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Year 7, Issue 1

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*The electronic publication of the David Cup/McIlroy competitions.
*  Editor-in-Chief:  Matt Medler
*  Basin Bird Highlights, Pilgrims' Progress,
*    and Formatting King:  Matt Williams
*  Book Reviewer:  Dan Lebbin
*  Importer/Exporter, Thank You Notes:  Correen Seacord
*  Hair Stylist, Wardrobe Consultant to The Guru:  Matt Sarver
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Welcome to the special year-end Cup extravaganza!  This issue has it
all- great birds, new contributors, a high-speed car chase, Cupper
Survey questions, a book review, a changing of the guard in the
McGowan family, a return of the Composite Deposit, Matt Sarver's final
Cup masterpiece, and so much more.  But who cares about all of that?
The big question on everybody’s mind is, "Who won The Cup?"  Without
further ado, we present the end of the 2001 David Cup saga...

The date was December 16, and it looked like the wild roller coaster
ride that was the 2001 David Cup competition had come to a very
disappointing end.  The two major players for the last half of the
year, Bob Fogg and Matt Williams, sat in my dining room, having just
enjoyed an exquisite pasta dinner prepared by Matt Williams.  When we
last visited their birding exploits, at the end of October, Bob Fogg
had just moved into the David Cup lead for the first time, with a
total of 243 species.  Matt was still in exile in that birdwatching
backwater known as southwestern Pennsylvania, stuck at 241.  In
mid-November, though, Matt staged one of his quality visits to the
Basin, picking up Brant and White-winged Scoter at a time when it
seemed like it was getting late for both of these two species.  Bob,
in the meantime, had heard Common Redpoll at Summer Hill, pushing his
total to 244.  Later in the month, in one of those classic Ithaca
birding incidents, renowned ornithologist Fred Sibley spotted a Cattle
Egret along the west side of Cayuga Lake.  Sibley had the foresight to
call Library of Natural Sounds curator Greg Budney, who quickly got
word to Chris Tessaglia-Hymes.  Chris sounded the alarm to
Cayugabirds, and the next morning, Bob was up on the west side of the
lake, along with fellow Cuppers Susan Barnett and Greg Delisle,
enjoying the sight of a Cattle Egret.  Bob, Greg, and Susan would meet
once again a few days later in an Ithaca College parking lot, where
Bob caught fleeting glimpses of Pine Grosbeaks before somebody (we
won't name any names, though, will we Susan?) inadvertently scared the
birds off by closing a car door.

Still, at the end of November, Bob had tallied 246 species, while Matt
stood at 243.  Whereas in the early fall it seemed like Williams had
an insurmountable lead in the David Cup, at the start of December it
appeared as if Bob had just about wrapped up the title.  Or had he?
Matt stood three birds off the lead, with three winter finches missing
from his year list: Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, and Evening
Grosbeak.  The "Comeback Kid" had one last trip to the Basin planned,
a trip that included participating in the Cortland CBC with
finchmeister Matt Young.  As we sat at my dinner table on the night of
the 16th, Bob Fogg's big question for Matt was not if he had seen the
two grosbeaks and Common Redpoll, but if he had seen Red Crossbill.
No crossbills, but Williams had managed to see Evening Grosbeak, Pine
Grosbeak, and Common Redpoll in fairly short order.  For those of you
keeping score at home, that evened the score at Fogg 246, Williams
246.  My big question for the two of them was, "What bird are you guys
going to find next?"  To my extreme dismay, the two declared a truce
right there in front of me.  Williams offered up "I won't see any new
birds if you don't," and Bob was quick to reply, "OK."  I was shocked,
outraged.  How could these two suddenly stop birding, when outright
victory was so close for one of them?  Granted, Williams was scheduled
to return to Massachusetts the next morning, and the odds of finding a
new species in late December were slim, but still, Williams had an
outside chance at Black Scoter, and Bob was still missing Goshawk, and
there was always that small chance of finding something new.

So, as Williams and I each raised a glass of Hungary's finest liquer,
Zwack Unicum, I couldn't help but offer a toast: "To 247!"  Bob, who
didn't have the benefit of a shot of the sweet, smooth Unicum, started
coughing and shaking uncontrollably.  Somehow, he managed to blurt
out, "Williams, you have 247!?!"  He didn't at the time, but amazingly
enough, soon Matt and Bob would both hit 247.  Even more amazing was
the species: Long-billed Murrelet.  When I made my toast to 247, I
never imagined that the next morning, Steve Kelling would find an
extremely lost Siberian alcid at the south end of Cayuga Lake, and
that Matt and Bob would both see it.  Understandably lost in the
commotion of the murrelet sighting on the 17th was the fact that a
Black Scoter was also spotted at the south end of the lake on the 16th
and 17th.  This was the one scoter that had managed to elude Williams
all year, and true to form, Matt had missed this individual as well.
But, come the morning of the 18th, Matt was still in town, and so was
the Black Scoter.  Williams 248, Fogg 247.  After a year of incredible
birding by both Matt and Bob, it didn't seem fair that either of them
should have to come in second.  I don't even think Matt wanted to see
Bob lose.  But, the scoter was right there, and Williams really had no
choice but to see it.  After that, he was on his way back to
Massachusetts, seemingly with David Cup in hand.  Stop me if you've
heard this one before, but after all, what else could Bob possibly
see...


Non-Murrelet Sulid Saga on Cayuga Lake, December 19th, 2001
By Daniel Lebbin, Pete Hosner, and Mike Andersen

Lebbin's Spot: 

So, I went out to East Shore Park in hopes of resighting the
Long-billed Murrelet and enjoying the hotdogs that Pete Hosner and
Mike Andersen would be grilling.  When I got out there, the murrelet
had disappeared, so I took a look at the trusty male Black Scoter and
female Surf Scoter up the lake.  I remember someone asking "What is he
looking at the scoters for?" Well, I wanted to see the orange knob on
the male Black’s bill.  While watching these enigmatic ducks, a dark
brown bird with long narrow wings flew through the scope's field of
view at about 1:30 pm.  "What the hell is that! It is a gannet, a
Northern Gannet!" This got the attention of the two dozen birders
standing around me. Pete and Mike abandoned the grill with flames a
roar. The questions started flying – "Where is it?" "A Gannet!??" Soon
others picked it up and were following it. "It's flying from the
North, from left to the right." Someone else yells, "It just crossed
the yellow willow"... "It just flew past the pylon."  I heard someone
else yell that they still did not have it and another yell, "naked
eyes, look with your naked eyes!" Most standing there watched it fly
to Stewart Park and then disappear.  Then the panicked cell phone
calls and big chase began.

Hosner's Chase:

Lebbin yelled: "There's a Gannet flying south!!!" There was enough
confidence in his voice to make me drop the hot dogs and run to my
scope.  Sure enough, there was an immature Sulid flying down the lake.
Most of the people hadn't been paying attention, so I yelled, "Gannet
flying south, just below the waterline."  Everyone got on the bird,
and watched it circle.  As altruistic as we all were, we immediately
began to search for phone numbers to get the word out, as slight as
the chances were that someone could get there in time.  I was the only
one with a camera, so I emptied my wallet to find phone numbers from
the David Cup, and took off in my trusty 1996 "Car of the Year" red
Honda Civic named "Little Bandit."  Halfway to Stewart Park, I
realized two things.  First of all, I left my binoculars, scope, and a
bunch of stuff including my bankcard at East Shore Park.  Second, I
realized I was going 75 mph in a 40.  I rolled through the stop signs
at Stewart Park and jumped out of my car with my 500 mm camera in
hand.  I ran up to the shore hoping the bird was still visible.  The
Northern Gannet was circling the Canada Geese 50 m offshore.  I
snapped a few quick pictures, and the bird started heading west.  I
sprinted across the lawn along the coast, scaring up the gulls and
geese.  The Gannet circled a few more times and landed.  I took half a
roll of film total, and jumped back in the car to get everyone from
East Shore Park.  When I arrived, everyone else had lost the bird in
the sun.  The last person to see it was Christopher Thaddeus
Tessaglia-Hymes, over the ice rink at Cass Park.

Second Round (Lebbin):
	
Next we all drove to Stewart Park to scan.  We saw nothing, so Pete
and I drove to the jetty.  We spent about thirty minutes out there
seeing nothing.  I was about to give up and zippered up the scope at
about 3 pm, when Pete started yelling and I saw a dark brown bird with
sharp wings drawn in descending from the South and West towards
Stewart Park.  Pete yelled at the Stewart Park group, which included
Bob Fogg, who desparately needed this bird in his epic battle against
Matt Williams for the David Cup competition.  The Gannet had returned,
did a victory lap in front of the birders at Stewart Park, banking so
that I could see the white arc on its rump.  Meanwhile, Pete was
yelling "gannet" and I was jumping up and down doing jumping-jacks to
get the other group's attention.  Pete took off sprinting and yelled
back at me to keep an eye on the bird.  So I unzipped the scope and
did not notice as the bird shot north, quickly losing it.  I could see
the other group was on the bird, so I kept scanning the waterfowl for
it.  I found a female Pintail and a Brant, but no Gannet.

Andersen's take (a Long Island birder who sees gannets as commonly as
pigeons):

Damnit!  I want food.  I could care less about this bird.  Stupid bird
couldn't show up half an hour from now!!!?  I suppose I'll take a
look, seeing as though these Basin birders are getting all crazy about
it.  Quickly got on it, yep... gannet it is... so, uh... can we go
grill some dogs now?

...[standing on the shore of Stewart Park] I hear a muffled and
distant voice emanating from the direction of the jetty.  About
fifteen seconds later it hit me and I said to Bob, "I think they're
trying to get our attention."  I trained Pete's scope on the jetty and
fell down laughing as I watched Dan doing jumping jacks and other
assorted calisthenics.  I looked up over their heads to find an
enormous brown sulid gliding north over the ridge.  There it is!  I
watched it for the next ten minutes as it plunge-dived three times and
proceeded to fly due north up the west side of the lake.  I continued
watching when it plunge-dived one last time out in the vicinity of the
Myers Point Lighthouse.  It surfaced, flapped its wings and
disappeared for the day.

I've seen plenty of gannets, but have never seen them plunge-dive in
this manner.  I think it figured out that the lake was quite shallow
(no more than 15 feet deep near the southwest shore) where it was
diving.  It was diving at a 45 degree angle much like a Brown Pelican
does so as to avoid touching bottom.  When it made it out to deeper
water to the north, it dove vertically as they normally do into the
open ocean.

(Dan Lebbin is a first-year graduate student at Cornell, in the
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.  Look for his upcoming
workout video, "Calisthenics for Cuppers."  Wise beyond his years,
Pete Hosner is still only a junior at Cornell, where he studies
(occasionally) in the Natural Resources department.  His primary claim
to fame at the moment is that he was probably the only birder who had
already seen a Long-billed Murrelet before the one showed up on Cayuga
Lake.  (He chased one in Ohio a few years ago.)  Mike Andersen is one
of those, you know, Long Island birders.  He's hoping to learn the
finer points of Basin birding (as well as earn a B.S. in Natural
Resources at Cornell) in his next two years in Ithaca.)

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<< >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

So, are you still wondering who won The Cup?  Drum roll, please...

       o
   o  THE  o
 o  WINNERS'  o
  o  CIRCLE  o
      o  o

The 2001 David Cup goes to...

:< )     Bob Fogg     ( >:

AND

Matt Williams

with a grand total of

248

Cayuga Lake Basin birds!

THE CUP: Congratulations, boys!  Two hundred forty-eight species in
the Cayuga Lake Basin in one year is mighty impressive.  Although, I
have to say that I'm not sure that either of you deserve numbers 247
and 248, after your "I won't seen any more birds if you won't"
agreement.  In fact, I think that the two of you should both be docked
oh, 15 birds off your final total for violating Cup spirit.  Any
comments?

FOGG:  I think it really was, "I won't get any more non-seabirds this year."

WILLIAMS: We never shook on that agreement!  However, I have to say
that I was glad to end in a tie, despite tying with a total that was
two species higher than either of us expected.  A lot can happen in a
few days when you have people combing the lake.  I'm just glad that
former two-time David Cup champ Matt Young busted my chops for not
getting the Black Scoter (#248) on the first day it (and the
Long-billed Murrelet) was seen.  Had I not seen that the following
day, I wouldn't even be participating in this interview.

THE CUP: It is official Cup policy not to bust chops, but for the
record, we'd like to point out that the Black Scoter was first seen by
Jai Balakrishnan the day *before* the murrelet showed up, on a day in
which you and Pete "Sixth Place" Hosner supposedly birded your way
around the lake.  Perhaps you and Pete should take some lessons from
Cup hair stylist Matt Sarver, in order to improve your combing
technique.

THE CUP: Both of you overcame a challenging obstacle to claim your
share of The David Cup.  Matt, you undoubtedly spent less time in the
Basin than any other David Cup champion, effectively leaving the Basin
at the end of July.  Bob, you had only birded in the Basin for about
four months before 2001 started.  Whose performance do you think was
more impressive?

WILLIAMS: Boy, that's rough.  Hmmm...Well, I think that both of us did
a really impressive job.  Bob was out there as often as possible,
throughout the year, birding his bins off.  When he didn't know where
to bird or what he should be seeing when, he asked Basin veterans or
went birding with them.  I knew I had to have a great spring to even
have a shot at first.  While I did do well before leaving Ithaca,
there were glaring misses that Bob was able to capitalize on and
overtake me for a few fall months.  I have to say that my fall
performance was more luck than any "impressive" feat of birding skill.

THE CUP: Well, we weren’t going to say anything, but that was the
general sentiment around here at Cup Headquarters.

FOGG: Matt was certainly on fire in the beginning of the year.  He was
getting practically every bird.  It was a good strategy.  Give
everyone else the "I don't have a chance anymore" frame of thought.
Fortunately, his long absence gave me a chance to catch up.  I was
very impressed with his list last year.  Of course, I am ultimately
the better birder and therefore I had the absolute best performance of
anyone to ever attempt the David Cup.

THE CUP: Umm, what about Geo Kloppel’s performance last year?  Does
the number "251" mean anything to you, or are you still such a
greenhorn that you are unaware of Basin history?

THE CUP: Who got luckier?  Williams, I thought that you were lucky to
have that Piping Plover hang around for a week until you came to town,
but then you outdid yourself by lingering in town long enough to see
the Long-billed Murrelet.  And then you stayed a little longer, and
finally picked up Black Scoter.  And Bob, how lucky can you get?  When
it seemed like all hope was lost for you, the Northern Gannet showed
up at Stewart Park.  Of course, you weren't there to see it the first
time, but then the bird came back!  How lucky can you get?  Everybody
thought that bird was long gone after it was seen the first time.

FOGG: The competition was over.  Matt was leaving town the next
morning.  I was busy until I left at the end of the week for the
break.  Then I was in bed when I got a message saying there was a
murrelet at Stewart Park.  I was there before the end of the message.
And Matt was there when I got there - Doh!  But he did relocate it
first and then we all saw it.  Then we were tied again but that damn
(am I allowed to say that?) Black Scoter was still hanging around.  He
saw it and left.  I was one bird behind.  I wasn't about to give up.
I needed another bird.  I remembered our seabird pact so I needed
another seabird.  What better to find and tie the competition with, a
Gannet.  Of course I let someone else have the pleasure of finding it.
That's what he gets for chasing the Black Scoter.

WILLIAMS: Another tough call but I'd definitely have to vote for
myself.  Had I left Ithaca when I had planned to on Dec. 17th, I'd
probably be sitting at 246 right now.  Also, had I not come just in
time to see the Piping Plover and the Hudsonian Godwits (and L-b
Dowitcher), it would have been over in November.  Bob got lucky with
the gannet, Lincoln's Sparrow, godwit and a few other things, but
since I was out of the Basin, the only way for me to win was simply to
have more luck than him while I was there.  The only needed birds that
I missed between October and December were Gannet, Red Crossbill,
Cattle Egret and Orange-crowned Warbler.  The only way to tie and get
everything but those four species in three trips to Ithaca is to have
great luck.

THE CUP: OK, I've made it three questions without mentioning this, but
the fact is that the two of you tied for first place.  You know what
they say about finishing in a tie.  If you don't, just ask the
Sapsuckers.  Ending in a tie is like kissing your sister, or, in
Matt’s case, kissing one of his brothers.  Do either of you have plans
to win the David Cup outright next year and join Matt Young as a
two-time Cup winner?

FOGG: Let's see here.  Could this question be directed at me?
Unfortunately I don't see myself as a serious competitor next year.
I'm gonna be rather busy.  I'll try to get out once in a while.  If I
happen to see all the right birds it's a possibility, but that would
be unlikely.

WILLIAMS: Well, I voted for Bob as the "most likely to win the David
Cup" last year since I was very skeptical about my chances and he
seemed to be the most motivated.  This year, however, he's going to
have competition.  While I don't have plans for a solo David Cup run,
I can think of a few people who have never won (or even tied) and
would probably like to in 2002.  As for the negative slant given to
sharing a title, I don't really think it applies to this situation
very well.  While we were indeed competitors, we went birding together
quite a bit and saw a lot of our Basin birds at the same time.  I'm
glad we ended up in a tie.  It wouldn't have been right for me to win
outright since I didn't spend the fall in the Basin and it wouldn't
have been right for Bob since this is his rookie year.

THE CUP:  So you’re saying that you like kissing your brothers?

THE CUP: Let's talk about Cup history for a minute.  Your total of 248
is the second-highest winning total in the six-year history of the
David Cup, after the total of 251 amassed by both Karl David and Geo
Kloppel.  But, it is only the fourth highest total among all Cuppers.
Looking back in the Cup Archive (The Cup 1.12), we see that during the
inaugural year of the David Cup, Karl David won with 251, Steve
Kelling submitted a total of 250, and Allison Wells posted a total of
249.  Either those old fogies could really bird, or Allison was an
even more creative writer than we thought.  What do you think about
251, and beyond that, the accepted Basin record of 254?

WILLIAMS: In a good year, no problem.  Even this year, with the
relatively low composite, I missed some things that could have brought
me up into the 251 range.  Bob also (fortunately) had some misses.
Lastly, just out of curiosity, who "accepts" the record?

THE CUP: Careful there.  Are you questioning the exploits of Basin
legends Ned Brinkley and Adam Byrne?  Twenty lashes with a wet
binocular strap for you!

FOGG: Higher numbers are well within reach.  It's just a matter of how
much time can be devoted to this.  It would certainly be tough.  I
missed a couple "not so hard" birds last year, as did Matt. I think
this year is shaping up to be a good one.  There's gonna be a pretty
high number with the new birders here to help find birds I think.
 
THE CUP: Are there any misses from the past year that really hurt?
The Composite Deposit total was lower this year than in previous
years, which makes your total of 248 all that more impressive.  But,
you did miss a few things...

FOGG: The biggest miss for me would have to be Goshawk.  It probably
even breeds in the Basin.  I also seem to be one of the few people
that missed the Forster's Tern.  I remember the day too.  I was
birding with Nicholas and ran into Ken Rosenberg and Steve Kelling.
They said they had the Forster's Tern at Stewart Park.  I didn't
realize at the time how uncommon it is.  I figured I'd see another one
and continued up the lake.  Oh well.

WILLIAMS: Oh yeah, they all hurt.  Glossy Ibis and Short-billed
Dowitcher really sting, since a properly timed spring trip to
Montezuma would have taken care of both.  I was "distracted" in Ithaca
for most of the spring...but I did see the Black Vulture with her,
darn it!  Plus, there were no (actual) Dows around for the Muckrace.
Cape May hurts because I checked the Hawthorns quite a bit and there
was one on Howland with us during the Muckrace.  Cattle Egret and Red
Crossbill both hurt, especially since I've never seen them in the
Basin, but those are two birds you can never count on.

THE CUP: What are your favorite highlights from the past year?  The
murrelet was certainly something that none of us will ever forget, but
are there any other moments that stand out from the past year?

FOGG: MURRELET!  What murrelet?  When, where?  I think I just answered
these questions last month.  Although now I can add Gannet to the
highlights.  I'm a big fan of seabirds and seeing one inland is just
great - very strange to see a gannet diving into Stewart Park.
Hearing my answering machine -> "Hey Bob, this is Matt.  I don't know
if you've checked your e-mail but Steve Kelling just had a murrelet at
Stewart Park this morning...."  I don't remember the rest cause I was
too busy getting my birding stuff together.

WILLIAMS: I think there are probably too many to mention but I'll try
to select a few.  Trudging out into the mud, snow and ice at the north
end [of Cayuga Lake] with Bob and Nicolas Barbarin in early February
and finding seven Red-throated Loons was probably the first memorable
moment.  Piling five people (Medler, Sarver, Fambrough, Fogg and me)
into my car and following Chris T-H's impeccable year-old directions
to find a nest and pair of Orchard Orioles was certainly memorable as
well.  Scouting for the Muckrace with Sarver and participating with
the Matts was definitely a blast.  Lastly, the night-flight call
session with Fogg, Medler and Evans up on Mt. Pleasant which led to an
early-morning defensive birding Dickcissel run to the Triangle.  [See
The Cup 6.6.]

THE CUP: How do you see the 2002 David Cup competition shaping up?  Do
you think that the McGowan boys can digiscope their way to the title?
And what about Pete Hosner?  He's been talking kind of big lately,
especially for somebody who barely made it to 230 this year.

FOGG: Next year's gonna be very interesting.  I've heard the word from
Pete that he's gonna go for it.  I've heard the same from Medler as
well.  Medler certainly knows how it's done, but will he go all out?
The McGowans were always lingering just a little behind all year and
they didn't seem to get out all that much.  I still have to meet some
birders in the Basin.  Perhaps some of the newcomers, Dan Lebbin or
Jesse Ellis.  I think Jai will stick to his Ithaca territory.  (I just
may have to try for that.  Or even Dryden....)  I think one of the
McGowans just may win it this year.

WILLIAMS: Well, this year is tough to call.  Pete is getting pretty
psyched but I think there's a chance he might break the first Cupper
rule and leave the Basin for a while.  As for Medler, it always seems
to be "[his] year," but I'm not sure he's got the necessary attitude.

THE CUP: I agree.  I know that I could lose my job as Cup
Editor-in-Chief for admitting this, but I’m not sure that I have the
level of obsession necessary to win the David Cup.  It’s one of my
many character flaws.

WILLIAMS: Besides, he only beat Pete by one bird this year...and Pete
was out of the Basin a great deal.

THE CUP: Ahh- but I still beat him!  But you're right, I guess I had
the advantage of being here in the Basin the whole year...except for
my three-week trip to Brazil, the two weeks you and I spent in
California, and the month I enjoyed in the Adirondacks.

WILLIAMS: The McGowans certainly are consistently good every year.
Now that Jay has shown that he can pass his dad, thanks to some nice
Beam Hill birds, he'll be a contender for sure.  Lurkers are Meena and
Jai.  They both have definite potential and if they stay in the Basin,
anyone considering "going for it" should keep an eye on them.
However, I'll go with Bob Fogg again.  Not just because he tied me in
2001, but because he's out birding, he finds birds and he knows when
to stay in the Basin.

THE CUP: Any final thoughts on the 2001 David Cup year?  Again,
congratulations on a great year of birding!

FOGG:  LONG-BILLED MURRELET!  (Need I say anything else?)
  
WILLIAMS: Not really...I've thunk enough already. Bob, how's your
cat's halitosis?  Seriously, I'd just like to thank the Cup,
Cayugabirds, the Matts and all the local birders for teaching me so
much over the few years I've been around.  Also, I wish all of you
luck and enjoyment in your quest for the 2002 Cup.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

What about that little alcid that Bob Fogg is still raving about?  To
bring that "you were there" feeling straight to you, the Cup reader,
we've asked Matt "Dr. Alcid" Sarver to share his Long-billed Murrelet
experience with The Cup.  I think Matt captured the essence of the
moment in this piece.  Well, maybe not, but this is what he gave us.

Witness to the Spectacle
by Matt Sarver  

It all started with a phone call.  When an errant Piping Plover
decided to make an unscheduled stop at Myers Town Park last fall, I
was out the door before the answering machine had finished playing
Matt Medler's message.  Witnesses recall a standing high jump over a
dining room chair, followed by the fastest anyone had seen me move in
recent memory.  Even in a year that had seen dozens of Wood Storks
mulling around two small ponds in the upper reaches of the Basin, few
would have imagined that the thrill generated by this wandering plover
would be surpassed before the year was out.

But, to the delight of birders throughout the Northeast, the show had
only just begun.  Thanks to the diligent eyes of one Steve Kelling, an
even more spectacular twitch-fest was about to get underway.  The
editor has asked me, nay, implored me - okay, he pretty much begged
me, to write a little something about the experience of relocating and
identifying this strange little alcid, and the birder feeding frenzy
that followed.  Since February will, by all indications, be my last
month here in the Basin, I decided to oblige him and tap out one more
lousy article for the good 'ol Cup.

The event begins inauspiciously enough.  The phone rings.  It's
Medler.  The caller is hardly unusual.  The message, however, is more
than believable: "Kelling found a murrelet."  To a man who never
thought he'd hear this term spoken in the same sentence as any body of
water within 300 miles of Ithaca, it is indeed a speechless moment.
The closest I'd ever come to a pelagic had been a whale-watcher out of
Bar Harbor, Maine, so I need to look in the guide to see what the
options are.  But there's no time for that yet.  First, old Medler has
to convince me that he's not absolutely full-up with the biggest load
of bull-puckey ever to be routed through my telephone cord.  My
response consists of a series of phrases that I wouldn't repeat in
front of my mother.  I succinctly and authoritatively inform
Mr. Medler that he is full of it.  He then puts Dan Lebbin on the
phone (a birder new to the I-town scene, whom I haven't even met).  I
berate Dan with a similar barrage of insults until I am fully
convinced that I'm not being toyed with, because, as Kevin once said,
in a voice somewhere between that of a smurf and an oompa-loompa, “I
just hate it when people play with me like that!”

Meanwhile, while I'm spitting and frothing with indignation, then
amazement, Williams (who somehow always manages to be in town for a
rarity) is sitting on the futon waving and muttering and otherwise
trying to figure out what the heck the big deal is.  Finally I take a
moment to relay the message to him.  His reaction is similar to mine,
except that he gets off his butt and starts putting his coat on.  I
get the details of where it was last seen (the bird, not Williams's
butt) and throw on a few hundered layers of clothes.  We dash out to
the car in a cold, steady, miserable rain.  Williams lets out the
clutch, and we're on our way to East Shore for the adventure of a
lifetime.  (Okay, Disney World is the adventure of a lifetime.  This
is maybe just the adventure of a decade.)

Ignoring the convenient little town park area, we pull right on in to
the sailing club and stalk out onto the docks like Navy Seals with
tripod-mounted missiles trying to find an enemy sub.  Where the
@#!*$%!! is everyone, we wonder?  This is BIG, real big.  I start
scanning the southeast corner of the lake with the bins, while
Williams moves off to another dock to scope the middle of the lake.
For awhile I am intent on a lovely group of Hooded Mergs, since it was
in their company that Kelling first saw the bird, or so we'd been
told.  After 10 minutes of convincing myself that there was nothing
even remotely Alcid-like about any of the Mergs, I move on to the
Coots.  No luck there either.  Nothing in my quadrant of the lake is a
murrelet.  By the time we are beginning to get thoroughly wet,
Williams yells out that he's found the bird.  Somewhere around this
time, a couple of cars pull in.  It's Fogg, Gerard Phillips, and Tim
Lenz.  Then Greg Budney and Jeff Gerbracht.  This part is essentially
a blur in my memory of the day.

All I remember is looking through the scope at the smallest bird I've
ever seen floating on water since the time I drowned all those cute
little penguins in my bathtub.  Then running back to Willie's car to
take a look at the Sibley guide.  Then back to the scope.  The bird is
now clearly enjoying the fact that we can get only about one-eighth of
a decent view about every 3 minutes.  Now the talking begins.  Fond of
standing up for any half-assed field marks that I might imagine I see,
I call it a Long-billed, alternately shouting and grumbling.  The
remarkable thing is that Gerard seems to be able to understand me
perfectly well while I'm excitedly chomping on the frames of my
rain-slicked, useless glasses.

I can't rightly say what anyone else thought, since I am too busy
staring, dashing to the car to drip on the guide, shouting field marks
at everyone, and sloshing back to the scope, making sure to shake the
dock as I stumble onto it.  Soon, the crowd thins to four: Fogg,
Williams, Gerard and myself.  Gerard and I keep ourselves amused by
arguing about the bird's plumage.  Fogg is snapping digi-shots from
under a makeshift rain-guard/blind of his jacket, like an old school
single-exposure photographer.  Williams is doing whatever it is that
Williams usually does in this sort of situation.

I remain convinced of my initial call.  Williams agrees.  Gerard,
however, is not sure, since he has taken it all in without consulting
the book!  As he's finally about to leave, after about 2 hours, I drag
him over to the car to have a look.  He immediately agrees in typical
Gerard style: "Oh yeah, definitely.  Tanks for stickin wit what you
saw."  Gerard is perhaps the humblest great birder in the world.
That's all there is to it.

Of course, as this account suggests, I, Matthew Sarver, was SOLELY
responsible for identifying this bird.  Let me stress, no one else
knew what it was.  They all thought that it was a Dovekie.  The fact
that I won't bore you with the details of how we identified it
shouldn't matter.  Take it from me, everyone enjoyed getting soaked to
the skin and completley frozen just to watch me in action.  Birder's
oath.  I am the greatest alcid specialist in the entire known
universe.  What a way to leave the Basin.  Yeah!

(Matt Sarver graduated from Cornell University in December 2001 with a
B.S. in Biological Sciences.  He also claims to have gotten an "A" in
every English class he took at Cornell, but after reading this piece,
you might think that is a bunch of B.S..)

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

We know that Bob and Matt came out on top in the David Cup race, but
how did the rest of the Cuppers do?  It was a breakthrough year for
Jay McGowan, who outbirded his esteemed ornitholgist father for the
first time, and came in third place in the process.  Congratulations,
Jay!  How many more years before you get your driver's license and
cruise to David Cup victory?  And how about that other Cup "family
feud," between Greg Delisle and Susan Barnett?  Greg edged out Susan,
but both gained entry into the exclusive 200 Club, along with fellow
Cup newcomers Bruce Tracey and Jeff Gerbracht.  Congratulations to all
who participated in the 2001 David Cup!

+= + = + = + NOVEMBER & DECEMBER 2001 TOTALS + = + = + = +
Compiled by Matt Williams

 "...churning and burning they yearn for The Cup..." - Cake
 
2001 David Cup Totals

NOV  DEC
246  248 Bob Fogg
243  248 Matt Williams
233  237 Jay McGowan
231  235 Kevin McGowan
232  234 Matt Medler
228  233 Pete Hosner
221  231 Ken Rosenberg
???  230 Meena Haribal
226  228 Jai Balakrishnan
222  226 Matt Sarver
219  222 Greg Delisle
217  220 Bruce Tracey
214  216 Susan Barnett
211  213 Jeff Gerbracht 
???  ??? Allison Wells
151  151 Ben Fambrough
???  141 Eric Banford	
121  124 Jim Lowe
121  ??? Tringa (Woof) McGowan
 90  ??? Martin (Meow) McGowan



      o
  o  THE  o
o  WINNER'S  o
 o  CIRCLE  o
     o  o

The 2001 McIlroy Award goes to...

:< )      Jai Balakrishnan     ( >:

Congratulations to Jai on winning the 2001 McIlroy Award, which goes
to the birder who has seen the most birds in the Town of Ithaca.  Jai
put together an impressive year of birding in which he cracked the
vaunted Top 10 of the David Cup and also won the McIlroy Award in the
process (without even really trying).  Jai joins the illustrious
company of former McIlroy Award winners like Allison Wells and Bill
Evans, and he has spared us all the agony of having to listen to
another Evans acceptance speech at the upcoming Cupper Supper.  Way to
go, Jai!

2001 McIlroy Award Totals
Compiled by Matt Williams
 
164 Jai Balakrishnan
150 Bill Evans
149 Kevin McGowan
147 Ken Rosenberg
138 Matt Williams
128 Jay McGowan
119 Jim Lowe
101 Allison Wells



     o
 o  THE  o
o  WINNER'S  o
o  CIRCLE  o
    o  o

The 2001 Evans Trophy goes to...

:< )      Ken Rosenberg     ( >:

 
OK, so this contest had all the excitement of watching paint dry, but we have to 
hand it to Ken Rosenberg for continuing his total domination of the Evans Trophy,
which goes to the birder with the highest Town of Dryden total. Congratulations, Ken! 2001 Evans Trophy Totals Compiled by Matt Williams 198 Ken Rosenberg 176 Kevin McGowan 169 Jay McGowan Yard Totals 140 Ken Rosenberg 120 McGowan/Kline Family 92 Nancy Dickinson Lansing Listers 148 Bruce Tracey 143 Matt Williams 136 Kevin McGowan Office/Classroom Totals 32 Jai Balakrishnan 17 Matt Williams 1 Pete Hosner COMPOSITE DEPOSIT After an extended absence, the Composite Deposit is back in the body of The Cup, albeit in a slightly different format. The following list represents all the birds seen (or heard) in the Cayuga Lake Basin (by Cuppers and non-Cuppers alike) in 2001. I accepted 260 species for this list, with noteworthy species denoted by ALLCAPS. Compared with previous years, this year's Composite Deposit total is somewhat low, but has any other year ever had so many once-in-a-lifetime birds? R-t & Common Loon, P-b, Horned & R-n grebes, EARED GREBE, N GANNET, D-c Cormorant, American & Least bitterns, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, CATTLE EGRET, Green Heron, B-c Night-Heron, GLOSSY IBIS, WOOD STORK, BLACK VULTURE, Turkey Vulture, Tundra & Mute swans, GREATER W-F GOOSE, Snow Goose, ROSS’S GOOSE, Brant, Canada Goose, Wood Duck, G-w Teal, American Black Duck, Mallard, N Pintail, B-w Teal, N Shoveler, Gadwall, EURASIAN WIGEON, American Wigeon, Canvasback, Redhead, R-n Duck, Greater & Lesser scaup, L-t Duck, Black, Surf, & W-w scoters, Common Goldeneye, BARROW’S GOLDENEYE, Bufflehead, Hooded, Common, & R-b mergansers, Ruddy Duck, Osprey, Bald Eagle, N Harrier, S-s & Cooper's hawks, N Goshawk, R-s Hawk, B-w Hawk, R-t Hawk, R-l Hawk, Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, GYRFALCON, R-n Pheasant, Ruffed Grouse, Wild Turkey, Virgina Rail, Sora, Common Moorhen, American Coot, SANDHILL CRANE, B-b Plover, American Golden-Plover, Semipalmated Plover, PIPING PLOVER, Killdeer, Greater & Lesser yellowlegs, Solitary, Spotted, & Upland sandpipers, HUDSONIAN GODWIT, Ruddy Turnstone, Sanderling, Semipalmated, Least, W-r, Baird’s & Pectoral sandpipers, Dunlin, Stilt & Buff-breasted sandpipers, S-b & L-b dowitcher, Common Snipe, American Woodcock, Wilson’s & R-n phalaropes, LITTLE GULL, Bonaparte's, R-b, Herring, Iceland, Lesser B-b, Glaucous, & Great B-b gulls, Caspian, Common, Forster's, & Black terns, LONG-BILLED MURRELET, Rock & Mourning doves, Y-b & B-b Cuckoo, E Screech-Owl, Great Horned, Snowy, Barred, L-e, S-e, & N Saw-whet owls, Common Nighthawk, Chimney Swift, R-t Hummingbird, Belted Kingfisher, R-h & R-b woodpeckers, Y-b Sapsucker, Downy & Hairy woodpeckers, N Flicker, Pileated Woodpecker, O-s & Y-b flycatchers, E Wood-Pewee, Acadian, Alder, Willow, & Least flycatchers, E Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, E Kingbird, N Shrike, Y-t, B-h, Warbling, Philadelphia, & R-e vireos, Blue Jay, American Crow, Fish Crow, Common Raven, Horned Lark, Purple Martin, Tree, N R-w, Bank, Cliff, & Barn swallows, B-c Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, R-b & W-b Nuthatch, Brown Creeper, Carolina, House, & Winter, & Marsh wrens, G-c & R-c kinglets, B-g Gnatcatcher, E Bluebird, Veery, G-c, Swainson's, Hermit & Wood thrushes, American Robin, Gray Catbird, N Mockingbird, Brown Thrasher, European Starling, American Pipit, Cedar Waxwing, B-w, G-w Warbler, Tennessee, O-c, & Nashville warblers, N Parula, Yellow, C-s, Magnolia, Cape May, B-t Blue, Y-r, B-t Green, Blackburnian, Pine, Prairie, Palm, B-b, Blackpoll, Cerulean, & B-and-w warblers, American Redstart, W-e Warbler, Ovenbird, N & Louisiana waterthrushes, Mourning Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Hooded, Wilson's, & Canada warblers, Scarlet Tanager, E Towhee, American Tree, Chipping, Field, Vesper, Savannah, Grasshopper, Henslow's, Fox, Song, Lincoln's, Swamp, W-t, & W-c sparrows, D-e Junco, Lapland Longspur, Snow Bunting, N Cardinal, R-b Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting, Bobolink, R-w Blackbird, E Meadowlark, YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD, Rusty Blackbird, Common Grackle,B-h Cowbird, Orchard & Baltimore orioles, Pine Grosbeak, Purple & House Finch, Red & W-w crossbills, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, House Sparrow. By ticking off 248 species in 2001, Bob and Matt both saw or heard an amazing 95.4% of the birds found in the Cayuga Lake Basin in 2001. That is simply amazing. A handful of birds did escape their detection, however, so here is a list of the few, the proud, the ones that got away: Bob’s Misses: Black Vulture, Northern Goshawk, Golden Eagle, Gyrfalcon, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Wilson’s Phalarope, Forster’s Tern, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Golden-winged Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Red Crossbill Matt’s Misses: Northern Gannet, Cattle Egret, Glossy Ibis, Gyrfalcon, Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Short-billed Dowitcher, Red-necked Phalarope, Little Gull, Orange-crowned Warbler, Cape May Warbler, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Red Crossbill :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> :> BASIN BIRD HIGHLIGHTS By Matt Williams November 2001 On the 1st, Chris Tessaglia-Hymes had 13 PINE SISKINS at his "thistle-sack feeder setups" in Etna. Also in Etna that morning, Sylvia Anglin reported a FOX SPARROW. Marie Read had 4 PINE SISKINS at her feeders and a ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK just up the road near Mt. Pleasant. Also on the 1st, Dave Nutter had 6 BRANT and 5 FISH CROWS from the Hog Hole area. On the west side of the lake, in Trumansburg, Bill and Shirley Mcaneny reported a PINE SISKIN and a RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH. On a Matt Young trip to Summerhill on the 2nd, a feeder near Lake Como produced 22 PINE SISKINS, 4 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS (3 MALES AND 1 FEMALE) and 1 FEMALE RED CROSSBILL. Matt and Julie also had about 20 EVENING GROSBEAKS (along Salt Rd.), 1 EASTERN MEADOWLARK, 2 NORTHERN HARRIERS and 3 AMERICAN KESTRELS. On the 3rd, Pete Hosner found 3 BRANT in a cow pasture north of East Varick and had 40 DUNLIN, 3 STILT SANDPIPERS, about 12 LESSER & a few GREATER YELLOWLEGS at Montezuma. Pete also had 25 DUNLIN at Benning Marsh and a flock of 20 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS on Neimi Rd. Not to be outdone, Chris, Diane and Aleta T-H had 75-100 RUSTY BLACKBIRDS along Brown Rd. Extension near the Lab of O. Also on the morning of the 3rd, Tim Lenz had a few FISH CROWS and a SNOW GOOSE at Stewart Park and a PURPLE FINCH at the Lab of O. There was als a Cayuga Bird Club Field Trip on the 3rd that yielded a HORNED GREBE and a PALM WARBLER at Stewart Park and 12-15 SEMIPALMATED SANDPIPERS at MNWR's Benning Marsh. Matt Young led a trip on the 3rd as well but headed for Montezuma instead of the usual Summerhill. His Syracuse birding group had an immature GOLDEN EAGLE fly over Towpath Rd. and some LONG-BILLED DOWITCHERS at May's Point. On the 4th, Ken Rosenberg had 2 RED CROSSBILLS fly over and a GRAY CATBIRD pop out of the bushes on Purvis Rd. Later that day, Ken went to Stewart Park to test out a Televue scope and was able to identify a RED-THROATED LOON at 150x power and scan around to find a female BLACK SCOTER and 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. A COMMON REDPOLL made a brief appearance at the Wells residence on the 5th. In Freeville, Mel Uhlir reported a FOX SPARROW, Kevin McGowan had 2 BONAPARTE'S GULLS on Dryden Lake and, in Newfield, Donna Jean Darling saw a COMMON RAVEN. Also on the 5th, while at home sick, Jim Lowe was treated to 5 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS in Ithaca (there were 10 crossbills at his home two days later). On the 6th, a late BLUE-HEADED VIREO was found by Jeff Gerbract and Greg Delisle at the Lab of O. A RED-NECKED GREBE and 2 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS were seen flying by the Loon Watch on the 7th. On the 8th, Jesse Ellis had 1 COMMON REDPOLL and a few RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES in East Ithaca. That afternoon, Mike Andersen saw an immature GOLDEN EAGLE fly over the Ag Quad on the Cornell campus. On the 9th, 9 LONG-TAILED DUCKS were seen on Dryden Lake by Kevin McGowan and later that day, Bill Evans had 40 LONG-TAILED DUCKS on Cayuga Lake from the Jetty. The Loon Watch on the 9th counted 1,829 COMMON LOONS, 2 RED-THROATED LOONS, 3 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and 4 BLACK SCOTERS. On the 10th, Susan Barnett reported 40-50 AMERICAN PIPITS from a plowed field up on the west side of the lake. On the 11th, Jai Balakrishnan and Bill Evans had 3 BRANT, 2 SNOW BUNTINGS and a few flyover COMMON REDPOLLS while watching several COMMON LOONS pass overhead. On the 14th, Bard Prentiss had a single female WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL. On the 15th, Tim Lenz saw a BRANT and a female LONG-TAILED DUCK from Stewart Park. On the 16th, Matt Williams had 1 BRANT and 1 WHITE-WINGED SCOTER from Stewart Park and then had 10 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS from Red Jacket Yacht Club. On the 18th, Jeff and Allison Wells had 4 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS at Summerhill. Ken had 2 LAPLAND LONGSPURS in Dryden and a COMMON REDPOLL flyover at Hog Hole. On the 21st, Fred Sibley found a CATTLE EGRET near Ovid and SHORT-EARED OWLS were first reported north of Rafferty Rd.(fide Kathy & Carl Strickland). And finally, on the 24th, Susan and Steve Fast found 3 PINE GROSBEAKS at Ithaca College. Steve Kelling, Jeff Gerbracht, Wes Hochachka and I birded around Cayuga Lake and saw a RED-THROATED LOON at the Loon Watch, 2 RED-NECKED GREBES at Sheldrake, 3 GREATER YELLOWLEGS and 350 TUNDRA SWANS at Mays Point. Also on the 24th, Jesse Ellis, Susan Barnett and Greg Delisle found the first big flock of 150 COMMON REDPOLLS stuck in ol' Lodi. From Stewart Park: On the 27th, Steve Kelling found a RED-THROATED LOON and on the 28th, Eric Banford and Jeff Gerbracht had a BLACK SCOTER. Eric and Jeff checked Myers on the 30th and had a pair of WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS. December 2001 On the 1st, up to 5 PINE GROSBEAKS were seen near Keith Rd. in Dryden by Bard Prentiss and the McGowans. Susan Danskin found a male SNOWY OWL in the Mucklands. A Summerhill trip by Matt Young on the 1st turned up about 30 COMMON REDPOLLS, 40 EVENING GROSBEAKS and a few PINE GROSBEAK flyovers. Karen Edelstein had a female WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILL at her feeders in Ludlowville on the 1st and 2nd. On the 2nd, Jo Houghton saw a late GREEN HERON flying over their yard, very near the southeast edge of the Basin in Caroline. Over 200 COMMON and 2 RED-THROATED LOONS were seen along with at least 5 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS at the Loon Watch on the 2nd. Later that day, Wes Hochachka, had 2 PINE GROSBEAKS fly over his yard in Ithaca. On the 3rd, Steve Kelling had 4 SURF SCOTERS and a RED-THROATED LOON from Stewart Park. Four WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS and a female RED CROSSBILL were seen during the week prior to the 3rd at Irby Lovette's feeder in Ellis Hollow. The White-wingeds hung around but the Red apparently moved on. Chris T-H saw a RED-SHOULDERED HAWK near the Lab of O on the 6th. This is the third winter in a row that this species has been seen in Sapsucker Woods. On the 8th, Susan and Steve Fast saw 3 LONG-TAILED DUCKS and 4 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS from the bluffs south of Aurora and had a NORTHERN SHRIKE and 6 NORTHERN HARRIERS near Rafferty Rd. On the 9th, Ken Rosenberg had a LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL at the Game Farm and that afternoon, Tim Lenz saw what was perhaps the same bird at Stewart Park. Ken also had a KILLDEER along Stevenson Rd. and a LAPLAND LONGSPUR along Purvis Rd. On the 10th, Ken posted a non-Rosenberg style message entitled "GOSHAWK now" from the Lab of Ornithology "Rock" offices near Etna. On the 12th, Steve Fast saw 60 COMMON REDPOLLS along Burns Road (east of Brooktondale). John Van Niel saw an impressive flock of 18 SANDHILL CRANES in flight near Seneca Falls on the 15th. That evening, Jai Balakrishnan had a LONG-TAILED DUCK at Stewart Park and Bill Howard had a GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE in the Mucklands. Then, Monday the 17th came and Steve Kelling was well-rewarded for all of those pre-work checks of Stewart Park. A MURRELET on the south end of Cayuga Lake!!!! He had to leave the bird at about 8:45 am to drop his son off at school, but managed to called his wife and she called Kevin McGowan. Several attempts to relocate the bird that morning resulted only in a male BLACK SCOTER and a female SURF SCOTER (usually very good birds...unless there's a murrelet around). The murrelet was eventually relocated around noon by Matts Sarver and Williams from East Shore Sailing (thanks to a call from Medler). Bob Fogg, Tim Lenz and Gerard Phillips were also there carefully examining the bird and after about 1.5 hours concluded that it was a LONG-BILLED MURRELET. The bird was drifting north from the Red Lighthouse so the Matts eventually went up the west side and fruitlessly scanned while Kevin, Jay, and Jai were watching and photographing the LONG-BILLED MURRELET that had made its way back south and just offshore from East Shore Sailing. On the 18th, the rain, north wind and waves made it difficult to find the bird. Once the weather began to improve, Kurt Fox found it from East Shore Sailing so most Cuppers got to see this great bird. In addition to keeping us updated on the murrelet, Pete Hosner reported 25 LONG-TAILED DUCKS on the 18th and an adult BRANT on the 19th. Also on the 19th, an immature NORTHERN GANNET was seen first by Dan Lebbin and then by the other murrelet-watchers. Surprisingly the Gannet hung around until the 20th. The 20th was also the last day that the LONG-BILLED MURRELET was seen. On the 22nd, Kevin and Jay McGowan went around the lake and had a immature BRANT and female SURF SCOTER at Stewart Park and 2 KILLDEER at Myers. At Aurora Bay they found the EARED GREBE (back for its 3rd winter), 3 WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS and 4 LONG-TAILED DUCKS. Also on the 22nd, a SNOWY OWL was reported from Triphammer Rd. and confirmed on the 24th. On the 23th, John Churchill saw a PEREGRINE FALCON at Stewart Park and had the EARED GREBE in Aurora on the 24th. On the 25th, an adult BRANT was seen by Steve Fast at East Shore Sailing. Susan Barnett and Greg Delisle saw 2 COMMON RAVENS in Jacksonville, heading towards Taughannock. On the 26th, Meena Haribal saw 2 NORTHERN SHRIKES; one along Turkey Hill Rd. and then another near Hammond Hill. On the 28th, Steve Kelling saw 19 BONAPARTE'S GULLS at Stewart Park. On the 29th, Bill Mcaneny saw a PURPLE FINCH (which are pretty rare this winter) at his feeders in Trumansburg. From farther up on the west side, Mary Jane Thomas reported a WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW. On the 31st, Marie Read had 2 RAVENS on Ringwood Rd. @ @ @ @ @ @ NEWS, CUES, and REVIEWS @ @ @ @ @ @ CUPPER SUPPER: Are you ready for the (birder) party of the year? Then start getting geared up for the Cupper Supper! While a few minor details (like time, date, and location) still need to be worked out, there will definitely be a wild and crazy Cupper Supper in the coming weeks. Check your e-mail hourly in the coming weeks for your invitation. In the meantime, look over the Cupper Survey and ponder your votes for each category. Votes will be collected when we announce the details of the Cupper Supper (and no ballot-stuffing, Mr. Sarver!). 2001 CUPPER SURVEY Don’t you hate it when newspapers, magazines, and TV shows all start doing their "Year in Review" features in the middle of December? What about the last two weeks in December? Don’t they count? Some might accuse The Cup of dragging its feet in putting out this year-end issue, but we just wanted to make sure that you had time to savor and digest the 2001 David Cup year before presenting you with the Cupper Survey. Listed below are some time-honored Cupper awards, along with various nominees that I feel are worthy of each honor. Feel free to ignore my suggestions (as if I need to encourage the local birding community to do this) and come up with your own. BIRD OF THE YEAR: Can there be any question about this one? Before December 17, this would have been a very interesting competition between the Wood Storks and the Piping Plover. The Long-billed Murrelet, though, seems to be in a class by itself, with people already calling it "The Bird of the Century." In any other year, the Northern Gannet seen by a number of Cuppers would also be a strong candidate, but it seems destined for "Honorable Mention" status along with the storks and the plover. BIRDER OF THE YEAR: This category is like the "Most Valuable Player" award in baseball, in that the term is not clearly defined. Is the Birder of the Year the person who sees the most birds in the Basin, or is it the person who "birds their ass off," as Matt Sarver eloquently suggested. I believe that in saying that, Sarver thinks that the award should go to the individual(s) who consistently went out and beat the bushes (and trees, cattails, and loosestrife) to find birds. Matt Williams and Bob Fogg each birded up a storm during the first six months of the year, but then Williams disappeared from the scene except for brief forays back to the Basin, and Bob seemed to slow down a bit during the fall. Is one more deserving than the other, or should they share this award, along with The Cup? Another possibility is Steve Kelling, who originally found the Long-billed Murrelet at Stewart Park. MOST DISTINCTIVE CUPPER VEHICLE: I can’t think of worthy candidates this year. All the active birders seem to be driving very generic Hondas, Subarus, or Fords these days. If somebody's car stood out to you while you were in the field, be sure to let us know. And be on the lookout this year, as newcomers Jesse Ellis and Tim Lenz become more active and unveil their fine motor vehicles. THOREAU AWARD: This award is given to the Cupper/Cayugabirds subscriber who most delights readers with his/her writing. Geo Kloppel earned the nickname "Thoreau Geo" as he dominated this category over the past few years. Will the Thoreau go to Geo once again, despite his decisions to lower his birding and writing profiles? How about Susan Barnett, who finally stepped out this year and added her fine writing to Cayugabirds? ROSENBERG AWARD for slow (late) posts to Cayugabirds: This award, originally named the "Slow Poke Award," has belonged to Ken Rosenberg in recent years (every year, actually). As we have documented in recent Cups, though, Ken appears to be a changed man, even posting bird sightings to Cayugabirds as they take place. But if Ken doesn't receive this award, who will? QUICK DRAW AWARD: This award goes to the person who consistently gets the word out the fastest about his/her bird sightings. Pete Hosner magically posted news of the Piping Plover while we were still at Myers watching it, thanks to the help of his girlfriend. As noted above, Ken Rosenberg has provided us with a few "as they happen" posts recently, as Meena often does. This category seems wide open to me. BIG FIZZ: Who was the biggest disappointment in the David Cup or McIlroy Award competitions in 2001? Bill Evans is a perennial favorite in this category, and his 2001 McIlroy total certainly was disappointing. BEST BIRDING HAT: A new category, descended from the "Best Dressed Birder" category from last year. Let's face it- unless we define "best dressed" as "best dressed for warmth," rather than equating it with "fashionable," no Cupper really deserves to be called Best Dressed. Ryan Bakelaar might qualify, but he doesn't have the nerve to enter the David Cup fray. On the other hand, Cuppers do sport some great hats during their birding excursions. Pete Hosner's bright orange "Ozzy" ski hat lets hunters in the next county now that Pete is in the woods, and it also says, "I'm an Ozzy Osbourne fan." Oh yeah, it probably keeps him warm, too. Matt Sarver is always stylish (from the head up, that is) with his Pittsburgh Steelers knit cap. How about the classy Swarovski baseball cap look that Kevin McGowan sometimes favors? [Note to Swarovski: I will wear Swarovski hats, fleeces, shirts, underwear, etc., if you provide me with one of your high-definition scopes.] And who could forget about Matt Williams's classic 1970s-style powder blue and orange wool ski cap? Some find him to be irresistably sexy when he wears that hat while birding Stewart Park. NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR: This category could be the most heavily contested award of all. When does a person turn in "newcomer" status for "Basin veteran?" Amazingly, 2001 was Bob Fogg's first full year of birding in the Basin, so one could argue that he is deserving of this award. After all, the Seattle Mariners' Ichiro was named the American League's Most Valuable Player *and* Rookie of the Year, winning the latter award despite the fact that he was a seven-time batting champion in Japan before coming to the United States to play baseball. Greg Delisle, Susan Barnett, Bruce Tracey, Jeff Gerbracht all made a mark on the Basin birding scene this year, but my vote for Newcomer of the Year goes to Jai Balakrishnan. Not only was Jai relatively new to the Basin, he was also relatively new to the hobby of birding, but in 2001, he was out finding birds (including a few first records for the year), he finished ninth in the David Cup, and he won the McIlroy Award! MOST LIKELY TO WIN THE 2002 DAVID CUP: Cuppers knew what they were talking about last year, when they picked Bob Fogg to claim the David Cup. Will Bob have what it takes to repeat, or will qualifying exams and research take their toll? What about Pete Hosner? He certainly has the energy and enthusiasm, and he's been talking big lately. I know what it takes to win The Cup, but this past year I was content to serve as Cup Coach, rather than making a big push. Is this the year that I really go for it? As Matt Williams pointed out, Meena is always a possibility, but like me, she has a fondness for foreign travel, and when she goes on a trip, she really goes on a trip (for months). MOST LIKELY TO WIN THE 2002 MCILROY AWARD: Jai Balakrishnan helped resurrect the McIlroy Award competition this year, and now that he has become focused on the Town of Ithaca, he could really put up a big total in 2002, if he were to stay in Ithaca all year. Unfortunately, it looks like Jai will be leaving us this summer in pursuit of employment opportunities. Will that give him enough time to post a big total for others to chase? I might not be up for a big David Cup push this year, but I am ready to stake my claim to the 2002 McIlroy Award. I now live in the City of Ithaca, a mile from the Hawthorn Orchard and just a few minutes from Stewart Park. During the early years of the McIlroy Award, top contenders topped 200 species in the Town of Ithaca! Steve Kelling has proven time and again what great birds can be found from Stewart Park. I'm raising the challenge right now, to McIlroy newcomers like Tim Lenz, Jeff Gerbracht, Susan Barnett, Eric Banford, and Pete Hosner, and to McIlroy veterans like Bill Evans, Steve Kelling, Allison Wells, and Jai Balakrishnan: Let's go for 200 in Ithaca again! MOST LIKELY TO WIN THE 2002 EVANS TROPHY: Ken Rosenberg has won this competition every year, but could this be the year for a major upset? Jay McGowan topped his dad Kevin for the first time this year, due in large part to birding that he did in his "backyard" of Beam Hill. Jay, are you ready to topple Ken this year? Think about your favorites for the categories above, and then cast your vote when you receive the Cupper Supper invitation later in January. Winners might receive some small prize at the Cupper Supper, if we really get our act together. BASINBIRDS: How many of you have ever dreamed of going to a web site and being able to find out just when is the best time to see a stunning Fox Sparrow in the springtime, or how many species of waterfowl you might expect to see in a trip around the lake in January. OK, I don't see too many hands being raised, but I'm not afraid to admit it! I've dreamed of such a web site for a long time, and it's now a reality. The Lab of Ornithology has recently unveiled BasinBirds, a web site where Basin birders can submit their bird sightings to a database and then find out all kinds of information about when and where to see birds in the Cayuga Lake Basin. With your help, Cuppers will be able to use BasinBirds to learn when Fox Sparrows and other birds migrate through the Basin (and where they are seen), discover what waterfowl are typically in the Basin during the winter time, and answer any other question that you might have about the status, distribution, and abundance of birds in our beloved Basin. Here's the catch: in order to be a valuable database, the BasinBirds needs you! Whenever you go out birding, take a few extra minutes, log onto BasinBirds, and report what birds you saw. If Cuppers are persistent about entering their sightings on BasinBirds during the entire year, we will have an amazing tool at our fingertips for creating an up-to-date picture of Basin birdlife. So go birding and then go to BasinBirds. It's quick, it's easy, and if the Lab of O paid me a small endorsement fee, I'd even say it's fun! Here's the address for BasinBirds: http://woodpecker.ornith.cornell.edu/BasinBirds/ ******************************************************************* Are you foolishly thinking of leaving the Basin and travelling to the forests of South America in order to see oodles and oodles of new birds? If you're heading to Ecuador, you're in luck, because there is a new field guide to that country, and we have a review of it right here. "The Birds of Ecuador" in Review By Daniel J. Lebbin "The Birds of Ecuador," by Robert S. Ridgely and Paul J. Greenfield, is a colossal two-volume work providing the first modern field guide for all of mainland Ecuador. Ridgely, perhaps the George Schaller of Neotropical birds, is an active conservationist. He authored "A Guide to the Birds of Panama" and "The Birds of South America," another two- volume set covering the passerines of that continent. Greenfield has over 28 years of experience studying the birds of Ecuador. Greenfield demonstrates mastery of the visual arts in the 96 color plates and 2 covers he produced for these volumes. "The Birds of Ecuador" has been in the works since 1978, and all of the effort has paid off. Excellent field guides have been published for Venezuela (de Schauensee & Phelps, 1978), Colombia (Hilty & Brown, 1986), and the High Andes (Fjeldså & Krabbe, 1990) region, as well as the two volume set on passerines mentioned above (Ridgely & Tudor, 1989, 1994). "The Birds of Ecuador" is unlike any of these predecessors. Other countries in South America, like Brazil, lack a modern field guide that adequately covers all of its birds. Colombia's guide is excellent, but the country is too dangerous to visit. "A Guide to the Birds of Venezuela" is good, but it does not include range maps and many species are only illustrated in black and white - if at all. Therefore, "The Birds of Ecuador" is the only guide available to date that covers every species well for any South American country. This should make Ecuador a much more attractive destination compared to other countries simply because having a field guide makes the birds more accessible and identifiable. There are many trade-offs to be considered when designing a field guide. An ideal field guide balances content with size, but inevitably there are critics for every book on both of these traits. "The Birds of Ecuador" prioritizes content over size, and splits the book into two volumes to help ameliorate the disadvantages of a single bulky volume. One volume is meant for the field and the other is to be left in the car or at home. Nearly 1,600 species are described in this book so perhaps a double book should be expected to cover an avifauna that is double that of North America's approximately 800 species. On the other hand, Sibley's guide to North America's birds is under 600 pages, whereas each volume of the Birds of Ecuador spans over 800 pages. In my opinion, "The Birds of Europe" (Mullarney, Svensson, Zetterström, & Grant, 1999), is the best organized guide to any region in the world. This dense field guide covers a little over 700 species in less than 400 pages. The idea to split "The Birds of Ecuador" into two volumes is novel and successful, but better organization might still be possible to reduce the size of both volumes. "Volume I, Status, Distribution, and Taxonomy," is well named. This volume describes the conservation status, Ecuadorian and global distribution, and subspecies designations for each species. Anyone familiar with the birds from older guides will notice species name changes and many splits after a quick perusal of "The Birds of Ecuador." Within this volume, information about the history of such splits and name changes can be found. In addition to individual species accounts describing status, distribution, and taxonomy that make up the bulk of this volume, useful chapters on Ecuador's geography, climate, and vegetation are provided. Bird migration in Ecuador is discussed. Unlike North America, migration is complicated in Ecuador by boreal migrants coming from our northern latitudes, austral migrants from southern latitudes, and migrants from other tropical areas on top of terrestrial vagrants and pelagic visitors. In one section titled "Ecuadorian Ornithology," the authors briefly summarize the history of ornithologists and their work in Ecuador and proceed with a lengthy gazetteer on localities of avian interest. The Endemic Bird Areas of Ecuador are covered in a separate chapter with lists of restricted-range species living there. Finally, there is an excellent chapter on conservation, with a list of protected areas and vulnerable species. Even though this volume was designated Volume I, it will functionally serve as a back-up reference text to the actual Volume II (the Field Guide). Volume I's species accounts include interesting details that are good to know, but not vital for field identification. Whereas Volume II could stand on its own, I do not believe Volume I could. Herein lies the true marketing advantage of "The Birds of Ecuador": birders who simply want to identify what they see can do so with Volume II, whereas people with more advanced scientific interests will want Volume I to refer to when they come back from the field. Unfortunately, the accounts of each species are not cross referenced between volumes for easy comparison. Volume II is the Field Guide and describes the identification of each species, including range maps and accounts of species habits and voice. The latest guides published for a region tend to be best, partly because they improve on previous guides for that region. The best North American, European, and Australian field guides integrate the illustrations, text and range maps so that all the information for a species is on the same pair of facing pages. Unfortunately, the new guides for different tropical regions do not make this jump to start with. The Field Guide is laid out in the traditional manner, with plates separated from the text. I suspect that this is at least partly due to strict publishing deadlines and budget constraints required to produce the book. The modern approach may also require higher quality paper and more plates, or at least more layout editing to cut and paste images from one original work over several pages. That being said, presentation makes a huge difference in aesthetics and function – you don't want to be flipping between plates and text while in the field instead of paying attention to the bird. Although I have no experience in marketing books, if bird-watchers are willing to pay $50 for the field guide and $110 for the entire set, then they would probably be willing to wait a little longer and pay a little more for better presentation. Furthermore, the plates seem to be arbitrarily segregated from the text, placed smack in the middle of the Falconidae accounts. This might also slow down the user in the field if they initially flip to text on the wrong side of the plates. The accounts do have good range maps that include major geographic and political boundaries, as well as descriptions of elevation range, plumage, habits, and voice for each species that the bird watcher will find very useful. The illustrations are often the most important part of a field guide, because we use them first and foremost to identify birds. Before the two volumes are opened, Greenfield proves his artistic prowess on the covers. These fantastic images of the Jocotoco Antpitta and two Plate-billed Mountain Toucans have been featured on the covers of The Auk and Victor Emanuel Nature Tour catalogs. The covers promote great expectations for what's to come inside. Unfortunately, I found the quality of the plates to be inconsistent. Certain groups of birds are done very well, including the parrots, cuckoos, toucans, cotingas, warblers, and tanagers. Unlike other guides, northern migrants like Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes are given equal billing on the thrush plate (Plate 82), as are seventeen warblers that breed in North America but winter in Ecuador (Plate 83). Other groups seem to fall short of these excellent plates. The ovenbirds of Plate 56 seem flat, whereas the woodpeckers and woodcreepers of nearby Plates 54, 55, and 48 are much more alert. Alive with posture, these birds also fill the page better. Presumably, Greenfield has been working on these plates for a long time and has gotten better with practice, so some look better than others. Four tough groups of birds to illustrate are the shorebirds, raptors, owls, and flycatchers. Greenfield does a good job with the diverse and difficult flycatchers. Despite perfectly nice raptors on several plates, the faces of the Merlin and Peregrine Falcon on Plate 17 are stretched, with their small eyes misplaced in relation to their beaks. The postures of the spoonbill and ibis of Plate 5 are also distorted. Fortunately, species like the Roseate Spoonbill should not present serious identification problems for birders. The Glaucidium owls of Plate 35 might, however. This genus is hard enough as it is, it is short changed for space on the page with the other larger Otus species. The corresponding account states that the Glaucidium species are allopatric and can be distinguished based on range – helpful if an altimeter is available, but not if you must depend on the plates alone. Owl faces are also hard to illustrate, and many of the owls with yellow eyes have surprised expressions distorting their faces to give their entire head a less three-dimensional appearance. Finally, shorebirds might be the great equalizer for field guides, because one can often compare the same or similar species in all guides. I don't think I'd be able to identify small Calidris sandpipers using Greenfield's plates, especially differentiating between White-rumped and Baird's sandpipers. On the other hand, this group of species is difficult with any guide and for Ecuador, Calidris species are much less important to me than the more terrestrial resident birds. There are also trade-offs to be made when allocating space for each bird species amongst the plates. Although certain species are beautiful to illustrate, the small, drab, or cryptic birds that can be the most difficult to identify should get the most attention in the illustrations. This is not always the case. Large easily identified species like macaws are given ample space, when smaller more difficult species receive less attention. For example, the three species of ground cuckoos are artistically well worked and take up most of plate 34, despite the fact that these species are rarely encountered, are visually well marked, and don't overlap geographically. In contrast, eighteen Myrmotherula antwrens are crammed onto Plate 61 with eight other small antbirds. These birds are difficult to identify in the field and do overlap geographically. Greenfield does devote the necessary attention to the cryptic potoos and nightjars, using three plates to depict 25 species. Another trade-off to consider when designing a field guide is whether to depict the birds on a white backdrop or amidst vegetation characteristic of their habitat. Without getting into the pros and cons of each approach, I prefer a combination. I think clearly illustrating similar species in similar poses on white backgrounds aids comparison for identification. Smaller thumbnail images depicting birds in flight or displaying a characteristic behavior can be invaluable additions for identification. Greenfield adds thumbnails for the Wattled Jacana and Sunbittern on plate 20, and for gulls, some raptors, two macaws, and one nightjar. More are always helpful. For example, Amazona and Pionus parrots look similar when illustrated perched, but they have distinctive flight patterns that can be distinguished in silhouette from a distance as the birds fly away. Small black sketches of this difference could be added in the style of Sibley. These birds are probably encountered more often flying overhead than perched in trees, but most guides still only depict these species perched. Greenfield does add details of habitat in the type of perch he gives his birds. For example, he depicts three species of Zimmerius tyrannulets perched on the surface of leaves. This struck me as being very odd, because I can't think of any bird that actually walks on the surfaces of small leaves instead of perching on nearby branches. To my surprise, the text confirms this as an actual behavior of these birds that can be used to help identify them! This book is the result of decades of research and the authors have benefited from virtually every person living with extensive experience with birds in Ecuador as mentioned in the Acknowledgements. Yet they still honorably take responsibility for any errors that may have still been left in the text, an act of humility which not every author nowadays risks (but should). Although I may not be able to claim a better design alternative, the size and double-volume nature of this book may hinder its utility. The field guide is still large, but not bulkier than guides to other Neotropical countries. Finally, the paperback cover is thin, and may not prove durable for long in field conditions. Regardless of all my criticisms, this is still essential for any birder in Ecuador. With this book, birders in Ecuador will not have to rely on guides to other regions, like Hilty & Brown's guide to Colombia. One of the purposes of this project was to attract, encourage, and enable ecotourists from around the world to visit and enjoy the natural riches of Ecuador. After looking through this book, one can't help fantasizing about a trip there. Ridgely and Greenfield hope to directly link both increased interest in Ecuador's birdlife and increased tourism dollars to benefit conservation efforts. In the tradition of Roger Tory Peterson, this guide clearly encourages its readers to conserve what they know, and teaches them to know the birds of Ecuador. Author's Note: For a better understanding of the effort required to produce a bird book like this, there is a good article in the Autumn 1994 issue of Living Bird describing Robert Ridgely and Guy Tudor's work on the second volume of The Birds of South America. Also, visit the Jocotoco Foundation's website at www.jocotoco.org. This organization works to conserve Ecuador's endangered endemic species and has created several reserves to protect the only known localities of several species. [Editor's Note: "The Birds of Ecuador" is published by Cornell University Press. The two volumes may be purchased separately ($70 for Volume I, $50 for Volume II), or as a set ($110).] """"""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""""" "CUP QUOTES" On Friday November 2nd Summerhill turned out to be magical once again. ...At one of the houses along 1192 Lake Como Road we observed a very loose flock of 22 PINE SISKINS, 10 American Goldfinches, 2 House Finches, 5 EVENING GROSBEAKS, 4 WHITE-WINGED CROSSBILLS (3 MALES AND 1 FEMALE) and 1 FEMALE RED CROSSBILL! It was a pure delight. - Matt Young I continued up to Montezuma, the only notable sighting was three BRANT in a cow pasture north of east varick. - Pete Hosner At the main pool, there was quite a selection of waterfoul including Redhead, Canvasback, Hooded Merg, Ring-necked Duck, American Widgeon,Pintail and 15 TRUMPETER SWANS, about half were juviniles. - Pete Hosner Pete, You mean Tundra Swan, right? (And Wigeon without the "d.") - Matt Medler Dan Lebbin and I birded summer hill this morning, it was real quiet. - Pete Hosner A stop at the feeders at 1192 Lake Como Road was fruitless. The feeders at the log cabin house along Fillmore Road were also devoid of life. By the way, Fillmore Road (and Fillmore Glen) is named after our 13th president Millard Filmore, who was born in cabin along that road between the ends of Salt Road and Lick Street. - Chris Tessaglia-Hymes As I work at my computer in the waning gray light, a river of hundreds and hundreds of ROBINS has been streaming towards the northeast along Fall Creek for the past 20 minutes (at least) -- must be a huge roost somewhere in the Etna/Freeville area. - Ken Rosenberg After getting hassled by Matt Medler numerous times about my post of ~15 Trumpeter Swans in the main pool, I would like to start a discussion about identification. - Pete Hosner While I was home sick yesterday (11/5), I had five White-winged Crossbills in my yard. One male and four females were eating cedar cones six feet from my living room window. A pleasant break in an otherwise lousy day. - Jim Lowe Hey all, I saw an imm. Golden Eagle kettle and continue to soar south over the Ag. Quad up on campus at 1:55pm this afternoon (Thursday). Was lying on the grass taking a break between classes so I did not have binoculars, but the white in the wings and base of the tail were quite obvious at such a close distance. Great bird!!! - Mike Andersen ( * ) - Of course this is said in jest because according to modern anthropology, we (except Young and Pantel) are ALL one step above homo erectus. Homo erectus is an alleged precursor to modern man (homo sapiens sapiens). - Bill Evans Thank you. - Correen Seacord, in response to Wayne Hsu's pledge to "shut up for now." I plan to remain on Cayugabirds-L (for as long as Matt will have me), and expect positive interaction between the two "conversations." - Susan Barnett Diane and I just got a call from Greg Budney (he left message on machine at 4:00pm). Fred Sibley (David Sibley's Dad) saw a CATTLE EGRET between 1:30 and 2:00pm today, Wednesday 21 November 2001. - Chris Tessaglia-Hymes Be careful if you see Scaup, Ring-necked Ducks, a Common Goldeneye, or Mallards near East Shore Sailing. They are all fake! - Tim Lenz The trees on Keith Lane (near corner of Kimberly) in Dryden are the most beautifully laden crab-apples I have ever seen -- I'm keeping my eyes on them. - Ken Rosenberg I left about 10:10 to buy some bird seed and returned about 10:40 but still no PIGRs, but I hung out a while. Being a photographer, I've noticed that the easiest way to get your missing bird to show up is to start packing up your gear to leave, so I said out loud "OK, I'm packing it in..." and walked toward the car. Immediately 4 Pine Grosbeak females flew in and landed in the fruit tree and started to feed! Try it! It works! - Marie Read Prior to going to Dryden, we tried the crossbill spot on Ellis Hollow, but found none, despite hanging around awhile and announcing twice that we were packing up. Good Birding! - Anne Marie Johnson An adult N. GOSHAWK just circled up over the trees across Rt. 13 from the Lab of Ornithology "Rock" offices -- it then cruised eastward towards Etna. 3:30 pm. - Ken Rosenberg Eric Banford and I stopped by the Pine Grosbeak spot in Dryden this morning only to find that the grosbeaks had flown as we were pulling up. While there, we saw at least 6 White-winged Crossbills (4 in the enclosed feeder)but still no grosbeaks. Finally decided to head off to work, where we heard from some co-workers that "Oh, they flew in as you were pulling away." I guess that means we'll just have to try again. - Jeff Gerbracht Good sexing, - Matt Medler No details yet. Just got a call from Sue Kelling (I'm presuming Steve called her) that they have a murrelet at Stewart Park. - Kevin McGowan Sarver, There’s a murrelet at Stewart Park. - Matt Medler %@#!*%$#@! - Matt Sarver Hello, This morning my son Taylor and I were surveying the birds at Stewart Park. Around 0830 I spotted a smallish diving bird along the east side of Cayuga Lake near the boat docks of what was the Ithaca Board Sailing club. ...We watched the bird for around 10 minutes before I had to take Taylor to school. I returned around 9 and scanned the area from the board-sailing docks but could not relocate it. While I am certain I saw a murrelet I'm nut sure what species (Ancient, Long-billed, or Marbled). I hope that others can relocate it. There were quite a few interesing, and newly arrived, waterfowl at Stewart Park which included Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, and both species of scaup. - Steve Kelling I tried taking some pictures but they didn't come out very good. (as you'd expect of a murrelet at 60x in the rain.) It wouldn't focus on the bird since it was so small. - Bob Fogg To keep up with the hourly updates, the Long-billed Murrelet is still present at east shore park as of 3:00pm, and it is quite close. There are still many people with scopes there, so if you haven't gotten a chance to see it, do so! If I can get my grill working, Mike Andersen and I will be serving hot lunch to cold birders tomorrow. - Pete Hosner Chris Tessaglia-Hymes just called to report an IMMATURE NORTHERN GANNET. Seen flying south over Cayuga Lake, continuing south over Cayuga Inlet. - Martha Fischer When I arrived, I scanned up and down the inlet and saw nothing; turning around to go back to my car, I saw the Gannet flying over the golf course, headed south. I lost sight of it behind the Johnson Boat Yard office, and ran down to the docks to see where it went, but I saw no sign of it. Perhaps it continued down the inlet, or turned at the creek and circled back over downtown, or perhaps it's sitting on the Commons right now... - Greg Delisle Hey Sarver. Gannet. - Matt Medler %@#!*%$#@! - Matt Sarver May Your Cup Runneth Over, The Cup Staff