is 
"pheasant" -- kind of appropriate!

It's hard to say what I like MOST about birding in the basin. The basin 
offers a wonderful diversity of habitat, hence variety of birds. The 
lake really makes winter birding rewarding. But more than that, it's 
the large collection of delightful, odd characters that bird here. The 
range of experience and their willingness to share their knowledge is 
what makes this place so special.
THE CUP:  How did you go from being a "bazant" to being the Cup leader 
entering the back stretch?

BOB:  On New Year's Eve I had no intention of birding for the Cup, much 
less ever leading in ticks. But, hey, Judy and I had a good Christmas 
Bird Count in the Snyder Hill area. And then I found a few good birds 
the next day during the Montezuma count. And so I thought, this will be 
the year to get the ball rolling. With encouragement from Matt Medler 
and Chris T-Hymes, I looked into first-arrival dates, must-find winter 
birds, and started birding the lake. And Tim Lenz was a great 
inspiration. I always expected to be trying to catch up to him. When I 
found myself in the same ballpark with him, it really turned the heat 
up! Since I run my own shop, I could take a few hours off here and 
there to chase something good. The only thing that really suffered was 
my skiing - I only got to Greek Peak once all winter. Steve Fast has 
also been a good influence. He's taught me that no job or client is so 
important that it can't wait until I've done my birding.

THE CUP:  I wonder if Tim feels the same way now that Steve Kelling is 
his boss.

BOB:  An interesting side line: I have moved this year from being a 
student of SFO to actually leading groups (of beginners). Last weekend 
my group and I ran into Steve and Susie Fast at the Mucklands. I told 
Steve I was there with an SFO group. Steve asked, "And who's the 
leader?" So I guess I don't look much like a leader after all. Oh well.
My original goal, to get good looks at 220 birds for the year, still 
stands. For me to finish in the top 10, I have to be on the ball and 
find something like 20 life birds! Don't put any money on me for top 
spot this year. I'm just thankful for the great sightings I've had. 
It's been a ball so far!

THE CUP:  What have been the highlights of your year so far?

BOB:  First, I have to list the life birds I've seen this winter: 
Gyrfalcon, Mountain Bluebird, Northern Goshawk, Lapland Longspur, Rusty 
Blackbird. (Rusty Blackbird? You have to remember that I have only been 
doing this for five years. I still have a lot of holes to fill.) But 
then it has been the great looks at some more or less common birds. 
Like learning to pick out for myself the white-winged gulls and getting 
good photos of them. Or the mornings at Stewart Park watching the 
Peregrine feeding out on the ice.

THE CUP:  You mentioned having your own shop.  Cuppers past and present 
have had all kinds of interesting jobs -- we've had a chef, a violin-
bow craftsman, a teddy-bear marketing professional, a physicist or two, 
and others (even some ornithologists).  But you may have the most 
unusual job of all -- you build audiokinetic machine sculptures, in 
which balls roll, bounce, and ride through fanciful twisted tracks.  
[Note to readers:  if you haven't already, check out Bob's incredible 
ball machine at the Sciencenter on First Street -- or at Logan Airport 
in Boston, or any of dozens of hospitals, office buildings, and other 
public spaces worldwide.]  How did you get into this line of work?

BOB:  While teaching remedial reading in Odessa, NY, I met a fellow who 
was building ball machine sculptures. I started out helping him with 
the welding, and soon had a good side business. After awhile it became 
too difficult to teach AND run a business, so I bailed from teaching 
and never looked back. One of the best things about the ball machine 
business is the installation trips. Not only have I visited Korea, 
Guam, Singapore, Mexico and Canada, but I have also had several recent 
trips to the Lower Rio Grande Valley and southern Florida, both great 
birding spots. So now I choose my projects as much for the birding as 
for the client.
THE CUP:  How much has competing for the Cup affected your motivation 
to bird?

BOB:  Wow! It's driven me off the deep end. I've gone birding this 
winter in weather I wouldn't even ski in. My alarm clock has advanced 
by at least an hour, just to have some time to look around in the 
morning before going to the shop. As a result of the effort, first to 
find good winter birds, then to try and stay ahead, I have had more 
great bird experiences in three months than in any previous "normal" 
THE CUP:  What do you most hope to see over the next nine months?

BOB:  That's simple: every bird that Tim sees. That way, if he's still 
missing the Goshawk, I win! Seriously, I will need at least twenty of 
what for me will be life birds if I am to stay competitive. Those are 
the ones I am looking forward to finding.

THE CUP: mentioning only Tim, you may just have provided 
"bulletin board material" for other Cup contenders, including two-time 
defending champ Jay McGowan.  Do you really think that you can beat 
these guys?

BOB:  No. But that's not the point. The point is getting out there, 
learning what to look for, when to look for them, and where to look. 
It's all about being in the right ballpark. That's what I'm working on 
this year. That's the value of the Cup competition for me.

THE CUP:  Well said.  Now for a lighting closing round of 
questions...your favorite perching bird?

BOB:  Eastern Bluebird, for its familiar twittering song on the fence 
post behind the house, followed closely by Red-winged Blackbird (whose 
call in the fields behind the house signals the end of winter) and 
Eastern Phoebe (whose call signals the start of spring).

THE CUP:  Your favorite wading bird?

BOB:  Tricolored Heron (goofy foraging method).
THE CUP:  Your favorite raptor?

BOB:  Sharpy/Cooper's (I love trying to tell them apart).
THE CUP:  Your favorite local restaurant?

BOB:  ABC Cafe (best vegetable tempura in town).
THE CUP:  Your favorite musician or musical group?

BOB:  Natalie McMaster (awesome Cape Breton fiddler).
THE CUP:  Name two of your favorite visual artists, and tell us why you 
admire their work.

BOB:  Andy Goldsworthy (his audacious use of natural materials. Note: 
He worked in my shop for two weeks last spring while putting together a 
major piece for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.) F. 
Hundertwasser (odd-ball Austrian painter, sculptor. For his use of 
color and line)
THE CUP:  Which would you rather have, an invitation to collaborate 
with Hundertwasser or 25 life birds in the Basin in 2005?

BOB:  25 life birds, of course. If I could do that, I'd win!

THE CUP:  Then let's shut this interview down and let you get out in 
the field again!  Good luck!



How marvelous the varied thrush
Posed jauntily on winter bush
Putting American robin to shame
Though some rufous markings appear the same.
--Caissa Willmer

After leaving Susie in McLean, I headed for a walk thru the McIlroy 
Preserve at Lake Como.
--Steve Fast

This is the easiest report I have had to do:  I am currently at 0 
species for the Basin but at perhaps 43 virtual species that I've 
gleaned from the Cayugabirds listserve including all the more unusual 
--Jeff Wells

We started at the south end, near East Shore Park. Quite a few Common 
Mergansers and goldeneye, but we couldn’t find anything different 
(especially not with Steve “bad karma” Fast standing right beside us.) 
--Jay McGowan

Among the hundreds of CANADA GEESE was a single dark form SNOW GOOSE, 
the kind well-adapted to our old urban snow.
--Dave Nutter

Upon reaching home after buying a cake at Wegman's this afternoon, I 
was very pleasantly surprised to find a group of 6 Common Redpolls in a 
(poplar?) tree outside of my front door (to bring my tally to a 
whopping 12 species for the year.) If my wife were a birder, it would 
have made up for forgetting her birthday this morning.
--John Baur

On an otherwise quiet trip, Steve Fast and I found a total of 31 Horned 
Grebes (and one Red-necked Grebe) at locations in Aurora Bay and off 
the Aurora Bluffs. The Eared Grebe stayed submerged the whole time, and 
so we were unable to confirm its presence. --Bob McGuire

The recent bluebird excitement calls to mind a Chinese proverb:  "Qing 
chu yu lan" -- "Aquamarine [qing] surpasses blue [lan]," or as my mom 
has said, "The bluest blue is bluer than blue."  Actually, the proverb 
is not about bird colors; people say this in reference to an apprentice 
whose skills grow to exceed the master's.
--Mark Chao

...Anyway, I'm pretty hungry, and I believe I covered all of the 
highlights so this post is going to end now.
--Tim Lenz

May Your Cup Runneth Over,
- Jay