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Year 6, Issue 5

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* The unofficial electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competition.
*    Editor-in-Chief:  Matt Medler
*    Basin Bird Highlights, Pilgrim's Progress:  Matt Williams
*    Cup Astrologer:  Matt Young
*    Head Scout:  Matt Sarver
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                            NEWS, CUES, and BLUES
                          @    @    @    @    @    @
Welcome back to The Cup!  What?!  You thought The Cup had gone the way of 
the Passenger Pigeon and the Carolina Parakeet?  Never! After all, this is 
The Cup we're talking about.  The truth of the matter is that various 
editors have been on "working vacations" this summer, globetrotting to 
places like Brazil, the Adirondacks, and California (and let's not forget 
that noted birding hotspot, western Massachusetts).  Sure, it might sound 
like we were just galavanting all over the place to add new species to our 
life lists, but in reality, we were hard at work, researching all aspects 
of birds and birding so that we can bring you, The Cup readership, the very 
best e-mail newsletter that money can buy.  And, if you believe that, I saw 
a penguin down by the lighthouse jetty that you should go and check out.
Since it is now the middle of September, you might assume that this Cup 
will cover all the fast and furious Basin birding action through the end of 
August.  Ahh- but you know what they say about the word "assume."  Instead 
of envisioning Wood Storks and shorebirds, imagine yourself in a place (a 
very hot place, probably) somewhere in the Cayuga Lake Basin at the end of 
July.  This, my friends, is the setting for this issue of The Cup.
Call-a-Cupper: Introducing The Cup Phone Card
No, The Cup Phone Card isn't one of those great deal phone cards where you 
can call Timbuktu for a mere four cents a minute.  Instead, it's actually a 
phone list, which if you like, you can copy into the word processor of your 
choice, shrink down to business card size, print out, and have at the ready 
the next time *you* find a super Basin rarity.  If
you're not the rarity type, but you like going out birding, keep it as a 
list of possible birding companions.  If you want your name on The Cup 
Phone Card list (and who wouldn't?), send your current phone number(s) to 
Matt Williams when he sends out the next call for totals in early October.
May 2001 Highlights
Birding definitely picked up in May, as usual.  The migrants seemed to 
trickle through this year with a few people in Ithaca and the Northeast 
claiming that it was one of the lightest migrations they've witnessed.  In 
Ithaca, there were a few times the Hawthorn Orchard was really hopping, but 
not quite as much as last year.  Perhaps this is only because there were 
fewer Cape Mays or just because there were no really good fallout 
days.  What was lacking in the migration was offset somewhat by the 
interesting rarities that showed up this month.
A May Day AMERICAN BITTERN and a few PALM WARBLERS were found at Stewart 
Park by Jeff Gerbracht.  On the same morning, Ken Rosenberg was along Mt. 
Pleasant Road and witnessed a flock of migrant warblers foraging in trees 
and flying overhead (for those who want to use the in-flight pictures in 
the Sibley Guide).  Joe Aliperti was at Monkey Run, which was perhaps the 
best spot that morning.  There, he saw the year's first CERULEAN WARBLER in 
addition to a NORTHERN PARULA.
Matt Young hit Summerhill that evening and heard BARRED, SCREECH and 
Ken R. had a CAPE MAY WARBLER at Green Hills Cemetery on the 3rd and on the 
4th, Bob Fogg had a HOODED WARBLER singing from its usual haunt up on Beam 
Hill in Dryden.  Also on the 4th, Kevin McGowan heard and saw a male 
near his yard this year instead of his usual Golden-winged.  From the other 
side of Danby, Ben Fambrough heard the Basin's first YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOO 
in his yard and then got a call from Bob Fogg, who had seen a LITTLE GULL 
over the Main Pool at Montezuma NWR.  On May 5th, Jai Balakrishnan found 
one CAPE MAY WARBLER in the Hawthorne Orchards and another near the MNWR 
Visitor's Center. On the 6th, there was a PHILADELPHIA VIREO and a 
BAY-BREASTED WARBLER in Dryden, a LINCOLN'S SPARROW in West Danby and a 
SWAINSON'S THRUSH at Monkey Run North.  The Hawthorne Orchards produced a 
PHILADELPHIA VIREO on the 8th.  There was a LINCOLN'S SPARROW at Mundy on 
the same day. A GLOSSY IBIS was seen at Montezuma on the 10th.  On the 
13th, WORM-EATING WARBLERS were seen at the Lindsay-Parsons Biodiversity 
Preserve in Danby.  BAY-BREASTED and BLACKPOLL WARBLERS were seen along 
with a PHILADELPHIA VIREO in the Hawthorns.  A single WILSON'S PHALAROPE 
was seen at Benning Marsh and a HENSLOW'S SPARROW was heard that night near 
Rafferty Rd.
         Good numbers of interesting migrants passed through the Hawthorne 
Orchards and birders covered that area daily.   On the 17th, Mark Scheel's 
persistence paid off when he saw a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in that area.
Two COMMON TERNS made a brief appearance at Dryden Lake on the 18th. Later 
that day, Jai found a GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER along the path at the Hawthorns.
Jai came through on the 19th and had 4 BRANT at the north end of the 
lake.  Tom Nix had a singing SWAINSON'S THRUSH and some HOODED WARBLERS 
near Nut Ridge on the 20th.  On the 21st, Bruce Tracey had 2 HENSLOW'S 
SPARROWS singing near Burdick Hill Rd.  Ken R. had a RUDDY TURNSTONE among 
a few other shorebirds at Myers Point on the 22nd. "Cape May" Jai strikes 
again with a CAPE MAY, a few BLACKPOLLS and a late PALM WARBLER on the 24th 
at the Hawthorns.
On the 26th, Matt Young's Summerhill trip turned up 20 Warbler species (19 
had an OLIVE-SIDED FLYCATCHER at the Hawthornes on the evening of the 
27th.  On the same day, there was another OLIVE-SIDED in Dryden, along with 
a NORTHERN GOSHAWK and a RED-SHOULDERED hawk.  The next morning (5/28), a 
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD made a brief appearance at the Thomas's feeder up 
the west side of the lake.  Near Sheldrake, 3 Matts, Bob and Ben found an 
ORCHARD ORIOLE pair and nest.  Farther up the west side, the UPLAND 
SANDPIPERS were seen on the 28th. A YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER was seen at 
the Hawthorns on the 29th and the OLIVE-SIDED hung around until the 30th.
On the 30th, Bruce Tracey saw 4 BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS and 9 RUDDY 
TURNSTONES at Myers.  Laura Stenzler had a single PINE SISKIN at her feeder 
in Ellis Hollow.
June 2001 Highlights
         Appropriately, June is the month when summer truly begins. For 
some, that means tracking down late migrants or finding the breeders that 
they are missing.  However, it seems that by the end of the month, the heat 
had reduced birder activity more than it had affected the birds.
         Two ORCHARD ORIOLES were found along Lake Rd. on the 2nd.   A 
COMMON TERN was observed dive-bombing a BALD EAGLE at Tschache Pool on the 
2nd.  On the 3rd, there was a VESPER SPARROW singing near Mt. 
Pleasant.  The ACADIAN FLYCATCHERS were seen along with CERULEAN WARBLERS 
at Ford Hill and Salmon Creek on the 4th.  On the 5th, an ORCHARD ORIOLE 
was seen near Myers Point.  Also on the 5th, 2 COMMON TERNS were seen at 
Tschache Pool, and Long Point and Myers yielded 1 COMMON LOON each that 
Bob Fogg heard an AMERICAN BITTERN along Carncross Rd. on the 6th. Steve 
Kelling and Jeff Gerbracht reported 3 UPLAND SANDPIPERS and 2 GRASSHOPPER 
SPARROWS at Empire Days Fairgrounds on the 7th.
         4 COMMON TERNS were at Myers on the 9th.   That evening, Karl and 
Kathy Strickland found a HENSLOW'S SPARROW on territory and watch a 
LONG-EARED OWL hunting up near Rafferty Rd.  Also on the 9th, Sandy Podulka 
found a RED-HEADED WOODPECKER in Brooktondale.  A pair was seen entering a 
cavity later that week.  On the 11th, there was a RUDDY TURNSTONE and a 
WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER on the spit at Myers Point.
         On the 24th, the McGowan boys reported CLIFF SWALLOWS along 
Hanshaw Rd.  An ORCHARD ORIOLE and a PINE SISKIN were reported from 
Brooktondale on the weekend of the 23rd.  An albino RED-TAILED HAWK was 
seen near Union Springs on the 29th.
July 2001 Highlights
         With the exception of a few early migrants and post-breeding 
dispersals, not much new happened this July.  Several BLACK-BILLED and 
YELLOW-BILLED CUCKOOS were reported around the southern Basin and other 
cool breeders such as ACADIAN FLYCATCHER and BLACK TERN were seen in their 
usual haunts throughout the month.
A LEAST SANDPIPER was seen at Myers Point on the 1st.  Ken R. had a 
GRASSHOPPER SPARROW near the Ithaca Airport and had 1 CASPIAN TERN on the 
Red Lighthouse Jetty on the 15th.
Two SANDHILL CRANES were seen in a harvested wheat field on the 21st and 
were seen intermittently through the end of the month.  The Basin's first 
GREAT EGRET was seen at North Springs Pool on the 22nd. The first 
SANDERLING was seen at Myers Point on the 25th.  In addition to a single 
were reported from Montezuma that day.
Breeding BROAD-WINGED and RED-SHOULDERED HAWKS were reported in Ellis 
Hollow on the 26th.
By the end of the month, shorebirds were starting to show up at Montezuma, 
where good numbers of SOLITARY, LEAST and SPOTTED SANDPIPERS were seen with 
+= + = + = + MAY, JUNE, & JULY 2001 TOTALS + = + = + = +
Compiled by Matt Williams
  "...churning and burning they yearn for The Cup..." - Cake
July, June, & May 2001 David Cup Totals
227  225  222  Matt Williams
216  214  152  Bob Fogg (Alder Flycatcher)
208  ???  ???  Matt Medler
206  206  200  Kevin McGowan (Yellow-bellied Flycatcher)
204  ???  ???  Ken Rosenberg
203  203  197  Jai Balakrishnan (Yellow-throated Vireo)
203  203  196  Jay McGowan (Acadian Flycatcher)
202  202  198  Pete Hosner
200  199  195  Bruce Tracey (100:Peregrine Falcon, 200:Vesper Sparrow)
189  185  182  Greg Delisle
182  ???  ???  Susan Barnett
174  168  156  Jeff Gerbracht
118  117  115  Jim Lowe
192  192   66  Meena Haribal
151  ???  ???  Ben Fambrough
130  ???  ???  Allison Wells
112  ???  ???  Tringa (Doggie) McGowan (Yellow-billed Cuckoo)
79   ???  ???  Jon Kloppel
79   ???  ???  Steve Kelling
78   ???  ???  Martin (Kitty) McGowan
73   ???  ???  Tom Nix
70   ???  ???  Jeff Wells
66   ???  ???  Bard Prentiss
July, June, & May 2001 McIlroy Award Totals
138  138  136  Jai Balakrishnan
135  ???  ???  Ken Rosenberg
127  127  127  Kevin McGowan
113  111  109  Jim Lowe
117  117  116  Jay McGowan
117  ???  ???  Matt Williams
95   ???  ???  Allison Wells
78    77   57  Bill Evans
40   ???  ???  Jeff Wells
July, June, & May 2001 Evans Trophy Totals
174  ???  ???  Ken Rosenberg
158  156  154  Kevin McGowan
149  147  146  Jay McGowan
38   ???  ???  Bard Prentiss
July, June, & May Yard Totals
114  ???  ??? Ken Rosenberg
101  101  95  McGowan/Kline Family
88   ???  ??? Nancy Dickinson
24   ???  ??? Steve Kelling
  5   ???  ??? Pete Hosner
July, June, & May 2001 Lansing Listers
139  136  135  Bruce Tracey
120  120  109  Kevin McGowan
120  ???  ???  Matt Williams
July, June, May 2001 Office/Classroom Totals
30  30  29  Jai Balakrishnan
17  ??  ??  Matt Williams
1   ??  ??  Pete Hosner
                                   !   KICKIN' TAIL    !
THE CUP:  So, how does it feel to be Kickin' Tail in a competition that 
most people have either forgotten about, or given up for dead? Pretty 
prestigious, huh?
Matt Williams: You're not going to fool me with that one.  Too many times 
I've thought, "Oh, he's forgotten about the David Cup," only to have that 
person sneak right up ahead of me.  It's a common Cup strategy.  Pretending 
that you're not a contender to reduce the competition is quite 
effective.  One drawback is that feigned birder apathy takes its toll on 
the Composite Deposit. It's nice to be in the lead, but knowing that 
everyone is after you is a bit scary. Have you seen the contenders this year?
THE CUP:  It's been a while, and some people (most likely those who still 
haven't cracked into the 200 Club) still seem to be having problems telling 
the Matts apart, so which Matt are you again?
MW:  I guess I'm Matt inornatus.  That title really helps me not stand out 
to other Cuppers as a threat.
THE CUP:  And which Matt am I?
MW: That would be M. minimus, like your DC total.  At least you still turn 
a total in, though.  The former champ, Matt Young (M. vociferus) and your 
personal rival, Matt Sarver (M. pensylvanicus) seem to have lost their 
David Cup spirit.
THE CUP:  OK, thanks for clearing that up.  So you're at 227 at the end of 
July?  Does the number 239 mean anything to you?  Well, it should.  That 
meager number was Matt Young's total the first time he won The Cup, in 
1998.  And despite all the excuses that Mr. Young might give about that 
total (I didn't join The Cup until August!  I was kidnapped by aliens and 
missed Yellow-billed Cuckoo!), the fact remains that 239 is the only 
winning total below 240.  Any comment on your chances of joining the group 
of respectable Cup winners in the 240+ Club?  Heck, even Ben Fambrough 
broke 240 last year.
MW: I will admit that I do have some glaring misses and I am breaking the 
Cup rule that states "Never leave the Basin" by being in Western 
Massachusetts (not PA) for much of what's left of the year.  However, I 
think that I am in good shape to hit or beat 240.  Unfortunately, I think a 
few other Cuppers may be as well.  This isn't the year for breaking any 
records but I don't think the winning total will be as low as 239.
THE CUP:  Let's get down to the nitty gritty.  What birds have you seen 
since the end of July, and what birds do you think are realistic additions 
between now and the end of the year?
MW:  Well, the most obvious additions are the fall "easy" birds.  B-c Night 
Heron and Great Egret seemed to elude everyone this spring so those will be 
nice to have on my list.  The dowitchers, Baird's and Stilt Sandpipers, and 
Black-bellied and Golden Plovers are usually not too 
difficult.  Buff-breasted Sandpiper will be tough, as will Red-necked 
Phalarope.  Hopefully a mid-late fall trip can turn up Brant and 
White-winged (not sure how I missed this one) and Black Scoters.  If it's a 
finch year, I could get Common Redpoll and Evening Grosbeak with a winter 
trip to the Basin. I'm not going to add that list up but my spreadsheet 
checklist says that it's possible (but not all that likely) that I'll hit 245.
THE CUP:  Now there is the consideration of your current residence- where 
are you living at the moment, and how much time do you plan on spending in 
the Basin during the long haul of fall and early winter?
MW: There's the rub-being in Western Mass for much of what's left of 2001 
will certainly affect my total.  Hopefully, I birded hard enough this year 
to gain a lead that will hold but I'm not sure.  There are some others who 
could take the lead with a little effort.
THE CUP:  Do you care to size up your competition?  Bob Fogg, 11 birds off 
the pace, is your nearest challenger.  What do you think about old Bobby 
Fogg, and who exactly is he?  That seems to be the great mystery of the 
year- who is Bob Fogg?
MW: I was wondering that myself last fall when he reported an Oldsquaw-oooh 
sorry!-Long-tailed Duck off of Stewart Park.  Since then, Bob has really 
added some excitement to Basin birding.  That 11 bird lead will dwindle 
since I'm sure he'll pick up a few birds that he neglected in the spring. 
He's in a much better position for rarities and will undoubtedly find a few 
before the year is over.  I actually think I voted him the most likely to 
win the 2001 David Cup.
THE CUP:  Now, I know that he barely cracked the 200 Club by the end of 
July, but I would still keep my eye out for my esteemed Cayugabirds-L 
sparring partner, Ken Rosenberg.  It doesn't seem to me like he has missed 
many of the big rarities this year, and we all know that his yard 
represents one of the big migratory pathways in North America, so there's 
no knowing what he'll pick up from his bathroom window this fall.  Plus, I 
hear that Steve Kelling is teaching Ken the "new Cup math," whereby you 
magically gain birds at the end of the year ("Oh, I forgot to tick off 
House Sparrow until now!").  Do you think that Kenny is still a threat?
MW: Always. Ken has learned that if you don't post (or wait a few days to 
post) to Cayugabirds-L, nobody knows what your total is. He's been much 
better this year, I think, but still manages to create quite a bit of 
confusion in regards to what he has or hasn't seen. Couple that with his 
yard list, as you mentioned, and you've got a total that could easily win 
the David Cup this year.
THE CUP:  Hmm.  Can you think of any more interesting questions for this 
MW:  Where's the door?
THE CUP:  Would you like to sing a song or two for us?
MW: Sarver and I do a mean rendition of Lodi, but being so far from there, 
I'm not too inspired right now.
THE CUP:  Thanks for stopping by, and good luck the rest of the way. We'll 
be rooting for you this fall.  Maybe.
To see a complete checklist of the birds seen in the Basin through July 31, 
and to see which of these species Matt Williams missed, go to the following 
"PS -- put out The Cup already jeez wth"
             -Greg Delisle
"I did find a very vocal CERULEAN WARBLER along with a male CAPE
MAY WARBLER (my second bird for the day/life) at the entrance to the
             -"Cape May" Jai Balakrishnan
"Greetings birders, this note is a kind request, to any who have visited or 
will visit the Hawthorn Orchard in East Ithaca in the future, to post your 
bird sightings."
             -Chris Tessaglia-Hymes
"I had an OSPREY on July 13th fishing in the inlet.  This is my first July
record for Ithaca.  DDT begone!"
             -Bill Evans
"The Cooper's Hawk nest near my house has at least two nestlings. They are 
big "babies," a cross between adorable and magnificent."
             -Anne Marie Johnson
"A moorhen with two young--half-grown and half her size, but clearly 
moorhens. (Sorry! I have a silly question: we have peahens and peacocks; 
why don't we have moorcocks--or do we?)"
                -Caissa Willmer
"The crows dip the bread repeatedly in the water, softening it up like, he 
says, people dipping biscotti in their coffee."
             -John Greenly
"For those who wonder whether those little paintings of warblers in flight 
in the Sibley guide will ever come in handy, you should head over to Mt. 
Pleasant one of these early mornings coming up."
             -Ken Rosenberg
"Hate to be a cynic here, but the chances of seeing something like this are 
minuscule but non-zero."
             -Kevin McGowan
"put out The Cup"
             -Greg Delisle
May Your Cup Runneth Over,
The Matts